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System Specs And Testing Methodology

Web Browser Grand Prix: The Top Five, Tested And Ranked
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Test System Specs

Operating System
Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit)
CPU
AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ @ 2.0 GHz (dual core)
Motherboard
Biostar NF61S-M2 TE
Memory
4GB DDR2 @ 800 MHz (2 x 2GB)
Graphics
Evga Nvidia GeForce GTX 260 (896 MB GDDR3), PCI-E 1.0
Storage
Western Digital Caviar WD400, 40GB EIDE, 7,200 RPM
Optical
Asus DVD-RW 1814-BLT-BULK-BG
Power Supply
Corsair TX750W (750W Max)


Web Browser Specs

Browser
Version
Apple Safari
4.04
Google Chrome
4.0.249.78
Microsoft Internet Explorer
8
Mozilla FireFox
3.6
Opera
10.50


Why Windows?

Anyone who has been following my articles knows I usually work on Linux coverage. I chose Windows as the operating system for this article for three major reasons. First, it's what most of our readers use. Second, it supports native versions of all five major Web browsers. And third, Opera's claim that version 10.50 is "the fastest browser on Earth" was made when they released 10.50 for Windows only (the Mac and Linux clients have yet to be released at time of writing). I chose Windows 7 simply because it is the latest version. I chose the Ultimate edition because it should cover all sub-licenses. And finally, I chose the 64-bit edition because most of our readers probably have newer hardware (and plenty of RAM), thus requiring a 64-bit operating system. If you want a Linux-based browser battle, or a comparison of browser performance across operating systems, speak up in the comments below.

Setup

Once Windows was installed, it was updated before installing the browsers. After the browsers, we installed SilverLight, Flash, and Java. Most of the benchmarks were run for five iterations per browser per test, unless specifically mentioned otherwise.

Methodology

The OS was allowed to “warm-up” before running a new test. Each time we finished a benchmark, the cache was cleared on all browsers and the system reset before beginning a new benchmark.

Editorial Leaning

In the interest of full disclosure, I should go over the history of my own browser usage. I've been running Chrome as my primary browser for several months now. Before that, I was a Firefox user since it's very first release. I'm reluctant to admit that I switched to Internet Explorer for version 3.0, and I suppose it must have been Netscape Navigator before that. I personally haven't used Internet Explorer in ages, and truth be told, I have never actually used Safari before this. I check out Opera just about every time they come out with a new release, but two weeks is probably the longest uninterrupted duration that I have ever seriously used that browser. At Bestofmedia, we use Firefox to interact with our content management system.

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