Mac OS X (despite its user-friendly UI and the general ease of use) is built on Darwin kernel which means thats it is a UNIX system. Using the terminal (it is located in application>utilities folder) you can easily get some valuable info about your mac. If you run Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, you have the ability to boot with the 64-bit kernel instead of the 32-bit that loads by default (Apple has chosen the 32-bit as the default boot kernel to prevent glitches caused by 32-bit kernel extensions). To boot with the 64-bit kernel you need a Mac with an Intel Core 2 duo or newer processor (Intel Core Duo does not support 64-bit) and 64-bit capable EFI. To check if your EFI supports 64-bit, open the terminal and type the following command:
ioreg -l -p IODeviceTree | grep firmware-abi
If the terminal returns “EFI64” as shown in the image below you are ready to go. Just restart your mac holding “6” and “4” numeric keys and it will boot with the 64-bit kernel. Note though that in a typical system (for example a core 2 duo mac with 2 to 4 GB of RAM), there will be no significant performance improvement. Also even with the 32-bit kernel, you can run 64-bit applications and take full advantage of 64-bits (that is not a Snow Leopard feature. Leopard was able to run 64-bit apps and adress more than 4GB of RAM too).
Some other important info you can easily get about your portable mac from the terminal, is your battery condition. Type the following in the command line and you the terminal will return your battery’s max capacity, current capacity and design capacity.
ioreg -l | grep Capacity
If you see that max capacity is lower than design capacity do not panic, batteries start to loose capacity after some charging cycles.