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Hardware Acceleration Performance

Which Web Browser Is Best Under Windows 8?
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Hardware Acceleration Composite

Hardware acceleration encompasses both native HTML5 hardware acceleration as well as WebGL. Our hardware acceleration composite is the geometric mean of the results from JSGameBench, WebVizBench, Psychedelic Browsing, WebGL FishIE Tank, and WebGL Solar System.

Firefox takes the lead in both versions of Windows, followed by IE10 in Windows 8 and Chrome in Windows 7. Chrome 23 places third in Microsoft's new OS, as IE9 takes that spot under Windows 7. Opera 12.10 places last on both platforms, though it does six times better in Windows 8 than it did on Windows 7. All four Web browsers, even Opera, receive a massive boost to HWA performance under Microsoft's new OS.

Facebook JSGameBench

JSGameBench is our only benchmark that measures both HTML5 HWA and WebGL performance.

Firefox 16 takes the lead for both versions of Windows in this combined HWA test. Chrome lands in second place on both OSes, followed by Internet Explorer, with both browsers exhibiting far stronger results in Windows 8. Opera takes last place and bucks the trend, earning a higher score in Microsoft's older version of Windows 7.

HTML5 Hardware Acceleration

The HTML5 HWA composite score is derived from the geometric mean of the WebVizBench and Psychedelic Browsing results.

IE10 takes the lead in HTML5 HWA under Windows 8, while IE9 does the same for Windows 7. Chrome places second in Windows 8, while Firefox takes the number-two spot in Windows 7. Third place is the reverse order. Opera again comes in last place, but with version 12.10 arriving sans HWA, this is no surprise.

Drill Down

The charts below contain the individual results of our two HTML5 HWA benchmarks: WebVizBench and Psychedelic Browsing.

WebVizBenchWebVizBenchPsychedelic BrowsingPsychedelic Browsing

Unlike the other contenders, which either show higher results in Windows 8 or equal results on the two OSes, Firefox displays an affinity for Windows 7 over Windows 8.

WebGL

The WebGL composite score is the geometric mean of our two WebGL tests: WebGL FishIE Tank and WebGL Solar System.

Chrome and Firefox are still the only two browsers to have WebGL turned on by default. Firefox takes the lead in both operating systems, thoroughly beating Chrome in Microsoft's newer OS. Oddly enough, Chrome shows much stronger in Windows 7 than Windows 8.

Drill Down

The charts below are for Chrome Experiments WebGL Solar System and Mozilla's WebGL FishIE Tank.

WebGL Solar SystemWebGL Solar SystemWebGL FishIE TankWebGL FishIE Tank

Both browsers exhibit better performance under the older version of Windows in Chrome Experiments WebGL Solar System, much more so in the case of Chrome. Chrome and Firefox finally max out the WebGL FishIE Tank test at 60 frames per second, displaying the maximum of 10 000 fish on-screen. Therefore, we're retiring this test from future editions of the Web Browser Grand Prix.

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  • 16 Hide
    jupiter optimus maximus , November 19, 2012 4:37 AM
    Quote:
    And we're also passing the torch from Windows 7 to Windows 8.

    We are going to miss you on Web Browser Grand Prix, Windows 7
  • 12 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , November 19, 2012 3:59 AM
    Any technical reason why browser performs generally better in Win8 ? Even the 'WHQL' drivers from Nvidia and AMD arent quite mature for Win8.
    Games and applications did not show any improvement in Win8 over Win7.
  • 11 Hide
    randomizer , November 19, 2012 7:08 AM
    mayankleoboy11. IMHO, enabling these settings would have made Opera more competitive and this article fairer.


    Running every browser with its default configuration except one is not a fair test.
Other Comments
  • -8 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , November 19, 2012 3:57 AM
    1. Did you ensure that Opera has Hardware acceleration and WebGL enabled in about:config ? AFAIk, Opera does not enable HWA by default.

    2. I find the over-reliance on "Internet Explorer Test drive" benchmarks disturbing. Most use code that is inefficient and not used anywhere else on the web, making it quite theoretical.

    3. +1 for using Google Octane benchmark. Both google and mozilla agree that this is a good real-world benchmark.

