Web Browser Grand Prix 3: IE9 Enters The Race

Conclusion

Now that we've seen the final results in performance, efficiency, and standards compliance testing, as well as overall placing, let's break down how the Web browsers perform in individual categories.

Category/Test
Winner
Also Strong
Weak
Performance Testing
Startup Times
IE9
Opera

Page Load Times
IE9


JavaScript
Chrome
Opera, IE9
Firefox
Peacekeeper
Chrome
Opera
Firefox
DOM
Opera

Firefox
HTML5
IE9
Opera

Flash
Opera
IE9

Java
Opera
Firefox

Silverlight
Chrome
IE9

Efficiency Testing
Memory Usage (Light Load)
IE9
Chrome, Firefox

Memory Usage (Heavy Load)
Firefox

IE9, Chrome
Memory Management
IE9
Chrome, Firefox
Opera, Safari
Standards Conformance Testing
HTML5
Chrome


CSS3
Firefox, IE9, Opera, Safari

Chrome
JavaScript
IE9


Acid3
Chrome, Opera, Safari

IE9, Firefox


Internet Explorer 9 manages to pull ahead, regardless of whether you look at individual categories or the overall placing. IE9 comes out on top in seven categories, while Opera and Chrome only top five each.

Despite Firefox losing so terribly, the biggest upset in WBGP3 has to be Chrome. Since the release of IE9, Firefox 3.6 is the oldest Web browser here, and it is about to be replaced with the much-anticipated and long overdue Firefox 4. Chrome 10, on the other hand, is only as old as IE9.

IE9 really put the hurt on Chrome. Disciplines like page load times, JavaScript performance, and memory management have traditionally been bastions for Chrome's success. This time, IE9 excelled in all three. Chrome also gives us disappointing results in HTML5 performance, the CSS3 Selectors Test, and it was unable to run Dromaeo DOM.

Opera, though not as terribly battered by IE9 as Chrome, also gives up some ground to Microsoft's newest Web browser. IE9 demonstrates excellent performance in areas where Opera is also strong, such as HTML5 and Flash.

Not only does IE9 manage to beat previous WBGP champions Opera and Chrome with regard to performance, but it also succeeds in strutting its stuff in efficiency and standards compliance. IE9 is the clear winner of Web Browser Grand Prix 3, and we at Tom's Hardware approve of Microsoft Internet Explorer 9.

By beating the stiffest competition (Opera and Chrome) in areas where the competition has historically dominated, Microsoft has made IE a real contender. But with the launch of Mozilla Firefox 4 just over the horizon, the company's arch-nemesis in the browser wars might pose the gravest threat to IE9's WBGP championship.

Follow Adam Overa on Twitter @adamovera.

Create a new thread in the US Reviews comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
244 comments
Comment from the forums
    Your comment
    Top Comments
  • andy5174
    Will there be a " Web Browser Grand Prix 4: Firefox 4 Enters The Race " after Firefox 4's release (22 Mar)?
    20
  • turboflame
    I like how this article was released one day before Firefox 4 is released.
    19
  • Other Comments
  • pirateboy
    I wonder how much microsoft paid tomshardware not to include Firefox 4 RC1
    3
  • cruiseoveride
    Now everyone is going to switch from Chrome to IE?
    1
  • bison88
    Nice comparison Adam. I think people don't give MS credit for IE9 because of their history with web standards and lack of competition with updating their browser since they destroyed Netscape so many years ago. Hopefully they have their head in the game and continue with a somewhat constant update cycle. Currently the transition from IE8 to IE9 was somewhat FireFox'ish with speed instead of waiting for another revision of the OS. The browser definitely surprised me, some quirks here and there that are definitely noticeable and the Chrome/FF influence is obviously present. I wish them luck as the competition heats up.
    0
  • andy5174
    Will there be a " Web Browser Grand Prix 4: Firefox 4 Enters The Race " after Firefox 4's release (22 Mar)?
    20
  • illuminatuz
    i felt the speed once i switched from firefox to chrome and now chrome to IE..
    but there is no mention of any addon/extentions for IE..
    i mean there is no comparision on who's got nice addons and startup time "with" addons.. since users tend to use web browsers with addons knowingly or un-knowingly..
    it would be better if you include those two comparisions as well.. and who takes advantage of GPU and all..
    1
  • winner4455
    Won't take that long for IE to lag behind.
    -2
  • illuminatuz
    winner4455Won't take that long for IE to lag behind.

