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Safari retains speed crown over newcomer Chrome in OS X

post #1 of 70
Thread Starter 
While besting Firefox by nearly 50 percent, Google's newly released Chrome browser was 12 percent slower than Apple's Safari in benchmark tests.

In benchmark tests run by Computerworld, Apple's Safari browser claimed the top spot over Firefox, Opera, and Chrome. Google released a beta build of Chrome to the public on Tuesday.

The results showed that Safari slightly edged out Chrome, was nearly twice as fast as Firefox, and over ten times faster than Opera.

Computerworld's method of testing used the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark suite. The test was run three times for each browser in OS X 10.6 and the numbers were averaged.

According to November numbers by Net Applications, Internet Explorer commands 63.62 percent of the total browser market, followed by Firefox with 24.72, Safari with 4.36 percent, 3.93 percent for Chrome, and 2.31 percent for Opera.

"As you might expect, the speed of Google Chrome for Mac is something we're very proud of. If you have a Mac, try installing the beta and see how fast it launches - there's hardly even time for the icon in the dock to bounce!" the Chrome development team said on its official blog.

Google's Chrome Mac beta can be downloaded from Google's website, and weighs in at 17.6MB.The program requires Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) or later and only works on Intel-based Macs.

Graph courtesy of Computerworld
post #2 of 70
Oops! Back to the drawing board!
post #3 of 70
Still very impressive for a Beta.

I tested Safari, the latest WebKit nightly, and Chrome on Sunspider as well.

Safari beat Chrome easily. Wasn't all that close. And the latest WebKit nightly blew both right out of the water.

Which is also testament to how well Apple is doing in this area. Which also means that if your browser isn't running WebKit you're doing it wrong.
post #4 of 70
May not be faster, but doesn't hog memory like Safari does.
post #5 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by vvid View Post

May not be faster, but doesn't hog memory like Safari does.

Memory usage != slowness, when you consider that a lot of stuff can be and IS cached for quick access. It's only worth complaining when a program doesn't USE the RAM you have to make the program faster.

Unused RAM is wasted RAM.
post #6 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Still very impressive for a Beta.

I tested Safari, the latest WebKit nightly, and Chrome on Sunspider as well.

Safari beat Chrome easily. Wasn't all that close. And the latest WebKit nightly blew both right out of the water.

Which is also testament to how well Apple is doing in this area. Which also means that if your browser isn't running WebKit you're doing it wrong.

I ran the same tests, but also added a nightly build of Chromium to the mix. And as you said, Webkit does blow the other out of the water.

\t
Chromet 542.4ms +/- 4.4%
Chromium:549.2ms +/- 3.6%
Safari\t 537.6ms +/- 1.2%
Webkit: 450.8ms +/- 0.5%
post #7 of 70
What's funny is that NetNewsWire's built-in browser is about equal to Chrome (or extremely close) on the Sunspider tests. I'm not even sure how current NNW's engine is, either. Interesting . . .

I use mostly NNW for posting in forums. it's a wonderful app.
post #8 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sgt Zeppelin View Post

I ran the same tests, but also added a nightly build of Chromium to the mix. And as you said, Webkit does blow the other out of the water.

Chromet 542.4ms +/- 4.4%
Chromium:549.2ms +/- 3.6%
Safari\t 537.6ms +/- 1.2%
Webkit: 450.8ms +/- 0.5%

Still no adblock and extensions are still disabled in Chrome, and although enabled in Chromium, they don't seem to work at all in the latest build (or at least the Adblock extension doesn't). I find all the ads far to distracting to use. Get the extensions working, and I'll consider it.

As to the speed tests, simply testing Java speed isn't all that interesting to me. In addition, as to the numbers above, a tenth of a second isn't all that significant to the end user. Web pages are not 100% java. I find that Safari, Firefox, and Chrome all perform well enough that any would work from a speed perspective. I do like the light weight of Chrome though. Something to watch.
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post #9 of 70
But, to look at other areas where people "feel" fast, I think Chrome has a clear edge over Safari.

