Weighing it at twice the size — 1.3GB vs 655MB — of the previous 10A394 build (itself the first major post-WWDC seed update), Snow Leopard 10A402 has been seeded to developers via Software Update from within the beta-stage Mac OS X 10.6. As usual, Apple’s seed notes were short on details….but reader & source reports have already begun to reach our inboxes and the early reviews are very positive.
Snow Leopard build 10A402 was released with typically minimal fanfare or detail in the seed notes which read only: “This Snow Leopard Developer Preview Update is recommended for all users running the Snow Leopard Developer Preview Build 10A394 or later. This update includes general operating system fixes for stability, compatibility, and security.”
However, within minutes of the update being posted to Snow Leopard’s Software Update, reports began to flow in rapidly from developers and others who are running these latest Mac OS X 10.6 test builds — now in early beta phase following last month’s World Wide Developer Conference where the landmark 10A380 build, essentially a feature freeze and beginning of debugging in earnest, was released.
In the 22 builds that have followed, performance has first dropped off in some areas (pre-394), and now with 394-402, begun to rise again in quite noticeable ways. Framerates in 3D (OpenGL) games have improved considerably since build 380 along with other 3D/OpenGL applications….the amount of RAM used by many key system components and bundled applications has further decreased (now as little as 1/3 of that consumed by the same processes in Leopard 10.5.x)….and heavy workloads are now spread even more equally across 4-8 core Mac Pro systems.
On the stability front, much progress has also been made as of build 402. Sudden, apparently random “hard freezes” were reported on a fair number of occasions with 380 and particularly 394, but thus far testers have not been able to reproduce similar problems in 402. The updated Safari (comparable to v4.0.2 for Leopard) included with the Build 402 Update also reportedly addresses the few web site compatibility and rendering issues which carried over across operating system versions; as Rumors had previously reported, the issues with Safari v4.0 & 4.0.1 experienced by many users on OS X 10.5.x were usually not reproducible on Snow Leopard but a few did carry over regardless.
We are just beginning our own hands-on reviews of Snow Leopard 10A402, and if you’re one of the lucky few who have access to this new developer seed, don’t hesitate to share your experiences with the community by dropping us a line: send us an email, post a Web comment using the form below, or connect with us on Twitter (@MacOSRumors)! We’re always excited to hear from our readers and are more than happy to answer any questions you might have if we’re able.
Expect more detailed posts about this and all upcoming builds of Mac OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard” soon — and as always, for smaller fine-grained updates as well as insights into the “inside of the insiders,” follow us on Twitter for breaking news & rumors in 140-character snippets.
Stay tuned for much more dirt on Snow Leopard, iPhone OS 3.1, next-generation Apple hardware and all things Infinite Loop in the days ahead as Rumors continues to dig deep for the dirt that matters most to you!