    lol
    maybe not!!
    and FFS why doesnt that "submit my comment" button not working in IE!! I am using chrome for that ;(
    1
  • turboflame
    I like how this article was released one day before Firefox 4 is released.
    19
  • dimamu15
    duck it, i stick to firefox.
    7
  • Scanlia
    Is there a wrong picture on the efficiency page? The 40tabs graph comes up as GUIMark 2?
    1
  • IzzyCraft
    The 40 Tabs chart is wrong for Efficiency Benchmarks: Memory Usage And Management it shows flash vector charting.

    pirateboyI wonder how much microsoft paid tomshardware not to include Firefox 4 RC1

    Then they would have to include every random nightly build of every browser? Comparing the latest release is fair you'll always get one browser or two that is near a new stable version but that's just how it works.

    winner4455Won't take that long for IE to lag behind.

    depends in Microsoft moves up an update schedule that doesn't just include making the browser more secure and fixing bugs. IE8 was pretty snappy back when it was first out it got old in like 3 months compared to other browsers though.
    1
  • adamovera
    pirateboyI wonder how much microsoft paid tomshardware not to include Firefox 4 RC1

    We only test final products in the WBGP.
    andy5174Will there be a " Web Browser Grand Prix 4: Firefox 4 Enters The Race " after Firefox 4's release (22 Mar)?

    turboflameI like how this article was released one day before Firefox 4 is released.

    Where are ya'll getting a set date from?
    illuminatuzi felt the speed once i switched from firefox to chrome and now chrome to IE..but there is no mention of any addon/extentions for IE.. i mean there is no comparision on who's got nice addons and startup time "with" addons.. since users tend to use web browsers with addons knowingly or un-knowingly..it would be better if you include those two comparisions as well.. and who takes advantage of GPU and all..

    We add/modify tests every time with the WBGP. We're already looking into those suggestions.
    ScanliaIs there a wrong picture on the efficiency page? The 40tabs graph comes up as GUIMark 2?

    Doh! Fixing that now.
    0
  • andy5174
    3
  • molo9000
    Wait a second. Did they really include Safari? Who uses Safari for Windows?
    (I'm assuming they tested the Windows version of Safari, because why would you compare browsers for different systems?)

    I'm sticking with Opera on my Windows machine and Safari on my Mac.
    -2
  • Benihana
    To be honest I did not read this article, because you're using the "latest and greatest" browsers, but somehow jumped a day early and didn't wait for FF4. Maybe you mentioned it in the article, but if not, then was it really so bad to wait an additional 1-2 days to do this?
    4
  • DjEaZy
    ... don't know... but this all is not my experience... why there is no firefox 4.0 RC2 ????
    0
  • jezzarisky
    adamoveraWhere are ya'll getting a set date from?



    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/16/mozilla_ship_firefox_4_22_march/

    Although most websites link to this website, so perhaps it was nothing more than a rumor.
    0
  • andy5174
    Anonymous said:
    Wait a second. Did they really include Safari? Who uses Safari for Windows?
    (I'm assuming they tested the Windows version of Safari, because why would you compare browsers for different systems?)

    I'm sticking with Opera on my Windows machine and Safari on my Mac.

    Opera sucks balls in memory management and lacks handy add-on such as Tab Mix Plus (which is same for Chrome). I would definitely move to Opera if it has these 2 issues fixed.
    0
  • luc2k
    https://wiki.mozilla.org/Firefox/4/Beta

    This article looks like a case of premature e.. something.
    0
  • adamovera
    andy5174http://groups.google.com/group/moz [...] 9e9650b1b3

    On the 16th he said RC1 would become the final code on the 22nd, but they released an RC2 since. I don't believe them anymore. Where is an official announcement or press release? RC1 was supposed to be here in November 2010. WBGP3 was going to feature FF4 at the end of 2010, then again at the end of this Feb. IE9 gave a date, so WBGP3 was made to coincide with its release. IF Firefox 4 launches tomorrow, it's purely coincidental. We stopped holding the WBGP series up for FF4 when MS officially gave their IE9 release date.
    -3