Since then there have been improvements to both the Mozilla and Webkit codebases, and I thought it was time to revisit the test and see where the current batch of browsers stood.
Like last year, three rendering engines are represented. Opera uses it’s own proprietary engine, Presto. The rest fall into two categories: Mozilla and Webkit. For those of you coming to the party late, Mozilla is the codebase that traces it’s roots back to Netscape and is more commonly associated with Firefox these days. Webkit is Apple’s implementation of the khtml engine from the KDE desktop environment for X. Again, thankfully no Trident (IE) based web browsers exist for Mac.
- Mozilla based browsers:
- Firefox 3.5.1
- Flock 2.5 -the original social browser
- Camino 1.6.8 -basically Firefox with Cocoa (Mac native GUI)
- Wyzo 3.0.3 -new Mozilla browser, claims to increase download speed
- Webkit based browsers:
- Safari 4.0.2
- Chrome 3.0.195 -Google’s new entry into the field
- Omniweb 5.9.2 -excellent Webkit browser with tab drawers
- Stainless 0.6.5 -webkit browser optimized for multi-core computers
- Cruz 0.2 -Webkit browser with multiple browsing panes
- iCab 4.6.1
- Sunrise 1.8.5 -Webkit browser with visual bookmarks and some developer-friendly features
The tests used are:
- Acid 3 Tests standards compliance
- Crab Test Flash performance
- AVE CPU usage on MooTools slideshow
- 15 Tab CPU usage with 15 tabs open
The acid3 test is a gauge of html standards compliance. This is why Internet Explorer has always sucked so bad. A developer can go to great lengths to make their web pages standards compliant so that every user sees the same page. Internet Explorer doesn’t care about standards, and that’s why we’ve always had to include special markup to give our IE surfers a page that looked ok. No excuse for it.
How do the latest batch of browsers fare with the Acid3 Test? Once again, the Webkit-based offerings come in first with 100% scores. Opera also gets a 100. Once again, OmniWeb lags behind it’s Webkit cousins. Firefox fares best of the Mozilla browsers, with the Mozilla derivatives coming in dead last.
Flash performance was mostly even across the board with the only notable deviations being a poor showing from Camino, and a fail for Chrome.
The 15 Tab Open test gauges browser CPU utilization with 15 tabs open. This is because many of us have a lot going on when we surf, and I used to get frustrated with pokey performance with too many open tabs. I used the same 15 sites for each browser test for consistency.
The latest Firefox does quite well on this test, with less than 10% CPU ultilization. The other Mozilla browsers don’t fare as well, using around 42-47% CPU and testing the worst of the group. Wyzo, another Mozilla based browser, did better at 25.
Two Webkit browsers fared worse than their cousins. iCab and Chrome both delivered 20-25% CPU utilization. Opera was next with 18%.
Firefox joined the remaining Webkit offerings in the winner’s circle, all delivering scores below 10%. The clear winner was Sunrise, which only used 4% CPU with 15 tabs open.
The winners of the 2009 Mac Web Browser Shootout!? This year Webkit soundly trounces Mozilla, and the browsers turning in the best scores across all tests are Safari, Cruz, Stainless, and Sunshine. I have a feeling that this time next year Chrome will be in that group, and if Stainless and Chrome both mature over the coming year, their accommodation of multiple processors may give them an advantage over the single threaded competition.
Going into last year’s Shootout! I had been a Camino user, but had switched to OmniWeb, which ended up being one of last year’s winners. I’m still using OmniWeb, but Cruz, Stainless and Sunrise have become objects of my interest.
Does performance tell the whole story? Not at all. Your web browser may provide a feature or behavior you wouldn’t want to give up. As attracted as I am to the new batch of Webkit-based browsers, I would miss per-site-preferences and the tab drawer if I left OmniWeb. Performance should be only part of the equation when choosing a browser.
Ultimately, web browsers across the board perform better than they did last fall, which is good news for all of us.