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Analysis And Conclusion

Web Browser Grand Prix: The Top Five, Tested And Ranked
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This brings our Web Browser Grand Prix to an end. Some of our findings weren't that shocking, such as Internet Explorer's failure to adhere to Web standards (Acid3). But there were also a ton of interesting notes along the way, like Opera's gluttony for RAM and Safari's strong performance versus much newer versions of the other browsers. I already knew that Firefox was beginning to feel slow, but I didn't know how bad it had become. Safari didn't live up to its boast of being "the world's fastest web browser." Apple's product was beaten by Opera, and owned by Chrome. While Opera came close to living up to its claim of being "the fastest browser on Earth," close just isn't good enough. Google Chrome is the real speed king. The table below tallies the placing of each browser throughout testing.

Chrome was counted as the first-place finisher for the Acid3 test, while Opera and Safari were both tallied as second. Firefox was counted as third. Fourth place was skipped, and Internet Explorer was counted as fifth, due to it's utterly terrible score on that test. The SilverLight test was also a tie. This time, IE and Firefox were both counted as first place finishers. Second was given to Opera and third was skipped. Since Safari received a score almost half that of Opera, it was counted as a fourth-place finish. Chrome was given fifth. We also counted Opera's sketchy first-place finish in the Mozilla Dromaeo JavaScript Test, despite having experienced errors causing it to not complete a portion of the test. If we did not, Chrome would have had an even greater victory.


Chrome
Opera
Safari
Firefox
Internet Explorer
1st
7
7
5
4
2
2nd
9
5
4
5
3
3rd
2
6
12
4
3
4th
4
3
2
10
3
5th
3
4
2
2
14


As you can see, Google Chrome comes out on top. Although it tied with Opera for the most wins by racking up the highest number of second-place finishes, Chrome manages to take the win.

Considering that Safari has gone so long without a major new version, yet still placed so well, we cannot wait to see what's next from One Infinite Loop.

Mozilla, on the other hand, is a different story. Though I do believe that version 3.6 did bring a significant improvement over 3.5.x, it simply wasn't enough to compete. Since Mozilla's latest offering is only a little over one month old, its placing in our Grand Prix is disappointing, to say the least.

This brings us to Internet Explorer, Destroyer of Netscape Navigator. The browser from Redmond finished last no less than fourteen times (more than half of the tests). Internet Explorer's performance here is nothing less than sad.

Now, before someone cries foul about the over-saturation of JavaScript tests, I have also tallied the wins by category. The three startup time tests are counted as one. We've also counted the three memory usage tests as one category. Our five page load time tests, as well as the NonTroppo benchmark are counted just once, too. The table below shows the winners by category.

Category / Test
Overall Winner
Startup Times
Opera
Memory Usage
Firefox
Page Load Times
Firefox
HTML
Safari
CSS
Safari
Tables
Safari
JavaScript
Chrome
PeaceKeeper
Opera
Acid3
Chrome
DOM
Chrome
Flash
Opera
Java
Opera
SilverLight
Firefox / Internet Explorer


This table only displays the winners, rather than the previous table's full placing results. While it may appear that Opera had a better showing than Chrome, it does not reflect how many times that browser was edged out by Chrome when neither placed first. It also does not show that Safari remained smack in the middle throughout or that Firefox had a stranglehold on fourth.

Any way you want to analyze the data, Google's Chrome comes out on top. That's why we're not only calling Chrome the winner of our Web Browser Grand Prix, but we're also awarding it the Best of Tom's Hardware Award--the first time we've given such an honor to a software product. If you haven't yet downloaded Google Chrome, you just don't know what you're missing.

These benchmarks give us a pretty good picture of which browser is the fastest. What these benchmarks do not reveal is the usability (or overall end-user experience) of these browsers. The staggering number of customization options available for Firefox, or the almost constant (and insufferably bothersome) prompting in Internet Explorer are just two examples of what cannot be benchmarked. Security is also a major concern, and something that was not tested for this article. We focused purely on speed and performance, and in those fields, Google Chrome takes the gold...at least in this round of the raging browser wars.

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