OS X Mavericks browser rankings; Safari first, Firefox second and Chrome third

All of the browsers used are the latest, most current versions

Osx-mavericks-logoUsing the Browsermark site to test each of the big three browsers and how they perform with Apple’s new release of Mavericks that claims to boost performance by shifting RAM on the fly I ran two tests on each browser under the same conditions.

Both of the Safari tests performed at the top 100% of all browsers tested, which really isn’t that surprising. What was a bit surprising was that Firefox outperformed Chrome in two head to head tests by quite a few percentage points.

The last few iterations of Firefox has really managed to streamline a strip down a lot of its bulk that started plaguing it early fairly early on and making it feel and run sluggish. These test show that it handles all of the tests better than Chrome which is usually thought of as the “lightweight” fast browser of choice.

What is tested?

Currently we have five test groups:

CSS group: measures your browsers 2D and 3D performance, and finally executes CSS Crunch test

DOM group: measures variety of areas, like how well your browser traverse in Document Object Model Tree or how fast your browser can create dynamic content

General group: measures areas like resize and page load times

Graphics group: tests browsers Graphics Processing Unit power by measuring WebGL and Canvas performance

Javascript group: executes number crunching by doing selected Array and String operations

Additionally Browsermark will test your browsers conformance, too. Conformance results tells how well browser did on CSS3 and in HTML5 support tests. Also browsers Flash and Silverlight support are tested here.

I’ve been a longtime user of Chrome but since Mavericks’ release Ive been giving Safari a shot and have to say I can definitely feel the difference. Safari is definitely snappier after the upgrade. There are still some UI choices of Safari that drive me nuts but I suppose the more I use it the more used to it I’ll get.

Has anyone else using Mavericks either noticed a difference in your browser or choice or even gone ahead and made a switch?

15 thoughts on “OS X Mavericks browser rankings; Safari first, Firefox second and Chrome third

    1. I haven’t used FF in years. Well, pretty much since not long after chrome came out.

      Actually I switched when Chrome started adding plugins. Used it ever since. But Safari is pretty damn fast on mavericks so ill probably be sticking with that for a while.


  1. Ever since I started using Mavericks OS X I’ve been having a troubling issue. Everytime I try to upload or download a picture the save/upload window closes itself. After this happens two or three times Firefox crashes.


  2. I like multiple profiles. Chrome makes this easiest. However, Chrome is a terrible memory hog. Firefox also supports multiple profiles (via profile switch extension) and uses much less RAM, so I’m going back to Firefox for a while to trial it. Safari doesn’t do multiple profiles so it’s out.


  3. I still prefer Chrome. I tried Safari under Mavericks on my new MacBook Pro (purchased brand new less than 1 month ago) for my normal uses (Yahoo mail, Gmail, on-the-fly language translation to and from musician and cultural web forums overseas) and I found that Safari bogged down and positively stalled when compared to Chrome. Chrome has a language translation extension but Chrome still outperformed Safari for my uses.


  4. I have been using Firefox 29. It scrolls smoother than Safari. I find it just as fast and I like the way the user interface can be customized. I have Chrome also but I don’t use it that much. It consumes a lot of memory when many tabs are opened.


    1. Do you notice any significant difference in battery life when using Firefox (or even Chrome) over Safari. To be honest I’m usually plugged in so it doesn’t make that much of a difference to me but it does seem like Safari seems to be a little nicer on the battery life but since it’s specifically geared for macs I suppose that makes sense.

      Firefox to me is like an ex-girlfriend I really want to get back together with but can’t seem to make that leap again. I used to love FF and use it religiously when it first came out but after a while it just go so bloated and slow that it drove me nuts. Once Chrome came out it blew FF out of the water as far as speed went. I have been using FF a little more recently and have noticed a big difference, they’ve obviously fixed a lot of what was slowing it down. I actually think it’s better than Chrome again IMO. I’ve started using FF way more on my PC than Chrome now but I find myself sticking with Safari on my Mac.


      1. On my macbook air safari 7 does give the best battery life (I also love its butter smooth scrolling). I never liked safari much until this release, its performance is quite impressive. I still prefer firefox though due to better addons, tab management, and cross platform sync. I’m not a fan of chrome on OSX, it seems to really hog battery compared to safari and firefox.

        Regardomg firefox’s performance issues, this is something I’ve been following for a while:

        There’s a lot more performance improvements coming down the pipe in the future which should make firefox feel a lot snappier :)

        Firefox is actually a pretty fast browser (and does pretty well in benchmarks), and in my experience uses less memory than chrome.

        What makes firefox seem slower than other browsers though, is its UI responsiveness issues, which happen because firefox currently does way too much stuff on the ‘main thread’.

        Other browsers, such as chrome have had the benefit of being built from the ground up with a much more asynchronous and multi-process design in mind. Firefox is working on achieving this as well, but it involves a lot of refactoring of the existing code base.

        One of the first major improvements has already recently appeared in the OSX version of firefox (“Off the main thread compositing” or OMTC), this helps a lot with interface responsiveness. Other things that will be coming in the future are: multithreaded image decoding, async css animations, async video decoding, electrolysis (aka e10s).

        OMTC and e10s are what will have the biggest impact. OMTC moves the graphics compositing stuff off of the main thread, and e10s moves firefox to a fully multi-process model like google chrome uses (and e10s requires OMTC, so we won’t be seeing it until OMTC is finished, currently its only in the OSX and android versions of firefox. Mozilla has recently made e10s a priority though).

        Other things that will be implemented in firefox further down the line are APZM (Async pan-zoom module). This makes things like scrolling, panning, and zooming asynchronous, which should significantly increase scrolling responsiveness. Chrome and safari already use the equivalent of this. I believe the android version of firefox already uses this.

        I believe they also eventually plan to implement tile-based rendering on the desktop, this is what OSX 10.9/safari uses to make the smooth scrolling so butter smooth. Currently this is only used on the android version of firefox.


        1. Nice try Mozilla marketing guy!

          Just kidding, I’m actually going to give FF a shot for a few weeks on my Mac and see how it goes. You’re definitely right about Chrome. To me Chrome feels a lot like FF felt when Chrome first came out.

          Thanks for the great comment.


  5. What makes Firefox unusable for me these days (and I would really love to go back to it as my main browser) is it’s lack of support for h.264 native HTML5 video on OS X and OS X only. It supports the format on every single other platform you can get Firefox for, but not on OS X.

    I mean, ferchrissake, MPEG-4 is based off of QuickTime as a container format, and the Mozillians choose not to support the one OS which by definition through QuickTime has a perfectly legal way of playing back h.264 natively? Seriously?


    1. Yep, you hit the nail on the head with Firefox. I still shed one single tear when I think about what Chrome started out as and what it’s become. I generally stick to Safari when I’m on OSX and vacillate between Firefox and Chrome if I’m using a Windows machine.


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