Apple's Safari 4 Beta for Windows speeds up after security update

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Earlier this week, Apple posted security updates for both its production and experimental versions of its Safari browser, for both Mac and Windows platforms. But Betanews tests indicate that the company may have sneaked in a few performance improvements as well, as the experimental browser posted its best index score yet: above 15 times better performance than Internet Explorer 7 in the same system.

After some security updates to Windows Vista, Betanews performed a fresh round of browser performance tests on the latest production and experimental builds. That made our test virtual platform (see page 2 for some notes about our methodology) a little faster overall, and while many browsers appeared to benefit including Firefox 3.5 Beta 4, the very latest Mozilla experimental browsers in the post-3.5 Beta 4 tracks clearly did not. For the first time, we're including the latest production build of Apple Safari 3 in our tests (version 3.2.3, also patched this week) as well as Opera 9.64. Safari 4, however, posted better times than even our test system's general acceleration would allow on its own.

In our first tests of the Safari 4 public beta against the most recent edition of Google Chrome 2 last month, we noted Safari scored about 10% better than Chrome 2, that company's experimental build. Since that time, there's been a few shakedowns of Chrome 2, and a few security updates to Vista.

Those Vista speed improvements of about 4% overall were reflected in our latest IE8 and Firefox 3.5 Beta 4 test scores. After applying the latest updates, we noticed IE8 performance improve immediately, by almost 13% over last month to 2.47 -- meaning, about 247% better performance than Internet Explorer 7 on the same platform. While Google Chrome posted better numbers this month over last, neither version may have benefitted from the Vista speed boost very much, with Chrome 1 jumping 2.4% over last month to 11.9, but Chrome 2 faring better, improving almost 6% to 13.84.

Safari 4's speed gains were closer to 8% over last month, with a record index score of 15.5 in our latest test. This while the latest developmental builds of Firefox 3.5 not-yet-public Beta 5 ("Shiretoko" track) and 3.6 Alpha 1 ("Minefield" track) were both noticeably slower than even 3.5 Beta 4. This was a head scratcher, so we repeated the test four times, refreshing the circumstances each time (that's why the report I'd planned for yesterday ended up being posted today), with our results confirmed each time.

We started fresh with Opera, this time testing both the production and preview builds for the first time. Opera 9.64 put in a score very comparable to Safari 3.2.3, at 5.94 versus 5.64, respectively. But our latest download of the Opera 10 preview kicked performance up more than a notch, with a nice 15.4% improvement over last month to 6.21.

Next: A word on methodology...

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