Hype Check: Safari 4 can’t beat Google Chrome

Posted on February 25, 2009. Filed under: Internet, Tech News | Tags: , , , , , |

By Lee Mathews


Apple’s download page declares Safari 4 “the world’s fastest web browser.” Pretty strong words. That is, of course, if they had any actual meaning.

Perhaps they’re referring to a different world. On the planet Earth, however, Safari 4 still can’t surpass Google Chrome on the Sunspider, V8, or Dromaeo browser benchmarks.

If you’d like to see how it stacks up, take a look at my comparatives from Dromaeo – Safari 4 is the column labeled Webkit 528.16. Other browsers used were Chrome (labeled Webkit 530), Chrome (labeled Webkit 525), Firefox 3.0.6, Firefox 3.1 (labeled 60780) with Tracemonkey enabled, Opera 9.63, and Opera 10. It’s no longer news how slow Internet Explorer (both 7 and 8) are at processing Javascript, so I haven’t included its results here. Tests were run on an AMD quad 9550 with 4gb of memory running Windows Vista Ultimate x64.s?



On Google’s V8 benchmark, Chrome 2 beats Safari 4 like a rented mule, and Firefox 3.1 barely puts up a fight.

Safari 4 does perform admirably when tested on Dromaeo, placing first in ten tests. Firefox 3.1 claims seven top marks and comes close on two more. Based on overall numbers, however, Chrome 2 still wins the Javascript speed title.

Wait, didn’t CNet just release “shocking results” that show Safari 4 coming in first? Sure they did. And Webware ran a post showing it coming in second in their battery of tests. I’m going to have to side with Webware on this one.

At this point, though, what do the numbers mean? Firefox 3.1 puts up a score three times the next best in the “bits in byte” test. Chrome 2’s 1057.765 in recursive number calculation is about 25 times what Firefox can manage. Safari’s Fannkuch result is 33% better than that of Chrome. Each browser seems to be very strong in certain areas and weak in others, so do the numbers really matter that much?


They’re interesting to look at, but in actual use Chrome 1 and 2, Safari 4, Firefox 3.1, and even Opera 10 “feel” very similar in terms of performance to me. Ultimately, it boils down to using the browsers yourself to determine which one is best suited to your browsing habits.

Ignore the hype machine. Who cares what browser puts up the best test results if it doesn’t pass muster on your favorite sites.

Source: downloadsquad


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[…] been a lot of speed claims lately when it comes to web browsers – when Apple released Safari 4, I put half a dozen options through the paces to see who came out on top. IE8 didn’t appear in my chart, because it handled the benchmarks […]

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