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Benchmark Analysis

Web Browser Grand Prix VIII: Chrome 16, Firefox 9, And Mac OS X
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In our last installment, Web Browser Grand Prix 7: Firefox 7, Chrome 14, Opera 11.51, we completely dropped the raw placing tables in favor of the analysis tables that more closely reflect the scale of victory. Let's quickly take a moment to go over what these mean.

The analysis tables hold categories for each type of benchmark. For example, Mozilla Dromaeo DOM is represented by the DOM category, while Peacekeeper, the Krakens, and SunSpiders are represented together under the JavaScript category.

Each category has four columns: winner, strong, acceptable, and weak. Winner is obviously the browser that achieves the highest scores for the category. The strong column is for those browsers exhibiting superior performance, but no victory. Acceptable is for browsers that perform neither spectacularly nor poorly, but merely adequately. For tests that measure frame rates, a score near the 30 FPS range gets that browser filed into the acceptable column. The weak column is for browsers that perform poorly or substantially lower than their competitors.

In the event of a complete tie in the analysis tables, we simply go back to the individual benchmarks and look at the raw difference in scores.

The Windows 7-based standings for Chrome 16, Firefox 9, Internet Explorer 9, Opera 11.60, and Safari 5.1.2 are found in the table below.

Windows 7 Analysis Table


Winner
Strong
Acceptable
Weak
Performance Benchmarks
Startup Time, Light
SafariChrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera

Startup Time, Heavy
Internet ExplorerChrome, OperaFirefoxSafari
Page Load Time, Uncached
Chrome
Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, Safari


Page Load Time, Cached
Chrome
Safari
Firefox, Opera
Internet Explorer
JavaScriptChrome
Firefox
Opera
Internet Explorer, Safari
DOMOpera
Chrome, Firefox
Safari
Internet Explorer
CSSSafari
Chrome
Internet Explorer, Opera
Firefox
FlashSafari
Internet Explorer, Opera
Chrome, Firefox

JavaFirefox
Chrome
Internet Explorer, Opera, Safari

SilverlightOpera

Firefox, Internet ExplorerChrome, Safari
HTML5Internet Explorer
Firefox
Chrome, Safari
Opera
HTML5 Hardware AccelerationInternet Explorer
Firefox

Chrome, Opera, Safari
WebGLFirefox

Chrome
Internet Explorer, Opera, Safari
Efficiency Benchmarks
Memory Usage, Light
Internet Explorer
Safari, Opera
Chrome, Firefox

Memory Usage, Heavy
Safari

Chrome, Firefox, Opera
Internet Explorer
Memory Management
Chrome
Internet Explorer
Firefox
Opera, Safari
Reliability Benchmarks
Proper Page Loads
Firefox, Opera
Safari
Chrome
Internet Explorer
Conformance Benchmarks
HTML5
Chrome
Firefox, Opera

Internet Explorer, Safari
JavaScript
Opera
Firefox
Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari


Now let's see how Chrome 16, Firefox 9, Opera 11.60, and Safari 5.1.2 fare on the MacBook Air's native platform of Mac OS X.

Mac OS X (Lion) Analysis Table


Winner
Strong
Acceptable
Weak
Performance Benchmarks
Startup Time, Light
Safari
Firefox
Chrome
Opera
Startup Time, Heavy
Firefox
Opera
Chrome, Safari

Page Load Time, Uncached
Chrome
Firefox
Safari
Opera
Page Load Time, Cached
Safari
Chrome
Firefox, Opera

JavaScriptChrome
Firefox
Safari
Opera
DOMFirefox
Chrome, Safari
Opera

CSSSafari
Chrome
Opera
Firefox
FlashFirefox

Chrome, Opera, Safari

JavaOpera

Safari
Chrome, Firefox
SilverlightSafari


Chrome, Firefox, Opera
HTML5Safari

Chrome, Opera
Firefox
HTML5 Hardware AccelerationSafari


Chrome, Firefox, Opera
WebGL

Chrome, Firefox
Opera, Safari
Efficiency Benchmarks
Memory Usage, Light
Safari

Opera
Firefox, Chrome
Memory Usage, Heavy
Opera
Safari
Firefox
Chrome
Memory Management
Chrome


Firefox, Opera, Safari
Reliability Benchmarks
Proper Page Loads
Opera
Firefox
Chrome, Safari

Conformance Benchmarks
HTML5
Chrome
Firefox, Opera
Safari

JavaScript
Opera
Firefox
Chrome, Safari


Without further ado, let's crown our Web Browser Grand Prix VIII champions.