    4. Addition of the "Maze solver" benchmark is disappointing.

    5. Why remove the subjective smoothness ? 95% of the time, subjective smoothness is what lures a person to use a specific browser. People use a browser, not run benchmarks on it all day. Subjectively, no browser can beat Google Chrome. Then comes Opera , Firefox and far lastly, IE10.
  • 12 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , November 19, 2012 3:59 AM
    Any technical reason why browser performs generally better in Win8 ? Even the 'WHQL' drivers from Nvidia and AMD arent quite mature for Win8.
    Games and applications did not show any improvement in Win8 over Win7.
  • 10 Hide
    adamovera , November 19, 2012 4:23 AM
    mayankleoboy11. Did you ensure that Opera has Hardware acceleration and WebGL enabled in about:config ? AFAIk, Opera does not enable HWA by default.2. I find the over-reliance on "Internet Explorer Test drive" benchmarks disturbing. Most use code that is inefficient and not used anywhere else on the web, making it quite theoretical.3. +1 for using Google Octane benchmark. Both google and mozilla agree that this is a good real-world benchmark.4. Addition of the "Maze solver" benchmark is disappointing.5. Why remove the subjective smoothness ? 95% of the time, subjective smoothness is what lures a person to use a specific browser. People use a browser, not run benchmarks on it all day. Subjectively, no browser can beat Google Chrome. Then comes Opera , Firefox and far lastly, IE10.

    1) We use fresh installs at default settings; Opera does not enable HWA by default.
    2) The only IETestDrive tests we use are Psychedelic Browsing and Maze Solver, and IE regularly loses to competitors on both.
    3) Octane was not used because it had issues with IE9 and Opera 12.10.
    4) We definitely need a new CSS test, but the only other options are outdated or on IETestDrive - unfortunately, Kaizoumark doesn't work with IE10.
    5) It's really difficult to see that kind of stuff on a modern test system, but I will say that Chrome and IE10 are about equal in that department, with Firefox and Opera noticeably more choppy right at the beginning of the 40-tab load.
  • 7 Hide
    adamovera , November 19, 2012 4:34 AM
    mayankleoboy1Any technical reason why browser performs generally better in Win8 ? Even the 'WHQL' drivers from Nvidia and AMD arent quite mature for Win8.Games and applications did not show any improvement in Win8 over Win7.

    Not sure, the Nvidia drivers used were the same version on both OSes.
  • 16 Hide
    jupiter optimus maximus , November 19, 2012 4:37 AM
    Quote:
    And we're also passing the torch from Windows 7 to Windows 8.

    We are going to miss you on Web Browser Grand Prix, Windows 7
  • 2 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , November 19, 2012 4:44 AM
    Quote:
    1) We use fresh installs at default settings; Opera does not enable HWA by default.
    2) The only IETestDrive tests we use are Psychedelic Browsing and Maze Solver, and IE regularly loses to competitors on both.
    3) Octane was not used because it had issues with IE9 and Opera 12.10.
    4) We definitely need a new CSS test, but the only other options are outdated or on IETestDrive - unfortunately, Kaizoumark doesn't work with IE10.
    5) It's really difficult to see that kind of stuff on a modern test system, but I will say that Chrome and IE10 are about equal in that department, with Firefox and Opera noticeably more choppy right at the beginning of the 40-tab load.



    1. IMHO, enabling these settings would have made Opera more competitive and this article fairer.

    3. Whoops, misread that. But this is a good benchmark. Robohornet and robohornet pro are complete jokes.
    4. Just exclude the maze solver. Its bad coding, as any web developer can tell you.
    5. Thats exactly what i'm saying. This needs to be factored in the overall score. You want the browser UI to always remain smooth. UI choppiness is unacceptable and sloppy coding. We are not living in the 90's anymore.


    The one thing i dislike in Chrome is the memory bloat when opening many tabs. In the 40tab test, FF uses 600 MB. Chrome uses 1600MB :o . That is probably an iverhead of using separate processes for each tab. That is excellent for smoothness and UI fluidity. But shameful for memory consumption. I guess devs need to find a middle path.
  • 5 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , November 19, 2012 4:57 AM
    Both 'mozilla kraken' and 'Google sunspider' benchmarks need to be retired . They are old, and all the major browsers have optimizations to score better on them.
    Plus, they heavily test features that are not used anywhere else on teh web.

    Example : Sunspider makes a billion manipulations to the the "date" variable. Mozilla did not have any optimization for this. So it scored poorly on Sunspider. After numerous 'review sites' started using sunspider to test FF Vs Chrome, mozilla developers had to reluctantly add the same optimisation (which is basically a separate buffer to store the date). Of course, nowhere on the web is the date variable used in this manner. So its optimization for an artificial test.
  • 1 Hide
    wilem_WAR246810 , November 19, 2012 5:15 AM
    "The King Is Dead, Long Live The King!" am I the only one who thought of Megadeth?
  • 3 Hide
    deepblue08 , November 19, 2012 5:18 AM
    mayankleoboy1Any technical reason why browser performs generally better in Win8 ? Even the 'WHQL' drivers from Nvidia and AMD arent quite mature for Win8.Games and applications did not show any improvement in Win8 over Win7.


