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Safari 4.0 – Almost my new default browser - Mike Wilson
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Safari 4.0 – Almost my new default browser

3.pngI remember a time before the web when networked computers were something only “big” corporations had, and multiplayer gaming was accomplished by stripping serial cables, reversing some of the wires and taking all afternoon to figure out why I couldn’t get “a connection”. A couple of years later and the first graphical web browsers were giving us snippets of information from across the world. Images would be shown tantalisingly rendered in lines a few centimetres at a time. Fast forward past Microsoft and Netscape’s battles and we’re into a whole new world of web browsers. There are dozens to choose from, but which should I choose for my own default browser?

On the system I’m using now, I have four web browsers and I use all of them for different things. Firefox is my main browser as it has all the addons that make my life easier, however it’s noticeably slow so Google Chrome is my system primary browser as it’s fast. I have Internet Explorer hanging around for compatibility testing and recently, Safari 4.0.

Until today I didn’t realise it was possible to benchmark these browsers on your own system. But thanks to the guys and girls at Futuremark, their new online-only product “Peacekeeper” benchmarks browsers:

Here’s my results:


And for systems like mine, the other browsers:


Safari and Chrome are built upon the same “Webkit” engine and it’s important to note that Chrome version 2 (developer only version) uses more of the Webkit engine than it did before. Chrome still holds the record for being the fastest browser benchmarked so far and Safari is very close. Most interestingly, why is Firefox performing so badly and Microsoft’s new Internet Explorer 8.0 performing even worse?

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Steven 31st March 2009, 2:47 pm

    I am now using Safari 4 as my default browser as I really make use of the coverflow view in bookmarks and browser history. What is interesting is that the battle has shifted from rendering engines e.g. WebKit, Gekko to javascript engines. Safari is a bit of a resource hog but unused memory is wasted memory right? 😉

  • mike 31st March 2009, 2:51 pm

    Well, yes. And not just that, but Safari 4.0 appears to have come out of nowhere to almost (and we’re talking only a few small percentage points here) wrestle with Chrome for the title of all time best performing Javascript and Rendering combined browser.

    And what of Internet Explorer 8.0? It looks like Microsoft are hitting back with this video: (I’m watching it now)

  • Web Design 31st March 2009, 10:26 pm

    Heheh Mike, you should know by now IE could never pull it off big style, did you read the SmashingMagazine April fools? Ace review heheh, I think from your graphs there I would say rendering Javascript effects wise Opera is damn fast, I find it quicker/smoother to render moving divs than any of the others atm

    The main thing about Safari is its horrible default overrule on its text styles and that it doesn’t like multiple monitors that well, well not my 3rd monitor, it refuses to go full screen at 1280*1024, how bizarre is that.



  • Scott Kane 14th April 2009, 3:01 pm

    Gotta admit, Mike, I’ve had a love hate relationship with Safari for a number of years. I love it’s speed, I don’t like it’s page widget rendering (Aqua widgets on Windows = not quite right). Though having said that I’m terribly disapointed with IE8. It’s Java script support seems to be getting worse and worse.

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