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Futuremark, makers of 3DMark, have launched PeaceKeeper, the first comprehensive browser benchmarking suite.

The results are intriguing -- Apple's Safari and Google Chrome are the top browsers speed-wise. Windows 7 beats Windows Vista with similar hardware and the same browser version, but still lags behind OS X. And the hardware on the system, particularly the CPU dramatically influences results.  (Source: PeaceKeeper)
The makers of 3DMark take on the web

Mozilla, Apple, Google, Opera, and Microsoft all claim the same thing -- that their browser is the fastest.  So who is telling the truth? 

Until recently, that was a tough question to answer.  Sure there was a handful of free tests, such as SunSpider's JavaScript benchmark, Celtic Kane's JavaScript benchmark (a bit older), or the crude CSS benchmark posted on HowToCreate.  However, these tests all had one thing in common -- they did not fully test the browser's speed across a variety of rich-content standards.

FutureMark, makers of the popular 3DMark hardware benchmarking software, know all about how to provide a cohesive benchmarking suite.  So amid ongoing work on PCMark, 3DMark, and even a video game (Shattered Horizon), FutureMark decided to try to settle the browser bragging match once and for all by releasing a comprehensive test suite.

The result is the Peacekeeper benchmarking suite, which is now available as a free online applicationDailyTech had the pleasure of talking with FutureMark President Oliver Baltuch and learning more about this exciting new test, as well as some of its more interesting results.

Currently, the test covers page rendering using everything from HTML 5.0 to CSS.  It also includes a number of tests to gauge JavaScript performance with typical algorithms such as encrypts, filters, parses, sorts, and array manipulation.  DOM performance is also tested.  Currently, flash performance tests are not included.  Mr. Baltuch says that a second version is in the works "that would include more of the HTML 5.0 and something that works to measure flash performance as well as possibly power performance."

The core set of tests now simulate conditions that might be encountered on content-heavy pages such as YouTube, Facebook, or Meebo.  The results are intriguing.  For the same browser version tested across different OS implementations running on virtually the same hardware Mr. Baltuch states, "The Apple [computers] tend to be 5-10 percent faster [than Windows machines].  We believe that is based on the middleware of the OS.  We believe that it is more streamlined."

While OS X holds the speed lead, Mr. Baltuch noted that Windows 7 featured substantial gains over Windows Vista.  However, Internet Explorer 8.0, Microsoft's flagship browser remains much slower than the industry's speed-leading browsers -- Google's Chrome and Apple's Safari.  Mr. Baltuch comments, "Windows 7 is faster than Vista is.  But Internet Explorer 8.0 is 5 times slower than Chrome and Safari."

Despite Chrome and Safari being the fastest, Mr. Baltuch says he uses Opera 10.0 beta 2 for browsing because he likes the user interface and features the best.  He also praised Mozilla users for their very helpful feedback.  He says that some browser makers have embraced his company's efforts, while others remain standoffish.

He states, "Some seem to be happy.  The Norwegians (Opera) seem to hate us at the moment (FutureMark is Finnish).  The guys at Microsoft have been silent so far."

For those interested, Peacekeaper is funded by advertising revenue and is also funded by sales of consulting services to large businesses.  Also, the benchmark has helped to increased the adoption of FutureMark's paid products like PCMark, according to Mr. Baltuch.

A couple of final interesting notes.  Mr. Baltuch says that the test is compatible with the popular Apple iPhone.  He also notes that there is a large difference between web performance, going from a netbook processor (such as the Intel Atom) to a high-end desktop processor (such as the Intel Core i7).  This is due to the CPU's pivotal role in running increasingly heavy web applications.  He also says that for users looking to try something off the typical beaten path, the Epiphany (browser packaged with Gnome Linux), Shiira (Webkit-based), and Midori (also Webkit-based) browsers all provide relative good Linux browsing performance.

Mr. Baltuch says his company loves feedback, so feel free to head over to the Peacekeeper page, check it out, and leave your comments.

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Chrome has more ads??
By DominionSeraph on 8/10/2009 3:20:31 PM , Rating: 2
Ok, after seeing this article, I downloaded Chrome. I tried my favorite sites and found that Chrome did seem to get to a 'stable' load-state quite a bit faster than IE8. (On content-heavy sites, IE8 pauses for a few seconds before I can start to scroll, then stutters for another before things smooth out. Chromes settles down faster.)

HOWEVER, I noticed that Chrome doesn't smooth-scroll, so I did a search for "Google Chrome scrolling" to see if there was a setting I was missing. The first site that comes up is which I noticed seemed to be having font issues. So I opened the page in IE8 to see if that was due to Chrome (it isn't), and noticed that Chrome has Google ads that IE8 doesn't! And I mean BIG, in-article ads of the "Sponsered search results" type.

UPDATE: Ok, after doing a little searching, it's a part of Google's AdSense. I actually had to click on the "Ads by Google" ad to find that out, though. You can opt-out, although the permanent method (by plugin) doesn't yet work in Chrome. (and you have to jump through hoops to find out their workaround is to disable all third-party cookies)

Google, f*ck you for opting me in.

RE: Chrome has more ads??
By DominionSeraph on 8/10/2009 3:35:27 PM , Rating: 2
Damn, even their workaround doesn't work. I deleted my cookies and temp files and am still getting those ads.

RE: Chrome has more ads??
By DominionSeraph on 8/10/2009 3:56:09 PM , Rating: 2
Bye-bye Chrome.

Google: Keep your data-mining off my porn machine.

RE: Chrome has more ads??
By foolsgambit11 on 8/10/2009 4:06:36 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds to me like you're trying to spread FUD. I went to the same site you listed (well, a different article on the same site, since the article didn't exist at the link you provided) in both IE8 and Google Chrome and there were big AdSense banners at the top and bottom of the article in both browsers.

What's more, you CANNOT opt out of seeing AdSense ads! You can opt out of having the ads be based on specific personal preferences. That's what 'opt out' means, if you read the description right beside it. When opted out, there will be no cookie on your computer for the browser you opted out through. But you'll still see ads, they just won't be targeted ads based on your preferences (they may still be targeted based on site content, though).

Again, it doesn't matter what browser you're using (unless we're talking FF+addons), you're going to get AdSense ads on sites that have them. So get out of here with your FUD.

RE: Chrome has more ads??
By DominionSeraph on 8/10/2009 4:23:52 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, the auto <url> converted the comma in my post. Delete the comma at the end or click:

And I haven't done anything to my IE8 since I downloaded it. Default Meduim-high security and Medium cookies, and there are no ads.


RE: Chrome has more ads??
By DominionSeraph on 8/10/2009 4:31:52 PM , Rating: 2
Oh crap, I forgot. I DID do something to IE8. I set it to default to InPrivate Filtering, and I have it set up with a blocklist of about 500 urls.

RE: Chrome has more ads??
By DominionSeraph on 8/10/2009 4:42:23 PM , Rating: 2
"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton

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