For example, startup time is extremely fast with Chrome. Also, switching among tabs is almost instantaneous. Safari tab suffers when one of the tabs is loading a complex page/javascript. I don't mind a 12% slow-down on page rendering itself, UI overall responsiveness is more important IMO.

My 2 cents
post #10 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by leafy View Post

But, to look at other areas where people "feel" fast, I think Chrome has a clear edge over Safari.

For example, startup time is extremely fast with Chrome. Also, switching among tabs is almost instantaneous. Safari tab suffers when one of the tabs is loading a complex page/javascript. I don't mind a 12% slow-down on page rendering itself, UI overall responsiveness is more important IMO.

My 2 cents

You forget. In OS X, you only 'start' the browser once. Unless you manually go into the menus and close it, it will open instantaneously after that as it stays running with you 'close' the window. I don't see quick startup time as much of a benefit. I agree on the tab switching as that is something that is perceptually faster for the user.
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post #11 of 70
Remember when Safari was released in 2003 and Opera cried? Now their up to tendy ten.
post #12 of 70
While not exactly misleading, the report does cross reference both Mac and Windows platforms. The market share clearly includes Windows in the mix as IE (which is not even available on the Mac) is at 64% and Safari at 4%. Yet the speed tests exclude IE as a comparison. All 5 browsers are available on Windows and I'm sure the speed results would change somewhat if tested there.

A more balanced report would only include market share on the Mac platform exclusively so long as the speed tests are relative to the Mac testing.
post #13 of 70
Despite the fact that I'm sure the benchmark is technically correct. Apart from starting up new pages Chrome is really fast bringing back Google requests which is about half the new pages we get. So if in page changes are not as quick i tend to mentally gloss over them..Emotionally its clearly snappier than Safari. Snappy seems to equate to fast in the real world.
post #14 of 70
Just to be clear, SunSpider is testing WebKits Nitro v. Googles V8 JavaScript engines not the WebKit browser engine themselves.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Still very impressive for a Beta.

If you run Safari on SL in 32-bit mode you get much slower results on SunSpider. When Chrome moves to 64-bit this may also help their V8 JS engine fly past Nitro.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

What's funny is that NetNewsWire's built-in browser is about equal to Chrome (or extremely close) on the Sunspider tests. I'm not even sure how current NNW's engine is, either. Interesting . . .

I am under the impression that NNW uses the WebKit.framework for its browser, which means that its the same as your Safaris browser engines.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DJRumpy View Post

Still no adblock and extensions are still disabled in Chrome, and although enabled in Chromium, they don't seem to work at all in the latest build (or at least the Adblock extension doesn't). I find all the ads far to distracting to use. Get the extensions working, and I'll consider it.

As to the speed tests, simply testing Java speed isn't all that interesting to me. In addition, as to the numbers above, a tenth of a second isn't all that significant to the end user. Web pages are not 100% java. I find that Safari, Firefox, and Chrome all perform well enough that any would work from a speed perspective. I do like the light weight of Chrome though. Something to watch.

In the end its all about convenience, which to me means interoperability. Safari is my preference on OS X and IE8 on Windows. However, with IE I have installed Chrome as the browser engines and made it load this by default by editing a DLL.
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post #15 of 70
I'm not so sure about this....in my experience, Chrome is a LOT faster than Safari - and it doesn't create a huge memory leak a la Safari. It's my main browser now - I've been using it since the Developer release.
post #16 of 70
BOO!! Down with Apple.
post #17 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by nondual View Post

I'm not so sure about this....in my experience, Chrome is a LOT faster than Safari - and it doesn't create a huge memory leak a la Safari. It's my main browser now - I've been using it since the Developer release.

Memory leak? You do realize it's not called a memory leak if the software purposely uses the memory, and then gives it back when closed?
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post #18 of 70
edit: Pipped by DJRumpy
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post #19 of 70
Well, I tried Chrome on the Mac out - (I use it regularly when I'm on a PC) and I am so glad it fixed that annoying clicking on a link and opening to a tab instead of a new window as Safari always does.

