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JavaScript By The Ton

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

There are almost as many JavaScript benchmarks as there are browsers to benchmark, and we decided to run all of them. Why? Because each browser points to a different benchmark in their marketing efforts. In several cases, the maker of the browser also makes the benchmark. We also like the idea of running all of the benchmarks to... benchmark them. They should all more or less reflect the same results, right?

Google V8

The Google V8 Benchmark Suite is made up of seven individual JavaScript tests, the geometric mean of these tests becomes the V8 Benchmark score. We'd expect this benchmark to favor Chrome, since they are both Google projects. In fact, the reason this benchmark exists is to test Google's JavaScript engine of the same name. We ran the suite five times and averaged the scores. Version 5 of the Google V8 Benchmark Suite was used.

As you can see, the outcome of this test is as expected: Chrome is the winner, with Opera putting forth a good effort in second, Chrome's WebKit cousin Safari came in a distant third, but still far ahead of the other two contenders.

JSBenchmark (CelticKane)

JSBenchmark isn't new; actually it has been around for some time now under it's former name: Celtic Kane. This benchmark takes only seconds to run, and even provides the average of all iterations automatically. We ran JSBenchmark five times.

JSBenchmark delivers nearly the same results as Google's V8 Benchmark, except Safari places higher than Opera to come in second place this time. Chrome still wins by a solid margin and Internet Explorer again takes dead last.

Mozilla Dromaeo Javascript Test

Obviously this is the JavaScript benchmark from Mozilla, the makers of Firefox. Because the Dromaeo JavaScript test returns remarkably close scores, we only needed to do three runs per browser. The average of those three runs becomes the final score. Internet Explorer experienced a lockup during the base 64 encoding and decoding portion of the test. Pausing and immediately re-running the test got it going again. Opera locked up on Regular Expressions in Dromaeo JavaScript, like with IE, a pause and re-run got it going again. Though the test was eventually skipped at about 98% - this occured on all three iterations.

In the Mozilla test we see Opera way out in front. So far, in fact, that I find the result highly dubious, especially considering the errors it experiences. Chrome comes in a distant second with Safari trailing behind in third (but still way ahead of Firefox and Internet Explorer).


SunSpider is the JavaScript test that Apple references for much of its Safari marketing effort. The SunSpider project was originally started by the Apple WebKit team. The results of this benchmark are pretty stable, so we only needed to run this test in three iterations. As usual, the average of the three scores became our final result.

Here, we see Chrome take the win with Opera very close on Google's heels. Safari loses much of its ground to Firefox in this test. IE does what we've come to expect by now, placing a distant fifth.

After reviewing the JavaScript benchmarks, we've decided that Tom's has no choice but to run all of them in the future. While I personally lean toward JSBenchmark, since it isn't affiliated with any browser, its results don't reflect the outcome in Dromaeo. Until the reason for Opera's devastating Mozilla score can be explained, I believe we'll have to run all of them to get the clearest picture. If you disagree, or have an opinion on a better way to benchmark JavaScript, sound off in the comments section below.

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