However, it is 38 percent faster than the newest version of Mozilla Firefox, more than three times faster than the production edition of that open-source browser, and over five times faster than Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8.
Safari 4, which was made available this week, scored just slightly higher than Chrome 18.104.22.168, a developer-only build of Google's browser that was issued only last week. The difference, however, was tiny: Google was only about 7 percent faster.
That new engine was most in evidence when Safari 4's scores are compared to those of Safari 3.2.2, the current shipping version on Windows. The beta of Safari 4 was about 3.7 times faster.
Safari 4 easily beat Firefox 3.0.6, Mozilla's production browser, and IE8 Release Candidate 1 (RC1), Microsoft's latest public release of its still-under-construction successor to the three-year-old IE7. According to SunSpider's tests, Safari 4 is nearly 3.5 times faster than Firefox and about 5.6 times faster than IE8.
We're at the point, with what people do in the browser, that users can't really tell the difference between browsers," he has argued.
"Beyond building a performance lab, which we've done, it's very difficult to tell which browser is fastest. The reality is that for most users, they'll all be comparable."
On the Mac, where Safari doesn't have to compete with Google - Chrome has yet to be ported to Apple's operating system - the beta of version 4 is almost twice as fast as Firefox 3.1 Beta 2 and nearly four times faster than Firefox 3.0.6, according to SunSpider tests run on a 2.4GHz 'unibody' MacBook.