The latest release of QGIS 2.4, called Chugiak, is now available. QGIS is a freely available GIS software program (Anita Graser has written an introduction to QGIS that provides an overview of what the suite of QGIS programs offers).
One of the major improvements in this latest release is multithreaded rendering.
QGIS now supports multi-threaded rendering! What this means is that when drawing the map, QGIS will split the drawing work between all of the cores in your CPU, making the process more efficient and responsive. By responsivewe mean that you no longer need to wait for the map view to update before you can pan or zoom again. Also the map display updates incrementally allowing you to see if the map is positioned correctly early on in the drawing process. Take a look at this article for a more detailed overview of the multi-threaded rendering system. You will find some options in the QGIS settings dialog that allow you to manage the behaviour of multi-threaded rendering.
Also, the composer which is used for creating print ready maps, has many updates one of which is the ability to simulate what maps will look like if they are faxed, photocopied (grayscale) or viewed by a color blind person.
Another improvement from a cartographic technique perspective is the addition of shapeburst fill styles. Rather than having to manually create coastal vignettes, QGIS 2.4 offers a fill style that allows polygon shapefiles to be filled with a gradient.
You can see the full list of changes on the QGIS 2.4 changelog page.
Visit: Access QGIS 2.4