Broadband is fast on Windows? WHY?


Staff member

I am a die hard Mac user. No doubt about that. Heck I run these forums. I really hate Windows, in fact, I despise Windows. But, why is it, my Windows box loads web pages faster than I can see them draw on the screen. Large web pages, load with ease... those same large web pages... are take a few seconds longer.

I timed it... I loaded a large page in Windows XP, it took all but 1 second. On my Mac, it took 5 seconds.


Let's compare machines.

Compaq DeskPro - PIII-650mhz 256mb RAM. Standard built in video card with a 100mb connection.

PowerMac G4/500 256mb RAM. Standard built in video card with a 100mb connection. Both sitting off the same hub, connected to the same internet connection.

According to the mhz myth, my G4/500 should be, what 10 times faster than a PIII-650? :D

This has bothered me for a year now. I have ONE application I use about once a week for about 5 minutes on my Windows XP box. It is the only reason I have a Windows box... aside for being able to do testing on for a variety of reasons.

Whenever I use the browser, it just screams... it makes me sick. Has Microsoft slowed down the Mac browser just enough to make it slower, or is it just the machine. I get the same results, running OS 9 or OS X.

Macs might be able to render a Photoshop file in half the time, but I don't render photoshop files. I want to see speed tests like what all of us do every day... browsing the Internet.

Thanks for allowing me to fume... now I will get back on my Mac and think... OH BOY, I JUST LOVE THIS THING! :)



Notorious Olive Counter
IE in Windows has home turf advantage. MS has access to all the APIs they don't give others (eg. Netscape). It's practically the figurehead for their OS.

On OS X, it's an afterthought. It's a Carbon app, which slows things down some already, and it's the sort of software any other company would be calling beta, if not alpha.

The difference in speed is the browser, not the OS. If you want to see how fast the actual internet connection is, just download files to disk, don't render them.

Incidentally, the broadband connections themselves are reportedly actually slower in XP than eg. OS X.


Staff member
Oh, I am not ranting because I have done actual download speed tests... heck, I am still upset I don't have ION anymore, 600k/sec (yes, it is correct) for downloading kicks butt over my cable modem @ 250k/sec on a good day.



poptart villain
normally, I agree with theRegister, but that was some of the most senseless propaganda I've seen since... well, WinXP.

true, Windows is MS homeground; therefore, they can optimize it. Maybe Apple should create their own browser, or allow somebody to optimize one for their OS.

and since when does carbon app = slower?

Red Phoenix

Is this with the MacOS X version of IE, or MacOS 9 version? The MacOS 9 version running in Classic-mode is faster than than thing they tried to pass of as a browser for OS X.

And no, Carbon apps do not necessarily mean slower. I think a lot of bias comes from the fact that a lot of Carbon applications just aren't properly done. I see no reason why a Carbonized version of IE couldn't be just as good as the Classic version, except for the fact that Microsoft's Mac team has been spending most of their time on Office.


Staff member
Okay... here are my results...

Mac OS X 10.1.1


default settings on browsers

iCab - 7-12 seconds
OmniWeb - 6 seconds
Netscape X - 6 seconds
IE - 4-6 seconds

Windows XP

IE 6.0 - 2 seconds (max 4 seconds)

The problem I have with alternative browsers, and even Netscape (starting with version 6) is that the experience goes down the tubes. The fonts are horrible, and the display isn't even well.

I know I know... that Microsoft doesn't follow standards and you can make 80 mistakes in your HTML code and it will still come out smelling like a rose in IE... but still... pages simply look nicer, fonts and all, in IE for Mac & Windows.

OmniWeb is coming along... the anti-aliasing on small fonts is not good. iCab... still has many screws loose. Netscape, which was always a long time favorite of mine... just seems like it stepped back in time.



poptart villain
your numbers pretty much match mine :D

I'm on a unthrottled cable modem too with a 802.11b wireless network. is another text. WinXP IE 6.0 rendered the site in under 2 seconds, while Mac OS X IE 5.1.2 rendered the site in a tad bit over 5 seconds. WinXP with Opera 6.0 rendered the site at 2 seconds, while Opera 5.0 beta on Mac OS X took 7 seconds.

All of the caches, cookies were deleted, and off fresh reboots.

I did not go as in-depth as you, obviously.

I still remain a bit confused about the matter. Oh well... stuff happens :(


Staff member
What I don't like about alternative browsers is they aren't really alternatives. Meaning, you never know what you might get.

For example, Looks just fine in IE, Netscape... almost okay in iCab, but OmniWeb... uhh... what happened to that rendering?

But then you run iCab and more pages than not come out looking wrong... about the ONLY solution is to use IE because you can count on every page coming out the way the person who designed it wanted it to look like, because chances are, they used IE as the test browser.

