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Benchmark Results: Startup Times

Web Browser Grand Prix 7: Firefox 7, Chrome 14, Opera 11.51
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Our startup time tests were completely overhauled for Web Browser Grand Prix 7. We're no longer using live Web sites and a stop watch. The test pages are now hosted on the local Web server along with JSGameBench and the page load time tests. In fact, the new startup time tests are a heavily modified version of our page load time scripts. 

Single Tab

Google.com still serves as our single-tab startup time test page.

Apple Safari takes the lead for single-tab startup time. Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 takes second place, followed by Mozilla Firefox 7 in third. Opera 11.51 pulls into a fourth place finish with Google Chrome 14 coming in last.

This is the first and last time we'll bother with a single-tab startup time using our new timing method. All the scores are at a tenth of a second or less on this test system, which is too fast to matter. You see, what we didn't realize when we were using a stopwatch and looking for visual cues was that the animation of the browser opening actually takes longer to complete than the page load itself! Hopefully, the eight-tab startup test proves to be more meaningful.

Eight Tabs

Since the new startup time tests are based on our page load timers, we decided to use those pages for this initial exercise. The test sites include Google, YouTube, Yahoo!, Amazon, Wikipedia, eBay, Craigslist, and The Huffington Post.

Chrome is the startup time leader when it comes to opening eight tabs, finishing in just over two seconds. Opera takes second place with a time of 2.7 seconds. IE9 places third at just over three seconds, while the new Firefox 7 takes fourth at 4.6 seconds. Safari rounds out the line-up far behind the rest at nearly nine seconds.

The single-tab startup times are so insignificant that they're not even worth counting, so obviously we have to give this one to Google.

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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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