    As far as I heard there are significant under-the-hood improvements in Win8, in terms of memory efficiency and multi-core usage.
  • 4 Hide
    epileptic , November 19, 2012 5:38 AM
    Is it Opera x64 or x86? I remember having tested Opera 12 and the startup was very slow. I'm still using 11.64 atm. The only thing keeping me from moving to Firefox is how sluggish the UI feels... I'd also have to find a new mail client. :/ 
  • 2 Hide
    adamovera , November 19, 2012 5:44 AM
    mayankleoboy11. IMHO, enabling these settings would have made Opera more competitive and this article fairer.3. Whoops, misread that. But this is a good benchmark. Robohornet and robohornet pro are complete jokes.4. Just exclude the maze solver. Its bad coding, as any web developer can tell you.5. Thats exactly what i'm saying. This needs to be factored in the overall score. You want the browser UI to always remain smooth. UI choppiness is unacceptable and sloppy coding. We are not living in the 90's anymore. The one thing i dislike in Chrome is the memory bloat when opening many tabs. In the 40tab test, FF uses 600 MB. Chrome uses 1600MB . That is probably an iverhead of using separate processes for each tab. That is excellent for smoothness and UI fluidity. But shameful for memory consumption. I guess devs need to find a middle path.

    Chrome scales quite nicely to the available memory, it doesn't need the 1.6 GB to display all those tabs, it just uses that much on a system with tons of spare memory. We saw that Chrome can get by with just 450 MB on an XP-based beige box with only 768 MB total system memory.
  • 6 Hide
    adamovera , November 19, 2012 5:47 AM
    wilem_WAR246810"The King Is Dead, Long Live The King!" am I the only one who thought of Megadeth?

    LOL, there's a good chance that Megadeth was playing in a YouTube tab while I was doing the final layout for this article.
  • 2 Hide
    adamovera , November 19, 2012 5:50 AM
    epilepticIs it Opera x64 or x86? I remember having tested Opera 12 and the startup was very slow. I'm still using 11.64 atm. The only thing keeping me from moving to Firefox is how sluggish the UI feels... I'd also have to find a new mail client.

    32-bit, they're all 32-bit.
  • 11 Hide
    randomizer , November 19, 2012 7:08 AM
    mayankleoboy11. IMHO, enabling these settings would have made Opera more competitive and this article fairer.


    Running every browser with its default configuration except one is not a fair test.
  • 2 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , November 19, 2012 7:09 AM
    adamovera32-bit, they're all 32-bit.

    Yes and this is unfortunate. We need more competition in the 64-bit browsing world. I currently use Waterfox. It's only other competition (that I'm aware of) is IE 64-bit.
  • 0 Hide
    stairmand , November 19, 2012 7:18 AM
    Would have been nice to include some fatures, the Pinch to Zoom on IE 10 makes that a winner for multi-touch ebnabled systems on its own.
  • 0 Hide
    assafbt , November 19, 2012 7:26 AM
    Ok, perhaps I missed something about the new composite scoring, but what I am always interested in is solely which browser has the least weak performances & behaviors, not really interested in who is good or best. With the new scoring we went back quite a bit, or am I missing something?
  • 4 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , November 19, 2012 7:32 AM
    JOSHSKORNYes and this is unfortunate. We need more competition in the 64-bit browsing world. I currently use Waterfox. It's only other competition (that I'm aware of) is IE 64-bit.


    In most of these 'benchmarks', which basically run a few tight loops a gazillion times, 64 bit browsers will perform worse than 32 bit.
    Plus, Visual Studio 2010, on which all these browsers are compiled, does not many of the performance optimisations for 64 bit code.
  • 3 Hide
    Cryio , November 19, 2012 9:12 AM
    adamovera32-bit, they're all 32-bit.


    False, IE10 RTM on Windows 8 x64 is a 64 bit browser.
  • 2 Hide
    Cryio , November 19, 2012 9:13 AM
    mayankleoboy1In most of these 'benchmarks', which basically run a few tight loops a gazillion times, 64 bit browsers will perform worse than 32 bit. Plus, Visual Studio 2010, on which all these browsers are compiled, does not many of the performance optimisations for 64 bit code.


    Well, hopefully things change now with the release of Visual Studio 2012.
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