By Matt Birchler

Google Says Chrome is Faster than Safari. I Tested Them to Make Sure.

From the Chromium Blog, A new speed milestone for Chrome:

We’re excited to announce that in M99, Chrome on Mac has achieved the highest score to date of any browser – 300 – in Apple’s Speedometer browser responsiveness benchmark.

I haven't run any Mac browser benchmarks for a while, so I opened up my baseline 14" MacBookPro and did some as-scienticifc-as-I-can-be tests using the same suite of benchmarks I always use: BrowserBench.

Testing Methods

I opened BrowserBench on Safari and Chrome with no other apps open besides Numbers, which I tabbed over to between runs to record scores. I also disabled all extensions just in case. I then opened all 3 tests in new tabs and ran them in succession.

I ran the Speedometer test in Safari, and as soon as it was done I ran it in Chrome. I recorded the scores, waited a minute for the CPU to cool down if that was a factor, and then I mixed up the order and ran Speedometer in Chrome followed by Safari. I recorded the scores and repeated the above process in the next benchmark.

I never closed tabs, although I did have to reload the JetStream one since there's no way to re-run the test without loading the page again on that one.

At the end I went to Activity Monitor, grabbed all items related to Safari and Chrome, and added up the RAM usage for each one.

Also, this was testing Safari 15.4 and Chrome 100.

Phew! Here's what I found.

The Scores

As Google reports, the Speedometer score was incredible, and destroyed Safari.

JetStream was closer, but Chrome had a decisive win here too.

MotionMark was a big win for Safari (note that the MM score is divided by 10 in the graph above so that they could all be on the same chart without the first two looking tiny).

The RAM

I know this will be the first thing people bring up, so this is what RAM usage was at after both tests. Safari us using more RAM, but it's in the ballpark, and based on the variability of RAM usage, I'm open to this result going to either camp depending on the run.

All I can say here is that Chrome was not hogging all my system RAM as you may assume.

Takeaways

I don't really have any besides the fact that a faster Chrome is good for Chrome users, as well as other browsers which use Chromium, so…good news all around!

Also, adding here that benchmarks are not everything, and if your experience is different, I can't argue with that. All I will say is that I like Safari quite a bit, I don't use Chrome really at all, and I tried to make this test as fair as possible.

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