The CNET Lounge forum

General discussion

Faster Browsing - Explain

by MacHugger / January 19, 2006 3:58 PM PST

With the discussion of Opera vs. Safari vs. Firefox, I often hear the phrase "it's faster" thrown around and I'd like to have that defined by somebody.

Earlier this week on TWiT, I think somebody on there mentioned that on the new Intel macs, the browsers seemed way faster and there was some speculation the problem has always been with the G5 chip.

WHAT is faster? The main difference I ever see is if I have a fast or slow internet connection. What is actually perceived to be faster about one browser on whatever platform over another?


Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Faster Browsing - Explain
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Faster Browsing - Explain
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
by mwinship / January 20, 2006 4:24 AM PST

Without specific context it's hard to give a definitive answer about what they were speaking about. My guess is that they are saying that the browers load and render pages faster.

Collapse -
Multiple things...
by John.Wilkinson / January 20, 2006 5:05 AM PST

The 'speed' can be influenced by many different things, and can apply to several different concepts, making it hard to give a definitive answer. However, here are a few things that can denote speed:

* The amount of time it takes the browser to load from the time you click the launch button. They are all close, so there isn't that much of a difference, but there is one. This is usually influenced by the number of processes required to load, how much it takes up in the way of system resources, etc.

* The 'engine' used to load the pages can have an inpact on the amount of time it takes for a page to load. For instance, Internet Explorer used Trident, Firefox and Netscape use Gecko, Opera uses Presto, and Safari uses WebCore. Engines are basically the software that imports information from the internet and displays the formatted information on the screen. I feel Gecko is the best here, but each test can have different results based on numerous other factors. When you combine that with the ever slight difference they make and the various strengths/weaknesses of all involved, it's impossible to have a clear winner.

* The caching ability is second-biggest factor. Caching is the storing of websites on your computer, preferably in RAM, not on the slower hard drive, so that if you go back to the website again in the near future the browser will only have to load a few select items, making the page load much faster. Here Firefox usually comes out the winner, but Opera and Safari win their share of tests too.

* And finally, the major influence is your computer's specs and internet speed. If you have an older computer with limited RAM or a slower processor, the browser is going to take longer to load. If you lack enough RAM, caching will not work well, if at all, meaning the benefits of having such capabilities is nullified. And, of course, a dial-up internet connection is going to take longer to load the content on than if you have a cable service.

In summary, there are a lot (way more than what I listed) things that affect 'speed,' which can refer to the length of time it takes the brower to launchd or the amount of time it takes for any given website to be fully loaded. And don't forget that a lot more goes into choosing a browser than just raw speed...look for a comfortable level of stability, security, third-party support, functionality, level to which it can be customized, and layout. If you have any other questions, feel free to come on over to the Browsers forum...we'll be there.

Hope this helps,

Collapse -
Another thing on speed
by acedtect / January 20, 2006 5:23 AM PST
In reply to: Multiple things...

Have you ever noticed that new computers always seem faster until you've used them for awhile. I think that could contribute to some of the idea that the new Macs are 'faster'. They're just uncluttered.

Collapse -
by MacHugger / January 20, 2006 6:50 AM PST
In reply to: Another thing on speed

Good point - new machines do seem way faster at first, especially relative to current Powerbooks.

Also, many thanks to John (I think) for the very detailed explanation of browser speed. I'm always using very fast Macs with lots of RAM so that might explain why I see little to no difference when I use a browser on one of the PCs here at work.


Popular Forums
Computer Newbies 10,686 discussions
Computer Help 54,365 discussions
Laptops 21,181 discussions
Networking & Wireless 16,313 discussions
Phones 17,137 discussions
Security 31,287 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 22,101 discussions
Windows 7 8,164 discussions
Windows 10 2,657 discussions


Your favorite shows are back!

Don’t miss your dramas, sitcoms and reality shows. Find out when and where they’re airing!