However, one thing I wish Safari and Chrome did was block annoying flash ads and allow custom pop-up blocking instead of all or nothing.

I love how fast Safari is and Chrome is darn good in my eyes too.

I also gave the new Opera try and I must say I am so impressed by it that I am considering using it as my primary browser because it has all the features I like such as the built-in ad flash blocking that I wanted so much. I also like how Opera does bookmarks more similar to IE which is about the only thing I ever liked about IE. Opera seems to have so much more in comparison to many of the other browsers out there.

Now to each their own, i'm not advocating or trying to convert anyone to anything.
post #20 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJRumpy View Post

Memory leak? You do realize it's not called a memory leak if the software purposely uses the memory, and then gives it back when closed?

I'm using iFreeMem and Safari uses EVERYTHING it can. Yeah, it gives it back when it's closed, but it hogs everything while it's working. Chrome does not do this. iFreeMem shows huge chunks of 'free' memory while using Chrome the entire time I keep it up. I'm constantly reclaiming memory back when I'm using Safari, which makes multi-tasking a real chore. I like to leave my browser up to pages and leave and come back to some of my faves instead of closing and reloading everything again and again.

Also, when I close Safari lately, I get a message from Safari that says something about a 'world leak'.
post #21 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by nondual View Post

I'm using iFreeMem and Safari uses EVERYTHING it can. Yeah, it gives it back when it's closed, but it hogs everything while it's working. Chrome does not do this.

That still doesn't make it a memory leak. I'm running safari right now with 4 tabs open. It's using 205 MB.

Hardly "everything".
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post #22 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by nondual View Post

I'm using iFreeMem and Safari uses EVERYTHING it can. Yeah, it gives it back when it's closed, but it hogs everything while it's working. Chrome does not do this.

That isn’t a memory leak, that is a an app designed to use as much as it needs if it’s available to speed up caching. OPen up more apps and Safari will give back RAM for them. It’s only taking what it can when it’s available and needed. More apps should RAM this intelligently and not limit itself when it doesn’t need to.
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post #23 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

That isnt a memory leak, that is a an app designed to use as much as is available to speed up caching. OPen up more apps and Safari will give back RAM for them. Its only taking what it can when its available. More apps should RAM this intelligently and not limit itself when it doesnt need to.

I would disagree even with that. I have 8 GB of ram. Safari is using 200 MB. It uses what it uses. No more, no less.
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post #24 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJRumpy View Post

I would disagree even with that. I have 8 GB of ram. Safari is using 200 MB. It uses what it uses. No more, no less.

I was coming back to edit. I realized that it wouldnt be read correctly. I didnt mean to imply that it would just all the RAM you had, but that it would use all the RAM you have available if it needed it.

Im at 122MB with two tabs opened, but when I did some hefty searches in my history I got a bump up to 340MB momentarily with an average around 240MB.
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post #25 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I was coming back to edit. I realized that it wouldnt be read correctly. I didnt mean to imply that it would just all the RAM you had, but that it would use all the RAM you have available if it needed it.

Im at 122MB with two tabs opened, but when I did some hefty searches in my history I got a bump up to 340MB momentarily with an average around 240MB.

Yeah. It seems to use 2-10 MB per tab for me, with a single tab (basically just the browser opened to a page) at somewhere around 200. About on par with IE from what I recall. I should also check firefox. I don't think that's all that unusual these days
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post #26 of 70
NetNewsWire, 170mb, 15 tabs open.
post #27 of 70
Just launched all 4 browsers with a fresh new session.

Chrome and Chromium came in at 40 MB.
Firefox came in at 116 MB
Safari came in at 80 MB

Considering even the base Mac's come with what, 2 GB, I don't see this as an issue.
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post #28 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJRumpy View Post

Yeah. It seems to use 2-10 MB per tab for me, with a single tab (basically just the browser opened to a page) at somewhere around 200. About on par with IE from what I recall. I should also check firefox. I don't think that's all that unusual these days

I think it was AnandTech that did tests on browser power usage while on battery under different loads. Safari and IE on Mac OS X and Windows, respectively, were the best. Id like to see how Chrome fares now that its out. A downfall for Chrome is that the WebKit.framework seems to be quite efficient but on the upside, if yo are testing 64-bot Safari to 32-bit Chrome this may be in Chromes favour as 32-bit mode Safari was much more efficient when using Flash, likely so to Flash for Mac OS X not being 64-bit compatible yet even though it is run separately from the browser.


