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Test Setup And Methodology

Web Browser Grand Prix 7: Firefox 7, Chrome 14, Opera 11.51
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Hardware Setup

Test System Specs
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit)
Processor
Intel Core i5-750 (Lynnfield) @ 2.8 GHz, Quad-Core
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD7, LGA 1156, P55 Express, F7 BIOS
Memory
8 GB Crucial DDR3 @ 1333 MT/s (2 x 4 GB)
Graphics
AMD Radeon HD 4870 Reference Boards 512 GB GDDR5 (PCI-e 2.0)
Storage
Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500 GB SATA 3Gb/s, 7200 RPM, 16 MB Cache
Optical
Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS
Power Supply
Corsair TX750W (750 Watt Max)
Chassis
Zalman MS1000-HS2
CPU Cooler
Scythe Mugen 2 Revision B


The WBGP7 Test InstallationThe WBGP7 Test Installation

The following table holds the system specs of the local Web server used for our new startup time tests, the page load time tests, and JSGameBench.

Local Web Server Specs
Operating System
Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Server Edition "Lucid Lynx" (32-bit)
Processor
AMD Athlon @ 1150 MHz
Motherboard
Soyo Dragon Platinum
Memory
512 MB DDR
Graphics
AMD Radeon 9550, 256 MB GDDR
Storage
40 GB Western Digital HDD WD400BB
Optical
Samsung DVD-ROM SD-616T
Extra Packages
Apache2, MySQL Client, MySQL Server, PHP5, PHP-GD, PHP5-MySQL, PHPMyAdmin, SSH


The table below holds additional information on the test network.

Network Specs
ISP Service
Cox Premium (28 Mb/s down, 5 Mb/s up)
Modem
Motorola SURFboard SBS101U
Router
Linksys WRT54G2 V1


Software Setup

Our Windows 7 Ultimate test installation was freshly installed and fully updated as of midnight on September 25th. Power management and automatic updating is disabled before testing. The Web browsers and additional software, along with the exact version numbers tested, are listed in the table below.

Software
Version
Chrome14.0.835.186 m
Firefox
7.0
Internet Explorer
9.0.8112.16421
Opera
11.51 (build 1087)
Safari
5.1 (7534.50)
AMD Driver
8.850.0.0
Adobe Flash
10.3.183.10
Microsoft Silverlight
4.0.60531.0
Oracle Java
6 Update 27 (build 1.6.0_27-b07)


Test Setup


We restart the computer and allow it to idle for a few minutes before benchmarking the next browser. Other than the conformance benchmarks, all of our final scores are an average of several iterations. More iterations are run on tests that have short durations, lower scales, and/or higher variations.

All tests are placed into one of four groups: core, observation, dated, and quarantine. Core tests are considered current. These tests are usually trusted industry standards or our own creations, and they make up the core of the WBGP suite. Tests that are either generally unknown, mostly untested, or just too bleeding-edge are placed under observation. Tests classified as dated are either outdated, losing relevance, or otherwise need replacing. We are actively seeking community feedback and contributions regarding alternatives to these benchmarks. The final group is for quarantined benchmarks. Benchmarks find their way into quarantine by delivering dubious results or by being gamed. Whenever benchmarks that test the same thing yield conflicting results, more weight is given to tests with a better rating when creating the analysis tables.

The table below lists all 41 of the tests currently in our test suite (along with a version number and link, where applicable), number of iterations performed, and current rating in the Web Browser Grand Prix:

Web Browser Grand Prix 7 Test Suite
Test Name
Iterations
Rating
Performance Tests (33)
Startup Time: Single Tab
5
Core
Startup Time: Eight Tabs
5
Core
Page Load Time: Google
5
Core
Page Load Time: YouTube
5
Core
Page Load Time: Yahoo!
5
Core
Page Load Time: Amazon
5
Core
Page Load Time: Wikipedia
5
Core
Page Load Time: eBay
5
Core
Page Load Time: craigslist
5
Core
Page Load Time: The Huffington Post
5
Core
FutureMark Peacekeeper
3
Core
Kraken v1.1
3
Core
Google Kraken v1.1 Mod
3
Observation
SunSpider v0.9.1
3
Quarantine
Google SunSpider v0.91 Mod
3
Observation
Dromaeo DOM
2
Core
Maze Solver
3
Core
JSGameBench v4.1
2
Core
Asteroids HTML5 Canvas 2D And JavaScript
3
Observation
GUIMark 2 HTML5 Vector Charting (1 pixel variant)
3
Core
GUIMark 2 HTML5 Bitmap Gaming
3
Core
GUIMark 2 HTML5 Text Columns
3
Core
Psychedelic Browsing
2
Core
Hardware Acceleration Stress Test
2
Dated
WebGL FishIE
5
Observation
WebGL Solar System
5
Observation
ThoughtsInComputation Particles
5
Observation
GUIMark2 Flash Vector Charting
3
Core
GUIMark2 Flash Bitmap Gaming
3
Core
GUIMark2 Flash Text Columns
3
Core
Flash Benchmark 2008
3
Core
GUIMark Java
3
Dated
Encog Silverlight
5
Dated
Efficiency Benchmarks (4)
Memory Usage: Single Tab
3
Core
Memory Usage: 40 Tabs
3
Core
Memory Management: -39 Tabs
3
Core
Memory Management: -39 Tabs (extra 5 minutes)
3
Core
Reliability Benchmarks (1)
Proper Page Loads
3
Core
Conformance Benchmarks (3)
HTML5Test.com
1
Core
Ecma test262
1
Observation
Acid3
1
Dated


You've seen the line-up and toured the track. Now it's off to the races.

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Top Comments
  • 21 Hide
    makaveli316 , September 30, 2011 5:48 AM
    "Until another browser beats Chrome in the speed/performance benchmarks I'm sticking with it."

    lol people still think they can feel the difference in terms of speed in real world performance and there's still people that doesn't use a browser for their needs and preferences, but just because they have seen some silly benchmark.
    Ridiculous. I bet those are the same people that are always complaining in the forums about crashes, viruses and blue screens.
  • 14 Hide
    Anonymous , September 30, 2011 9:30 AM
    This article (as well as the preceding series of articles) is a great example of how amateur journalism can be misleading, or just downright wrong.

    On the surface, everything looks good - the author sets out a methodology, clearly presents the results, and draws conclusions based on them. Unfortunately, in doing so he reveals his severely lacking knowledge of testing methodology, the browsers themselves, as well as how one interprets the results of benchmarks.

    To aggregate across criteria such as "performance" and "standards compliance" (never mind the fact that HTML5 hasn't yet been drawn up), using an arbitrary weighting system, and then conclude that one browser beats other "overall" is nonsensical.

    Nowhere has the author talked about relevance (this is critical) or statistical significance of his tests. I'm sure he put in a lot of effort into the article, and that it was written out of the best of intentions; however, this article remains a jumble of random tests clumsily grouped together. For example, can the author explain to the readers why the removal of SVG fonts in the ACID3 test is important? Should browsers have support for SVG fonts? Should one test for it? If he can't, he's just mechanically running benchmarks that he's found on the internet.

    Obviously it's easier to criticise - but it's much more beneficial for people to actually try the browsers out for themselves (it is free after all) than to read this kind of poorly conducted "showdown".
  • 11 Hide
    killik , September 30, 2011 6:46 AM
    Even better yet,if you use FF7 with the MemoryFox addon,Firefox simply obliterates the competition.try it for yourself.
Other Comments
  • -5 Hide
    gerchokas , September 30, 2011 4:33 AM
    Well done Mozilla!
    Now they could change their famous icon to a more minimalist/modern style and we're done. Speedy AND classy, just like a fire fox.
  • 10 Hide
    shiftmx112 , September 30, 2011 5:04 AM
    Quote:
    Enjoy it while you can Firefox fans


    Indeed. I have been quite content with FF8 though.
  • 8 Hide
    soccerdocks , September 30, 2011 5:04 AM
    Until another browser beats Chrome in the speed/performance benchmarks I'm sticking with it.
  • 0 Hide
    iam2thecrowe , September 30, 2011 5:19 AM
    im sticking with IE, its perfectly fast enough and stable and why should I have to install another browser when it works perfectly fine?
  • 6 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , September 30, 2011 5:25 AM
    I'm on FF10. :D  Nightly 64-bit!
  • 4 Hide
    compton , September 30, 2011 5:37 AM
    I have to say, I do really like chrome. I stopped using Firefox as much one I tried the chrome beta, and now I use IE9 and chrome all the time. I used opera for a while, but Netflix streaming doesn't work with it, nor do many other sites I use.

