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Mac OS X 10.7 "Lion" Q&A - Published August 19, 2011

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Does Mac OS X 10.7 "Lion" boot in 32-bit mode or 64-bit mode by default? Does it run on Macs with a 32-bit EFI or just Macs with a 64-bit EFI?

As first reported by the well respected hacker, Netkas, and spotted by HardMac, the final version of OS X Lion has a Finder that only runs in 64-bit mode. However, OS X Lion does run on a number of Macs that have a 32-bit EFI but that also have a 64-bit processor. It cannot run on Macs with 32-bit processors.

Also see: Which Macs are compatible with Mac OS X 10.7 "Lion"? Which Macs are not compatible? Can incompatible Macs be "hacked" or upgraded to run Mac OS X 10.7 "Lion"?

How does the performance of Mac OS X 10.7 "Lion" compare to Mac OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard" in "real-world" tests?

When Mac OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard" was released, Apple advertised that it was streamlined and provided a variety of speed "refinements" compared to earlier versions of the operating system.

By contrast, for Mac OS X 10.7 "Lion," the company advertises that it provides "250 new features" and makes no mention of performance. For that reason alone, it would be safe to assume that the operating system is certainly no faster than Snow Leopard and even might be slower. However, only "real-world" tests can confirm or deny this assumption.

In benchmark tests and application use, C|Net's Crave blog hit the iMac "Core i5" 3.1 27-Inch (Mid-2011) running both Snow Leopard and Lion and "found only minor speed variations between the two operating systems."

The Lifehacker blog also found that "with the exception of the application launching test it seems like there are few differences between the two operating systems" and produced this helpful video to compare boot time, file duplication, web browsing and more:

Ultimately, as the benchmarks and usage tests confirm, OS X Lion is more about new features and multi-touch interaction than speed, but it remains equally quick as its predecessor for most tasks nevertheless.

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