I have no interest in writing a script and being without my machine for periods of 7 hours so Ill let someone else go for it, but Id thought Id throw it out there for some intrepid techs.
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post #29 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJRumpy View Post

Considering even the base Mac's come with what, 2 GB, I don't see this as an issue.

Some people complain that even the cheap $400 notebooks come with more RAM than Macs but this test shows that they actually need more RAM due to crapware. The site below did a 9 different PC vendors pre-installed crapware and how it affected the preformance. Note that since removing the iWork MS Office for Mac trials over a year ago there is not even trialware on any Mac, much less pay-for-play crapware.
"The Apple had a lower memory footprint than its rivals, too. Of the 2GB of RAM installed, only 289MB was used when the machine was idling – around 14% of the total memory installed.”

http://www.pcpro.co.uk/features/3529...e-crapware-con
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post #30 of 70
So what if Safari or Chrome is faster? What, one uses WebKit and the other uses, uh, WebKit.

"OMG Google Chrome is so much better take that apple!"

Why not take Epiphany for a spin to see how it uses WebKit as well? Oh my, it was 0.045% slower than Safari! OMG
post #31 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by sprockkets View Post

So what if Safari or Chrome is faster? What, one uses WebKit and the other uses, uh, WebKit.

"OMG Google Chrome is so much better take that apple!"

Why not take Epiphany for a spin to see how it uses WebKit as well? Oh my, it was 0.045% slower than Safari! OMG

This test wasnt with WebKit but with the JS engines each browser uses. Safari and default builds of WebKit use the Nitro JS engine while Google decided to go with their own V8 JS engine for Chrome.
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post #32 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by sprockkets View Post


Why not take Epiphany for a spin to see how it uses WebKit as well? Oh my, it was 0.045% slower than Safari! OMG

Tell that to an Olympic skier.
post #33 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJRumpy View Post

That still doesn't make it a memory leak. I'm running safari right now with 4 tabs open. It's using 205 MB.

Hardly "everything".

Leave it up for awhile. I guess YMMV, but on my iMac (2008 model using 4Gigs of memory running Leopard), it does indeed take everything but a sliver along with everything else I have running. Once again, Chrome does not do this. Quitting Safari eliminates the problem and running Chrome doesn't duplicate it. Doesn't that sort of limit it to Safari?

What does the 'world leak' message mean? I apologize if I used the term wrong, but it hardly detracts from my issues with Safari, does it?

So, once again -'Oops, my bad' - now do you want to address the actual issues I have with Safari leaving very little memory free?
post #34 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJRumpy View Post

Just launched all 4 browsers with a fresh new session.

Chrome and Chromium came in at 40 MB.
Firefox came in at 116 MB
Safari came in at 80 MB

Considering even the base Mac's come with what, 2 GB, I don't see this as an issue.

I use multiple, multiple tabs. Often up to 12-16 at a time. With that many on Chrome, no problem. I still have about a quarter of my total memory 'free'. Using Safari, I can open all those tabs and it slowly creeps up to leaving nothing free and much 'inactive' but not 'free'. When I Optimize with iFreeMem, it gives them back, but I really shouldn't have to do that.

And with Chrome, I don't. I'm not saying Chrome doesn't have its issues, it does - but speed and memory usage aren't among them.
post #35 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by nondual View Post

Leave it up for awhile. I guess YMMV, but on my iMac (2008 model using 4Gigs of memory running Leopard), it does indeed take everything but a sliver along with everything else I have running. Once again, Chrome does not do this. Quitting Safari eliminates the problem and running Chrome doesn't duplicate it. Doesn't that sort of limit it to Safari?

What does the 'world leak' message mean? I apologize if I used the term wrong, but it hardly detracts from my issues with Safari, does it?