    Now that IE is good again, I can't fault anyone for using it in lieu of the others.
  • 21 Hide
    makaveli316 , September 30, 2011 5:48 AM
    "Until another browser beats Chrome in the speed/performance benchmarks I'm sticking with it."

    lol people still think they can feel the difference in terms of speed in real world performance and there's still people that doesn't use a browser for their needs and preferences, but just because they have seen some silly benchmark.
    Ridiculous. I bet those are the same people that are always complaining in the forums about crashes, viruses and blue screens.
  • 11 Hide
    killik , September 30, 2011 6:46 AM
    Even better yet,if you use FF7 with the MemoryFox addon,Firefox simply obliterates the competition.try it for yourself.
  • -3 Hide
    killik , September 30, 2011 6:47 AM
    Even better yet,if you use FF7 with the MemoryFox addon,Firefox simply obliterates the competition in the memory management department.try it for yourself.
  • 7 Hide
    frostmachine , September 30, 2011 7:11 AM
    I noticed firefox will use progressively more memory. Even if it's just refreshing the same pages. I use firefox, opera n chrome, keeping them open 24hr/day. It can go from intial 100mb to over 500mb. I don't see this in the other browsers.
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , September 30, 2011 7:36 AM
    The Encog Silverlight result is wrong. In the graph IE9 comes third with Firefox fourth, but your conclusions are,
    Firefox 7 shows significant improvement over version 6, moving up to third place. As a result, IE9 drops to fourth.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , September 30, 2011 7:41 AM
    How on earth can Firefox be winner in memory manaegment? Chrome and IE are much better....
  • -6 Hide
    buzznut , September 30, 2011 7:53 AM
    Firefox 7 is supposed to be better at memory management but I am still getting the same messages from AVG telling me Firefox is using too much memory. This only started with 6 so I think they still have work to do here. Maybe if they had longer than 6 weeks between versions...
  • 14 Hide
    Anonymous , September 30, 2011 9:30 AM
    This article (as well as the preceding series of articles) is a great example of how amateur journalism can be misleading, or just downright wrong.

    On the surface, everything looks good - the author sets out a methodology, clearly presents the results, and draws conclusions based on them. Unfortunately, in doing so he reveals his severely lacking knowledge of testing methodology, the browsers themselves, as well as how one interprets the results of benchmarks.

    To aggregate across criteria such as "performance" and "standards compliance" (never mind the fact that HTML5 hasn't yet been drawn up), using an arbitrary weighting system, and then conclude that one browser beats other "overall" is nonsensical.

    Nowhere has the author talked about relevance (this is critical) or statistical significance of his tests. I'm sure he put in a lot of effort into the article, and that it was written out of the best of intentions; however, this article remains a jumble of random tests clumsily grouped together. For example, can the author explain to the readers why the removal of SVG fonts in the ACID3 test is important? Should browsers have support for SVG fonts? Should one test for it? If he can't, he's just mechanically running benchmarks that he's found on the internet.

    Obviously it's easier to criticise - but it's much more beneficial for people to actually try the browsers out for themselves (it is free after all) than to read this kind of poorly conducted "showdown".
  • 1 Hide
    lassik , September 30, 2011 10:07 AM
    FF7 was always my favourite, it had the best storyline. :) 
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , September 30, 2011 10:17 AM
    http://blog.mozilla.com/futurereleases/2011/09/30/firefoxbeta8/

    Firefox 8.0 Beta is now available.
  • 7 Hide
    Onus , September 30, 2011 11:16 AM
    Some add-in crash issues in FF a couple months ago forced me to use IE again for a while. Wow, I never realized how many sites had so many ads, and ways to show them! I'm glad FF is more stable again so I can use it once more, although there are still a couple of sites where IE9 is more compatible.
  • -3 Hide
    eddieroolz , September 30, 2011 11:20 AM
    Firefox 7 as the winner of Grand Prix!?! I gotta go check if hell has frozen over right now!

    But on a more serious tone, I honestly thought Chrome had this one again. Looking at the charts my impression was that Firefox never really won anything by significant margins.

    Also, I hope Internet Explorer 10 will arrive soon. My short experience with IE10 under Windows 8 was very pleasant, even better than that of IE9.
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