I hate to see Microsoft win this battle, and yes, they didn't win it playing nice... but still...

Glad someone else got the same numbers I did.



Staff member
And while I am ranting... WHY did Apple decide to develop their own Mail program? Okay, we have mail programs that have been developed for many years... that work well (uhh, another Microsoft product, Outlook Express) and what does apple do? Oh, lets give people a new release of a new software product. I realize Apple has don this because no mail app was available for OS X when the public beta came out. But frankly, I'm not impressed by mail, and still use Outlook Express in classic mode.

I better quit ranting, otherwise you all will tell me to just start using my Windows box. That aint going to happen.



Rusher of Din
You are correct. IE is definitely faster in Windows than Mac. My theory is that IE for Windows is so integrated into the system, as opposed to being its own app and needing its own libraries or whatnot. The executable for IE 5.5sp2 on my Win2k system is 62k. It's basically got carte blanche on the system. I hate it how much slower it is under OS X and hope that the next release is a lot faster.

This may be of interest: .

Matrix Agent

Masochist Mascot
While I too am very comfused over this browser problem, I think i can shed some light on Apple's reason for other than the fact that they didn't want to count on MS coming out with a version.

I think the Apple is already trying to distance itself from .net. With MS getting at least close or nearer to charging a supscription for mail services, I think Apple wanted its user base to know that it wouldn't be MS's biatch and play right into .net.

I bet Apple-MS relations are quite interesting right now, after SJ's comments about MS's proposed settlement.

I like and I use it as my standart mail client, of course im not much of a demanding user, I only reicieve about 20 messages a day, and much of this comes from this site. For others this just may not be the heavy-duty application they;ve been looking for.

Anyway, thanks for the stats on the browsers. Its a little disheartening to see that type of stuff, but you can always hold out for more optimizations in 10.2


Is rendering HTML a floating-point intensive CPU activity? As 3D games have shown, floating point is one place where an x86 processor kicks PPC's butt, even at around the same mhz (magnifying the effect when the x86 is 1.5 to 2 times the mhz of the PPC). Maybe it's more of a hardware discrepancy than a software one.


Notorious Olive Counter

Yes, good old command-line browsers... Loaded a lot faster than any quoted times. What's that you say? Not loading all the graphics is cheating? Bah! Who reads the pictures anyway?

And no, rendering HTML does not use floating point at all. I thought it was PPC that outdid x86 in floating point, but I guess that shows you what I know.


Staff member
It's lynx! :) Yes, spoken from a true user. :)

I think someone has been playing too much computer golf.


Unperson Spotter
Originally posted by scruffy

And no, rendering HTML does not use floating point at all. I thought it was PPC that outdid x86 in floating point, but I guess that shows you what I know.

You know more than the previous poster: it is integer math that iAPX32 and PPC are roughly equivalent MHz for MHz. Floating point performance of iAPX is nothing short of abysmal, thanks to their stack based FPU model (impossible to optimize to using anything short of black magic and intimate knowledge of FP pipeline internals)

And yes, 2D graphics (and most of 3D, for that matter) makes absolutely no use of floating point.


Back to Mac Baby!
I've found that turning off my download cache in all browsers helps. It seems IE gets the best boon. came in on IE at 2 seconds.
Netcape I don't even want to bring to the table, cache off or not it's 6 seconds.
Opera rocks the speed tests. It's closest to my windows box, but the whole "loosing cookies" thing is starting to wear very thin. I'll be browsing the boards for example, and suddenly I'm not logged in... *grr*

I'm not defending IE. I hate it, it's still M$ and IMHO shouldn't be used. :p

I do want to support all other browsers, and Admin has well summarized how most feel about technical specs on other browsers, so I won't be repetitive.

Oh, and I'm running an iMac DV w/ 128 MB ram. No über G5 here.


I can't say much about the browser thing other than at work I have a Wintel box and it is much faster on the web than my home Cube.

But in regards to Mail, I think the reason that Apple included it was because it was, for the most part, already there. It was basically brought up to speed for OS X right from NeXTSTEP. Of you can find old picutres of NeXTSTEP Mail and early shots of OS X Mail, they are pretty much identical except for some prettying up.

Even the Mail icon in NeXTSTEP showed you how many new mails you had. Most of the features that Apple and everyone are touting as advanced and new features are old hat to NeXTSTEP.

This is why APple purchased NeXTSTEP because it brought a robust OS, with advanced features, and great development tools (even some applications) to APple without that much work.

I don't know if this means anyhting, but I don't think it is at all surprising that Adobe brought Illustrator and Acrobat to OS X first. The original NeXTSTEP graphics engine was developed with Adobe and based upon PDF (DisplayPostScript) and Illustraotr was available for NeXTSTEP.