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    Apple’s Snow Leopard vs. Windows 7

    By in Windows

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    I’d been waiting to do a Windows 7 and Mac OS X comparison for quite some time now. And was simply overjoyed to receive my personal copy of Windows 7 Ultimate last weekend. So here’s pitting two of the most famed operating systems against each other. Hit the read link to see which one stole the show.

    both os Apples Snow Leopard vs. Windows 7
    It makes enough sense to do the comparison at this time as Snow Leopard has been updated to 10.6.1 and Windows 7 too had a few updates over the RTM release. Firstly, the hardware – The 64 bit editions of the two OS’ were installed on a Macbook Pro(2009) 2.53ghz, 4GB Ram. Boot Camp 3.0 was used to install Windows. Trust me it makes the driver installation a breeze. No virtualization used.


    I’d only be discussing update pricing here. Upgrading from Leopard to Snow costs only $29. However, Windows 7 Ultimate will set you back by $219 if you are upgrading from Vista or XP. While Snow Leopard has no variants Windows does and the Ultimate was the only one that would have compete against Snow.


    Both the OS were installed with default settings and power management was set to high performance. You could upgrade Vista to Win7 and Leopard to Snow. Let me tell you upgrading from XP to Win7 will put you through some peril though. We’ll cover that later. Mac users don’t have to worry at all. No matter what version you are upgrading from, no issues whatsoever. For the sake of the test I did a fresh installation of both on different hard disks. Both the installations took around thirty minutes.

    First Run

    Now something that I really got bugged by and must share here is that Windows 7 does not have these pre installed unlike any version of Mac OS X. No PDF Viewer, No IM application and no e-mail client. They can be downloaded from Windows Live Site but why, Microsoft?

    screen2 Apples Snow Leopard vs. Windows 7

    screen3 Apples Snow Leopard vs. Windows 7


    Microsoft has definitely enhanced the user interface on this one and Win7 is by far the best-looking OS in the Windows family. However, beauty won’t stay appreciated without functionality. Let’s find out. The new Aero themes which we first saw in Vista look pretty. Also, worth noticing, the user interface is more user-friendly than Vista and is less irritating to use.

    I’ll briefly mention some of the new Aero features. Aero Shake allows you to shake the title bar of a window, to minimize all other windows. Aero Snap lets you drag the window to the right left or top of the screen and it snaps itself elegantly. Dragging left or right makes it occupy half of the screen while top edge makes it full screen.

    The new Windows is less painful to configure but you still have to do some work finding what you want, say advanced power options for instance. Nothing beats the simple layout of System Preferences that Mac has. However, beauty won’t stay appreciated without functionality. While UI is catching up usability wise Windows still has a long way to go.

    I also must mention Apple’s striking new feature Spotlight. It’s a search tool but the best you have ever seen on your desktop. It searches through everything you want it to. From system settings to your files, and did I forget to mention, in no time! Windows Search is catching up but not a match yet.
    screen1 Apples Snow Leopard vs. Windows 7

    Everyday Tasks

    Well, here both the OS fared almost equally well-doing daily errands such as word processing, printing, browsing. Except of course, ease of usability lies more towards Snow. Snow is not only less intrusive but way more user-friendly. Good news here is that Win7 manages your Graphics Processor better than its predecessors.


    When it came to startup or shutdown Snow put Win7 to shame. While Snow took 31 seconds to boot up Windows took 44. While shutting down, Snow took me 3 second and Windows 9 seconds. Resuming from standby was the same on both – around one sec.

    Other Benchmark tests

    You could do these yourselves as well. In music encoding, the latest version of iTunes took around ten minutes to rip a folder while Windows took a minute longer. So Snow fared better when it came to encoding, start-up and shutdown.

    However, when it came to 3D rendering Windows7 did a better job. The game Call of Duty 4 has its own benchmarking system. Win7 on an average score 5fps higher than Snow.


    While Microsoft has enhanced security options on this one, UAC still remains annoying, though you can turn it off. Also, Windows 7 has one distinct feature from Snow, that is Address Space Layout Randomization. This functions to randomly reposition important data making it less vulnerable to exploits. One could argue that Windows has far more viruses and trojans than Mac and attribute it to its greater popularity and exposure but that’s turning to prove false as Mac’s share increases.

    Battery Life

    With moderate use, keyboard and screen illumination set to medium and wi-fi on windows lasted around two third the time Snow did. While Snow lasted 5 hrs 15 minutes Windows ran out of battery juice in 3 hrs 40 minutes. Of course this could also be due to Boot Camp and given the fact that Snow is native to the Mac. That said, you could definitely make out that Windows 7 is more power-hungry if not less than Snow.