So, once again -'Oops, my bad' - now do you want to address the actual issues I have with Safari leaving very little memory free?

Try this. Open up Safari then close the window, not the app, and check how much RAM Safari is using. Then use Chrome as you normally would and periodically check to see how much RAM Safari is using. If it keeps increasing in size when you look at it, yet havent used it, then its leaking memory.
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post #36 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Try this. Open up Safari then close the window, not the app, and check how much RAM Safari is using. Then use Chrome as you normally would and periodically check to see how much RAM Safari is using. If it keeps increasing in size when you look at it, yet havent used it, then its leaking memory.

You're probably right - I probably misused that term. All I know is that with similar amounts of tabs and windows open, Chrome eats less memory and doesn't give me the spinning beachballs that Safari does. The same kinds of use.

I have had other errors with Chrome, but they aren't as predictable.

So I'm not really concerned about whether it's a memory leak or not, I just know that after having it up for a while and using multiple tabs and windows (and then closing some windows)..after a while, my memory is completely 'eaten'. And it doesn't happen with Chrome.

The other thing I've gotten used to in Chrome is that searches are done right in the address bar - so you can either type a full address or if you're looking for something, you can just type that and it just brings you right to the same google page that the search window would. Now that I've been using it, why DO we have two fields at all? Isn't this a function of when IE had all that junkware 'Search Window' 'Yahoo Bar' etc that EVERYTHING wanted to load up in Windows? (I don't know if it's still like that, I've only used Windows intermittently since switching to Mac in 2002).
post #37 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by nondual View Post

You're probably right - I probably misused that term. All I know is that with similar amounts of tabs and windows open, Chrome eats less memory and doesn't give me the spinning beachballs that Safari does. The same kinds of use.

I have had other errors with Chrome, but they aren't as predictable.

So I'm not really concerned about whether it's a memory leak or not, I just know that after having it up for a while and using multiple tabs and windows (and then closing some windows)..after a while, my memory is completely 'eaten'. And it doesn't happen with Chrome.

The other thing I've gotten used to in Chrome is that searches are done right in the address bar - so you can either type a full address or if you're looking for something, you can just type that and it just brings you right to the same google page that the search window would. Now that I've been using it, why DO we have two fields at all? Isn't this a function of when IE had all that junkware 'Search Window' 'Yahoo Bar' etc that EVERYTHING wanted to load up in Windows? (I don't know if it's still like that, I've only used Windows intermittently since switching to Mac in 2002).

I completely agree with you. Safari uses a TON of memory on my macbook, sometimes up to I Gb of RAM or more for apparently no reason. Right now I have 4 tabs open and none of them have flash movies or anything too draining. - in fact I have ClickToFlash installed - and Safari is using 566MB. Every couple of hours my RAM gets almost totally used up so I restart Safari, which gives me back a considerable chunk of memory. I use iStat menu btw.
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post #38 of 70
@nondual: Glims is a great little utility for Safari that will allow you to search from the menubar. It also enables kiosk mode and a whole bunch of other nifty features.

Also, I wouldn't be too concerned about inactive memory. Maybe someone here can correct me if I am wrong, but my understanding is that it is really more "free" than "used." Rather, it is memory that has been used, but continues to be reserved for active applications but may be taken by any application that needs it. From Apple Support:

Inactive memory

This information has not recently been used but will remain in RAM until another application needs more memory but no free memory is available. If called upon by a process, this is quickly changed to Active memory; if it has been swapped to the hard disk, it will be moved back to RAM and marked as Active.
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post #39 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by leafy View Post

But, to look at other areas where people "feel" fast, I think Chrome has a clear edge over Safari.

For example, startup time is extremely fast with Chrome.

My 2 cents

Set google as the home page in Safari, I don't think you'll notice a difference in launch times.


Is this the inspiration for Chrome's icon????


post #40 of 70
I think that whilst speed is of course important, there is more to a browser than how fast it is. Bookmark management, granularity of ad blocking, site preferences, tab presentation and other useful features are just as relevant in my view.
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