Safari performance issues

Summary:Safari, Apple's Web browser, has always been considered a lean and powerful and is the default browser of most Mac users. But recent performance questions are putting Safari under the microscope.

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Safari, Apple's Web browser, has always been considered a lean and powerful and is the default browser of most Mac users. But recent performance questions are putting Safari under the microscope.

Macenstein recently ran some performance tests of the venerable Apple browser and the results aren't exactly flattering. According to the site using Safari can slow your system down as much as 76% vs Firefox.

It seems that it's not the load time of Web pages that's the issue, its that Safari is using too many processor cycles, even when it's idle.

I noticed this quite by accident the other day while rendering out an After Effects animation I had done. I had made a spelling change in one of the graphics, and re-rendered a composition I had rendered the day before. When it was finished, I noticed in the Render Queue that it had taken 15 minutes longer to render than it had the day before.

So I began to think why this would be. I had not restarted the computer since the day before, nothing had changed hardware wise. The only thing different was that I had been surfing the web a bit while the render was going on that day, where the day before I had not. “Surely surfing the web on a multi-processor machine shouldn’t add 15 minutes to a render”, I thought. Well, yes it does actually, if you’re using Safari.

CNet's Mac blog has some feedback from around the blogosphere on the "Sluggish Safari" issue including a response from Surfin' Safari's David Hyatt, one of the engineers responsible for creating and updating Safari:

1) Browsers rarely get served the same content, even on very popular sites. Without spoofing it's hard to know if Safari is being served some buggy content from one of the pages in question.

2) A small sample set isn't enough to draw general conclusions. Try a bunch of other different Web sites and see if a slowdown still occurs. If so, then maybe there is a systemic problem. Until then, though, all we know is that something is hogging CPU in one of five Web pages.

3) Reduce reduce reduce! Reduce the problem if possible. Cut it down to one page. Don't go back/forward (just go right to the pages instead of clicking through to them).

I haven't noticed the issue myself because I'm a devoted Flock user (a FireFox derivative) but I'm curious if you have experienced it. Sound off in the TalkBack below.

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Topics: Browser, Hardware

About

Jason D. O'Grady developed an affinity for Apple computers after using the original Lisa, and this affinity turned into a bona-fide obsession when he got the original 128 KB Macintosh in 1984. He started writing one of the first Web sites about Apple (O'Grady's PowerPage) in 1995 and is considered to be one of the fathers of blogging.... Full Bio

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