    While Snow seems sleeker and way more user-friendly, Windows definitely has greater options and wider compatibility to its fame. I have only shared a first hand experience with both. While, we’ve discussed time tests and other surface features another important aspect lies in how the OS responds to third-party installations. Also how multiple processor cores are utilized.

    We are not exactly starting an OS war here. Operating Systems have evolved ever since. Likewise user needs are on an increase too. So its just a matter of how the former catches up with the latter. While Microsoft has a wider reach, it’s unpleasant to see so many security updates every week. I’m sure most of us Windows users would be way happier when the very need to release them so often decreases.

    Vista and XP users must try Windows 7 as it is the best windows ever made. As for the hardware I’d always advice in favor of the Mac for only a Mac lets you taste the best of both worlds. You could run both Windows and Snow leopard on it. Final verdict at the end of the day: Snow Leopard

    PS: We have a lot of Mac coverage in store for you. So those of you who are curious about the Mac experience or have had trouble choosing between a Mac and a PC, we’ll have loads of info for you coming later this month. Do leave a comment – about Mac and Windows alike.

    Given an option between Windows 7 and Apple Snow Leopard, which one will be your choice and why?

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    { 27 comments… read them below or add one }

    Neeraj Kumar

    Quite a long comparison Harsh. :) Good going.I have never used Mac though.I’m waiting for my windows 7 copy at the moment.Excited to use it :D


    Rajat Kumar

    i say it again best windows ever made. do share your experiences with us.



    Thanks for making that comparison as i have never used mac and waiting for windows 7 copy to come. Hope to see how it is better.?


    Ashutosh Mishra

    Why are comparisons made in the first place? The same way Mac seems “sleeker and way more user-friendly” to you, Windows seems to a PC user. The post showcases Windows as a shitty something compared to Mac, without actually ever mentioning it.
    Benchmark tests are OK, and they do show Snow Leopard beating 7 (on some fortune-costing Apple computer though, as OS X is simply too elegant for normal computers). And then we’ve these OS X vs Windows posts by Mac owners, showing how Windows is putting operating systems to shame, and wondering why more people don’t run out and grab a one-lakh rupees Mac from an Apple store hundreds of miles away.


    Rajat Kumar

    with all due respect its not about putting you to shame. it’s about telling windows users what they don’t already know. secondly we do not quote half a sentence. “While Snow seems sleeker and way more user-friendly, Windows definitely has greater options and wider compatibility to its fame” how could you have possibly missed that.
    also, i think i mentioned how windows renders 3d better. i personally use windows for all my gaming purposes. lastly, fyi macbooks start at 50K and mac mini’s start at 30K

    but i like ur sarcasm :)
    atleast someone is coming up with honest criticism. we look forward to this.


    Rajat Kumar

    i meant putting windows to shame. my bad :|


    Ashutosh Mishra

    Yeah, lets us all spend 30K on a Mac Mini. And some more on big magnifying lenses to actually be able to use the Mini. Oh, and I’d also have to go 500kms to Kolkata to search for an Apple store as well, as we don’t have one anywhere in Orissa!
    Again, I can’t understand why another of my comments on this post was rejected. I’ll say that again – Windows doesn’t get numerous security updates every week; it’s just a few (usually 5-10 and not exceeding 15-20 MBs most of the time) on the second Tuesday of every month, unless some critical security hole is detected.

    If you want to want tell Windows users about things we are missing in a Mac (and yeah, we do miss stuff), by all means do so. Just post them as “Advantages of Mac” or “Why you should go for a Mac?” and stuff like that.


    Rajat Kumar

    firstly your comments are approved, the spam checker might have blocked it temporarily. about missing stuff we are discussing the good and bad about two operating systems, for heavens sake, this is not an OS war.

    i’ve found this in various other threads at engadget too. im not discriminating but people are fond of fighting windows vs. mac or windows mobile vs. iphone. we are NOT debating. everything has its pro and cons. we choose to use whichever suits us most and look over some drawbacks. And we are discussing LEOPARD not MAC in this post.

    next, do you really know what mac mini is or just showing your sense of humour.not that we mind the latter. magnifying glasses! ROTFL. i love you man! we should not talk about stuff we don’t know. have you seen me talking about linux to elvin?

    NO APPLE STORE in Orissa. You want me to mail you the store’s phone number and address? bhubhaneswar is in orrisa right, if not i stand corrected again.

    LASTLY, do you really hate OS X so much or frustrated about windows? quote:”without actually ever mentioning it.” “The post showcases Windows as a shitty something compared to Mac,”

    i don’t remember you appreciating the good features about win7. it renders 3d better. its new security features are better. tell me something how long have you used windows7?