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Top Comments
  • 21 Hide
    twztechman , January 6, 2012 3:58 AM
    Been using Firefox for years - it works best for me.
  • 10 Hide
    Anonymous , January 6, 2012 5:42 AM
    Nobody else seems to have noticed that this article tries to rate browsers by speed differences that are far less than the blink of an eye. A browser is a tool - just use the ones you want and stop bothering people about their own choices. (I keep two or three loaded on my machine in case one of them has an issue with a particular webpage)
Other Comments
  • 21 Hide
    twztechman , January 6, 2012 3:58 AM
    Been using Firefox for years - it works best for me.
  • -1 Hide
    shiftmx112 , January 6, 2012 4:24 AM
    This makes it worth putting up with the constant updates on Aurora. :) 
  • 9 Hide
    Anonymous , January 6, 2012 4:30 AM
    The best part is I'm quite sure that this is using an out of the box build. Using a PGO compiled nighlty build, with about:config properly configured, and addons like Adblock/NoScript blocking things from ever loading Firefox is significantly faster than these benchmarks state.
  • 2 Hide
    frost_fenix , January 6, 2012 4:40 AM
    I have use firefox and chrome interchangeably for a few years now. I enjoy chromes streamlined design but have recently discovered the noscript addon for Firefox and have since favored Firefox. I have also found Firefox to be more compatable with school webpages and application pages. Still either firefox or chrome is better than IE.
  • 4 Hide
    pharoahhalfdead , January 6, 2012 4:44 AM
    Good point Stoof. I have IE9 and the newest FF, and with the FF add ons, it blows IE out of the water. The majority of IE pages like yahoo video links, boxingscene etc take 6 or more seconds to load, whereas FF is only a fraction of the time.

    I think add ons are much easier to find with FF, and there seems to be a wider variety. Then again I do realize this article wasn't about browsers with add ons.
  • 4 Hide
    hardcore_gamer , January 6, 2012 4:50 AM
    The only one thing I hate about firefox is that it takes a lot of time to launch.
  • 6 Hide
    adamovera , January 6, 2012 5:02 AM
    stoofThe best part is I'm quite sure that this is using an out of the box build. Using a PGO compiled nighlty build, with about:config properly configured, and addons like Adblock/NoScript blocking things from ever loading Firefox is significantly faster than these benchmarks state.

    Yes, we're using everything stock. There is no one-size-fits-all combination of plug-ins to standardize on, and every browser might not have the exact same plugins available. So that throws out a fair comparison between browsers - wouldn't work for the WBGP. Perhaps an article concentrating specifically on Firefox (or another Web browser) with and without various plug-ins would clear that up?
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , January 6, 2012 5:09 AM
    Please use Firefox's latest logo, the one with the shiny orb in Mozilla's press kit! The one they're using now is the old one. http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/brand/identity/
  • -2 Hide
    nevertell , January 6, 2012 5:21 AM
    Chrome is the easiest to use if you've got lots of tabs open. Scrolling through them with mouse is a breeze and tab management is just excellent.
  • -9 Hide
    soccerdocks , January 6, 2012 5:28 AM
    frost_fenix. I enjoy chromes streamlined design but have recently discovered the noscript addon for Firefox and have since favored Firefox.


    Why do people seem to forget Chrome has this built in. All you have to do is go into the options menu and disable JavaScript.
  • 0 Hide
    de5_Roy , January 6, 2012 5:32 AM
    Firefox!!! oh yeah. i use ff and the new one kinda feels snappier. the addons are awesome.
    i know i know, chrome is faster, has market share, ie 9/10 are coming up, blah blah. but ff can still fight. google's benevolent (read: to antitrust-pacifier) fund injection should help ff. besides, chrome is a sneakware bundled with numerous softwares. ff has scriptblockers that block statcounter. :D 
  • 10 Hide
    Anonymous , January 6, 2012 5:42 AM
    Nobody else seems to have noticed that this article tries to rate browsers by speed differences that are far less than the blink of an eye. A browser is a tool - just use the ones you want and stop bothering people about their own choices. (I keep two or three loaded on my machine in case one of them has an issue with a particular webpage)
  • 2 Hide
    adamovera , January 6, 2012 6:04 AM
    Mozilla-fanPlease use Firefox's latest logo, the one with the shiny orb in Mozilla's press kit! The one they're using now is the old one. http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/brand/identity/

    Thanks for the feedback, and good catch. I must have goofed and started making the graphics with an older file when I already had the newer one. Doh! It's all fixed now, and it should update momentarily.
  • -4 Hide
    arcus_doom , January 6, 2012 6:23 AM
    Google Chrome basically sucked after they removed the Side Tabs option.
  • 2 Hide
    arunloveshacking , January 6, 2012 6:24 AM
    Have you ever noticed that Firefox hangs up whenever you switch tabs while attaching a file? Or is it only for me?
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , January 6, 2012 6:30 AM
    Dear Adam, you might want to remove the html5.com test as it represents nothing but a checklist. In no way does it test the correct implementation or functioning of html5 features.
  • 2 Hide
    bodyknight , January 6, 2012 7:16 AM
    I haven't read the name Soyo in a review since a decade ago...
  • 1 Hide
    MCstrick , January 6, 2012 7:52 AM
    nevertellChrome is the easiest to use if you've got lots of tabs open. Scrolling through them with mouse is a breeze and tab management is just excellent.


    Firefox can do the same with tab mix plus. I couldn't live without scrolling though my tabs.
  • 2 Hide
    freggo , January 6, 2012 8:33 AM
    Firefox wins, yet Chrome is #1 in usage.
    Just like VHS vs Beta, NTSC vs PAL or Gasoline vs Electric... just because the public likes something does not mean it is the best solution.
  • 1 Hide
    mayne92 , January 6, 2012 10:00 AM
    Great review Adam...as usual! Awesome work. A good read with my morning coffee! :) 
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