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Browser test puts Safari for Mac, Firefox for Windows on top

updated 05:35 pm EST, Fri January 6, 2012

Safari edges out Chrome, Firefox likewise on Win

The team at Tom's Hardware have run their latest head-to-head test of web browsers. All the leading browsers for the Mac and PC platforms were tested and included Opera, Firefox, Safari, IE 9 and Chrome. Coming out on top for the Mac platform was Apple's own Safari browser, while Mozilla's Firefox is currently the fastest browser available on the Windows platform.

The Tom's Hardware suite of 53 tests is among the most comprehensive and incorporates all of the most popular benchmarking utilities including SunSpider and GUI Mark2. Overall, While Safari sits in last place on the Windows platform, it has now hit the front on its native Mac platform. It easily won the most first places in all categories including HTML5 and memory usage, while showing very few general weaknesses. Although Firefox for Mac had improved since its last set of tests, Chrome edged it out for second place.

On the Windows platform, Firefox, which finished first overall did not necessarily score highly in all categories. However, it was the most consistent in the full suite of tests and only returned one weak performance in CSS. As on the Mac platform, Chrome finished in second place, with Opera third. After initially performing well on release, Microsoft's IE 9 currently places last on its native platform.

By Electronista Staff


  1. Eccent

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Dec 1999



    Safari won for Flash in Windows 7.

  1. Grendelmon

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Dec 2007



    Kind of funny that always promotes Chrome as being the "a faster" browser to test your broadband... Using Flash. Don't let the door hit you in the arse, Flash.

  1. chas_m



    These results match

    my real-world experience. Safari is the best browser for the Mac, and Firefox (vers 13 no wait 14 is out oh wait 15 will be out in a few minutes ...) is the best for Windows.

  1. jay3ld

    Senior User

    Joined: Jul 2004


    Anyone else..

    Find the irony in IE lost when it came to its own Silverlight plugin.

  1. Geoduck

    Junior Member

    Joined: Jan 2010


    Fast IF it loads

    Apparently the test didn't count time spent on spinning beach balls and didn't take into account the sites that won't work with Safari. I started using Safari om my Macs when it first came out. Replaced Netscape if I remember correctly so you know how long ago THAT was. This fall I went over to FireFox because Safari is so buggy any more and chokes on so many sites. It may be fast but it just didn't work too much of the time.

  1. Kees

    Junior Member

    Joined: Sep 2001


    gone to FF too

    the new Safari is bloated, and the constant reloading of pages drove me nuts. There's no way I'm giving even more of my data to google, so Chrome is out, Opera is too alien-feeling on Mac, so back to FireFox.
    Camino is still a great browser too, such a shame Mozilla doesn't allow them to use the newer gecko engines.

  1. Makosuke

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Actual Numbers More Interesting

    Those charts are certainly nice breakdowns, though of course it's funny when IE9 theoretically has the best HTML5 non-hardware-accelerated performance, yet falls flat on the actual conformance testing--works great when it works at all, I guess.

    But what's in a way more interesting is looking at individual benchmarks in absolute terms between the two platforms. On page loads, Windows is generally faster than Mac regardless of browser; on HTML5 tests, Safari Mac is for the most part faster than anything on Windows--apparently Apple put a LOT of work into optimizing that. Silverlight runs about twice as fast on Windows (no surprise); Flash is also drastically faster on Windows, but then any Mac user could have told you that. Safari Mac also scores extremely well in some of the Javascript and hardware accelerated HTML5 tests.

    Nothing incredible, but all-around interesting, and if nothing else it does show that Apple is serious about performance in Safari, whether you like some of their changes in the Lion version. (And actually, after the recent point update the page reloads and hangs have gotten VASTLY better.)

    Also hilarious: In Toms' page load time, not only is their own site slower than anything else on the list by far--including Amazon (which is a bloated mess), Yahoo, eBay, and the Huffington Post--but it takes a full 3 seconds to load on almost anything, even cached. Embarrassing.

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