    Well I had been in affair with windows for 13 years right before 3.x came. However, I slowly switched to Fedora then Ubuntu (still use it) then leopard, Snow Leopard. I liked XP but Leopard was much more advanced OS. Microsoft copied a lot of Leopard features in it’s Dirty cow “vista”. Leopard had ground-up implementation for GPU accelerated Processing (GPGPU) which Windows 7 has today, after 5 years.
    I have blogged a lot about the shame Microsoft should be into. But thanks to the PC penetration, soon Win 7 is going to out-number snow leopard (BTW it’s happening within this week).
    As far as it goes for me, I`ll continue to switch between SL and Win7.


    Rajat Kumar

    totally agree to that. will love to hear more of linux from you on your blog

    Ashutosh Mishra

    Oh, and one last complain. Windows doesn’t receive numerous “security updates every week”. Microsoft releases a few (5-6 usually totaling around 10-15 MBs) patches on the second Tuesday of every month – you’d know that if you really used Windows. I’ve no idea about OS X, but I’ve heard you guys get updates in the excess of 100 MBs most of the time.


    Rajat Kumar

    well, i stand corrected if you are so sure about that mr. mishra because i only update my windows once a month. positive criticism is always welcome.



    The same things again….
    1. Service packs in Windows are free! XP, Vista, 7 are completely different.
    2. Upgrading from XP to Win7? This is a joke… Win 7 is almost a totally different OS. I always say: Do a clean install!
    3. Software? Huh. if MAC had the same billions apps available then it didn’t come with that crap. AND there is a legal issue also. See Internet Explorer, Media Player.. any software that MS will bundle it will be an unfair competition. Same goes with Ubuntu also.
    4. Interface. I admit windows is not so good looking. But if you put both on a 10 year old PC i bet that MAC will do fine…same goes for speed, etc.

    When Apple will release SL to the world we will see witch one will do fine, in terms of compatibility, security and so on.

    Excuse my bad English.


    Rajat Kumar

    hey there elvin, i must say i agree to some points that you brought up while disagree on the others.
    firstly, service packs are free for all OS, so thats not a problem at all. so we dont differ here. The whole point about security fixes is that Microsoft is still releasing it. that says two things about windows, 1. its so popular that every1 uses it and there are more trojans generated and flaws pointed out in windows. 2. its not perfect when it was released (but no other piece of software in the world is perfect so its alright) microsoft’s updates are for our own good, but we would not deny staying happier without the need of any

    ashutosh, take note, i never said windows is bad. it’s not. if i say that for the operating system that’s used by almost 90% of the people, i would make a fool of myself.

    elvin. 2nd point. u call it a different OS, why name it windows then? we would not complain. and an enterprise with 5000 computers will do a clean install and re install all apps and customisation again?? no sir not happening. even my grandpa using a home pc won’t. they’ll stick to xp. im sure microsoft is trying their best to help us out with this.

    3. excuse me? windows has a billion apps agreed. i use more windows than mac. but what CRAP does mac come with??? i am dying to know! and the legal issue too?? enlighten me. (if its true i stand corrected, it’s never too late to learn) and what about the unfair competition?
    also, only half the world uses internet explorer. it failed the acid tests. if u want i’ll send u the results. try Mozilla Firefox.

    4. Interface. WINDOWS 7 IS NOT GOOD LOOKING ??? are u kidding me? have u seen the new aero interface? Chuck Anderson, if you know who he is, put so much effort in that beautiful wallpaper and login screen.
    also, we don’t really care what the OS looks like, by interface we mean not aesthetics but EASE OF USE. Ubuntu? i have not used, i shall not utter a word.
    and what about the 10 year old pc? i din get you plz explain.

    PS: plz do reply. i love my critics!! and i don’t find anything upsetting about your english. so u may remove that signature from the next time :)



    Can i have Snow leopard on my desktop.


    Rajat Kumar

    i have a copy of leopard that can be installed on intel based pc’s. i’ll let you know if i find the same for snow leopard. and if you want the previous version of leopard, let me know, i have it.


    Rajat Kumar

    to all the readers, this is no war. we use what we like or what we have been using conventionally. so many of my readers here humbly, accept not having used leopard and saying that they’re happy with windows. Dinesh, neeraj, vivek for instance.
    elvin is right in sayin that we will be able to compare compatibility when snow leopard is released for all PC’s



    The rule prevails! Whenever anybody ever tried to mention any of – mac , linux or windows, it went in turmoil as ever. Personally, I liked Linux above all, will certainly love to adopt Mac OS X as well, only when I get over with my XII class boards and entrances.


