recently, that was a tough question to answer. Sure there was a
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
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
The result is the Peacekeeper benchmarking suite,
which is now available as a free
online application. DailyTech 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
Currently, the test covers page rendering using
everything from HTML 5.0 to CSS. It also includes a number of
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
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
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
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.
quote: Why do people care about browser speed?