I am thinking of enabling FileVault in snow leopard.
I have tried to find some information regarding the performance, but have been unable to find any.
What are your personal experiences with FileVault?
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From what I have read, people have not seen significant slowdowns in performance. However, this does not mean there is not one.
http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/mac/2003/12/19/filevault.html This is a good article, but it does claim there is not really any performance problems and it is from when Filevault first came out 6 years ago.
http://www.oreillynet.com/cs/user/view/cs_msg/29494 This is a good discussion of the oreilly article. A couple users point out where he might be a little wrong about the performance claims. Again, this is really old.
Example of a secure delete taking a very long time with FV enabled. http://www.ehmac.ca/anything-mac/79222-filevault-taking-forever.html
http://al3x.net/2008/12/02/alternatives-to-filevault.html This is a good breakdown of some of the alternatives to FV out there.
I keep seeing mention of data loss issues, but I am not sure exactly what causes it. http://www.articlesbase.com/data-recovery-articles/interrupted-secure-erase-process-of-filevault-cause-mac-data-loss-955487.html
So, you are correct, there is not a lot of official talk on performance. I think it would really depend on the type of work you do on your machine and if you move a lot of data around. I think that is where you would see some performance degregation. Personaly, I don't think I would use it until I found more information on the issues people have had and learned "the hard way". Data loss issues would be a more serious issue to me then a little performance loss.
I use FileVault on my MacBook Pro Unibody 2.5 GHz. During normal usage, I do not notice any significant performance problems. Large apps tend to take a little longer than usual to start up, but then again you don't start/quit apps that much in OSX.
Also, building projects in XCode tends to take a little longer, but you can set up XCode to build on a non-encrypted part of your hard drive, which solves that problem. Debugging also feels a little more sluggish, but not in a serious way.
So, I feel that there is a small performance deficit with harddrive-heavy operations, but overall it is seldomly noticeable. The one thing I would not recommend though is using a VMWare/Parallels virtual machine inside a FileVault. There you will certainly see a noticeable drop in performance.
I have done a little performance test a while ago with tiger:
Of course this doesn't say much about the SL performance (which might be better), still I think it's a similar direction.
Anyway, I turned it off after the experience with Time Machine only backing up stuff in your user folder when you are logged out. That's just total nonsense.