A little over a week ago I took a look at Firefox 3.0 Beta 4 and I benchmarked this latest release against the current browser lineup. Yesterday Apple released Safari 3.1 so the browser landscape has now changed. It's time to see how Apple's latest browser fits into the big picture.
Apple makes some bold claims relating to Safari. Have a read of this:
The fastest web browser on any platform, Safari loads pages up to 1.9 times faster than Internet Explorer 7 and up to 1.7 times faster than Firefox 2.
To put these results into context you have to also read the small print:
There are dozens of tests out there that look at page loading times and page rendering speeds, but I don't feel happy using any of them, and as a result I'll leave out any discussion of page loading and rendering.
I'm going to confine testing to two tests:
Testing will be carried out on the same hardware and software platform as previous tests were carried out on.
Note: Neither version of Opera fully completed the MD5 part of the test, and these results have been omitted.
Raw results available here.
Based on these results, Safari 3.1 is neck and neck with Firefox 3.0 Beta 4, about twice as fast as Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 and Firefox 3.0 Beta 3, four times faster than Firefox 22.214.171.124 and, well, about seven times faster than Internet Explorer 7.
Just for completeness I decided to run the same benchmarks on a smaller cross-section of Mac OS X browsers on the Mac mini that I have here. In this test Safari 3.1 beat both Safari 3.0.4 and Firefox 126.96.36.199 and 3.0 Beta 4.
Safari 3.1 is one speedy browser.
To round off this set of tests I ran Safari 3.1 through the ACID 3 test to see how it performed. The result - it did remarkably well. It easily beat all the other browsers in the lineup:
Here's the output:
Still a fair way to go though before it passes the test:
Well there you have it. Safari 3.1 is fast. Compared to performance pigs such as Internet Explorer 7 or Firefox 2, the latest incarnation of Safari flies. But put it up against Firefox 3.0 Beta 4 and the browser faces still competition. Both appear to be highly optimized for speed and performance. Still, it's good to see that speed is back on the agenda for browsers.
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