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MacOS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard" Q&A - Updated December 7, 2010

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Which Macs are compatible with MacOS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard"?

Apple states that all Intel-based Macs with at least 1 GB of RAM, 5 GB of available hard drive space, and a DVD drive -- or access to one, as the case may be for the MacBook Air models -- are capable of running MacOS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard". PowerPC-based Macs are not compatible.

Some early Intel-based Macs shipped only with 512 MB of RAM by default, so those will need to have more RAM installed if they haven't already been upgraded. Some users may need to free up additional drive space as well, but other than that, all Intel-based Macs are good to go. The Maximum Supported MacOS X listing of the By Capability section of provides a complete list.

However, the full list of compatible systems includes a large number of asterisks, which indicates that not all of these Intel-based Macs are capable of fully utilizing the new technologies introduced by MacOS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard".

Macs that are capable of officially booting in 64-bit mode, using Grand Central Dispatch, and are equipped with OpenCL-capable graphics are provided below:

Official 64-Bit, GCD, OpenCL Capable Macs:

* This model does not support "OpenCL" running the default ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT video card. If configured with the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT or NVIDIA Quadro FX 5600, it does support OpenCL.

If your Intel-based Mac is not on the above list, do not despair, it still can take advantage of new features and gain a modest performance boost as well, but the above "professional" Macs are the most capable of exploiting new "Snow Leopard" technologies in the future. Additional Macs that cannot officially boot in 64-bit mode also can be hacked when doing so becomes more necessary for increased speed.

Site sponsor PowerMax sells MacOS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard" as well as new and used Macs free of sales tax. Other World Computing sells quality memory guaranteed to be compatible with each Mac.

Also see:

  • Which Intel Macs have 64-bit processors? Which have a 64-bit EFI? Which are capable of booting MacOS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard" in 64-bit mode?
  • What is "OpenCL"? Which Macs support the "OpenCL" technology provided by MacOS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard"?
  • What is "Grand Central Dispatch"? Which Macs support the "Grand Central Dispatch" technology provided by MacOS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard"?

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