One frequent request I get on my AS3 vs. JavaScript series is to test AS3 in more environments. Today I’m doing just that and testing its performance in browsers (plugin and ActiveX control) and standalone/projector mode across Mac OS and Windows operating systems. Does it make any difference? Read on to find out!

For this test, I used the same test suite from that I use in the AS3 vs. JavaScript series. It is not a comprehensive test of all features under all conditions. As such, I recommend viewing the results only as a broad perspective on overall performance. For specific performance characteristics, check out the other AS3 articles on this site.

All tests were conducted with the following environment:

  • Flex SDK (MXMLC), compiling in release mode (no debugging or verbose stack traces)
  • Release version of Flash Player
  • 2.4 Ghz Intel Core i5
  • Mac OS X 10.7.2 or Windows 7 Service Pack 1

Here are the total times for all tests on all platforms:

Platform Total Time
Windows – Chrome 15.0.874.121 372
Windows – Safari 5.1.1 364
Windows – Opera 11.52 347
Windows – Firefox 8.0.1 391
Windows – Internet Explorer 9.0.8112.16421 375
Windows – Standalone/Projector 396
Mac – Chrome 15.0.874.121 413
Mac – Safari 5.1.1 328
Mac – Opera 11.52 426
Mac – Firefox 8.0.1 328
Mac – Standalone/Projector 329

AS3 vs. AS3 Performance Chart (November 2011)

These results are pretty close to each other. The worst-performing platform is only 30% slower than the best-performing platform. Still, there are some important findings in the above data:

  • 64-bit platforms (Safari, Firefox, Standalone/Projector) are much faster on Mac OS X than 32-bit platforms (Chrome, Opera)
  • There are no differences on Windows due to 64-bit and 32-bit
  • Standalone/projector builds don’t execute AS3 any faster than other platforms
  • AS3 is a little quicker on Mac OS X than Windows
  • Internet Explorer—the only ActiveX platform—isn’t especially faster or slower than the other AS3 platforms

Overall, I’d say that AS3 performance is pretty much the same on all of these platforms. The only clear-cut winner is the 64-bit plugin support on Mac OS X, which seems to deliver a 30% speed boost. But, since most users will not be running on this platform, it’d be foolish to assume they will get this speedup. So, when performing speed tests on a “minimum system specification” machine, make sure you do it in a 32-bit environment on Mac OS X.

Raw data spreadsheets: Open Document Format (ODS) , Excel (XLS).

Spot a bug? Have a suggestion? Post a comment!