    Rajat Kumar

    so true. always holds. good luck for your exams btw.


    izzat aziz

    simple put if you have chance to switch to mac just grab it, but if you don’t and need to use windows, seven is a must for you.. try seven and somewhat love it..
    one think though seven can’t manual sort.. it will auto sort and can’t turn it off.. simple application but need it.. :D


    Rajat Kumar

    din try the sort feature. now that you point it out, ill check it. and yes its the best windows yet for sure.


    Dnyanesh Mankar

    Another post comparing the two most popular operating sytems.

    Well, it definitely generates a lot of comments. Good move!


    Brian V. Mansur

    Owned an iMac 21.5″ for about 2 weeks now. I’ve played with the Windows 7 at the office a little on a training computer. Having grown up with Windows since 1991, I can find my way around Win 7 a lot more easily of course. Both zoom along for daily tasks. I haven’t (yet) run into anything on Win 7 that I find annoying, but as a newbie Mac owner, there are plenty of things on Snow Leopard and its associated software that bug the heck out of me.

    1) Finder (Mac’s equiv of Windows Explorer) won’t cut and paste files/folders. Instead you must drag and drop files/folders in order to move them.

    2) There is no merging of folders in Finder as well (i.e. you can’t just combine contents of two folders by dragging one folder on top of the other).

    3) Can only resize windows at the bottom right corner.

    4) No “minimize all programs” equiv like “Show Desktop” button in Windows. Must use Expose and Spaces to keep things organized.

    5) Numbers won’t find/replace only the contents in a highlighted column like in Excel.

    6) Need 3rd party software to write to NTFS format. Awkward if you must share a network with a Windows computer like I have to at home (for marital reasons ;-)

    7) Time Machine makes you select what you don’t want to back up. I’d rather just select what I *do* want to backup.

    Some of this is nitpicky, I know. And I know there are work arounds to some or all of these issues, but it certainly would be nice if as a Windows user I didn’t have to rethink everything. Sometimes, I definitely have to ADD steps to get the same thing done in SL as I do in Win7.



    This really isn’t a comparison, more of a promotion for Apple. And to the statement at the end of the article: “As for the hardware I’d always advice in favor of the Mac for only a Mac lets you taste the best of both worlds. You could run both Windows and Snow leopard on it,” Just remember when you try to say Macs are better that it is Apple, not Microsoft, that is being stuck up and not allowing users to run their OSX on a PC…and they [Apple] realize that the reason that they sell as many Macs is that users can install Windows on them. Maybe OSX would gain popularity if Apple allowed users to install it side by side with Windows on a PC. I know I’ve been looking to do this for a while but cannot.


    alfred liwanag, Jr.

    Because Microsoft and Apple released their new operating systems almost simultaneously, it is not surprising for computer enthusiasts to compare Microsoft’s Windows 7 with Apple’s Snow Leopard to see which is better. But while hardcore fans on both sides will always refuse to give in to the other on the issue of which operating system is better, it may be a better idea simply to compare the differences of the two.


    Shazoor Mirza

    First of all, it is very much sure that it is a post from an Apple fanboy. Yes, I don’t like Apple very much and I’ve reasons for it. Apple is trying to create a very tight eco-system of its products on the backs of his fanboys who keep bragging about Apple computers across internet.

    The quality they mention about Apple software is that they are beautiful. Well to its answers I would say that Apple has only a few hardware to support and so it can work on other aspects like UI. But on the other hand it is not possible for Apple guys to support such a large audience of hardware. But here if we contrast with windows its clearly a winner for hardware support plus looks combined. Windows is the OS of the world.


    Ashutosh Mishra

    1.I’ve been using Windows 7 since May. I actually liked Vista, so I’ve no words for describing how much I love 7. Well yeah, I love Windows 7.

    2.Yes, I’d like to know the geolocation of the Apple store selling big beautiful iMacs in Bhubaneswar. And don’t even mention that shop in Shahid Nagar. I’ve lived 7 years within a 2 km radius of that shop.

    3.I’m staying in an NIT hostel, and I’ve seen Apple stuff starting from MacBooks to MacBook Pros to iPhones. And loads of iPods. I’ve used the snowless Leopard quite a bit, and I think it’s one awesome OS. No iMacs or Mac Minis here, but I’ve seen enough 3D, 4D, and 5D photos of them and know quite a bit about them. I know Minis don’t have display; I mentioned those lenses because the Mini is still a mini. A really costly mini.

    4.I’m unsubscribing from this comment thread (not from SML!). Had a good time fighting with you [ ;) ]. You win. :]


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