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Test System Specs And Setup

Web Browser Grand Prix 2: The Top 5 Tested And Ranked
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Test System Specs

OS
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
CPU

AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ @ 2.0 GHz (dual-core)

Motherboard

Biostar NF61S-M2 TE

Memory

4 GB DDR2 @ 800MHz (2 x 2 GB)

Graphics

EVGA Nvidia GeForce GTX 260 (896 MB GDDR3), PCI-E 1.0

Storage

Western Digital WD2500KS 250GB SATA 3 GB/s, 7,200 RPM, 16MB Cache

Optical

Asus DVD-RW 1814-BLT-BULK-BG

Power Supply

Corsair TX750W (750W max)


Web Browser Specs

Browser
Version
Chrome

5.0.375.99

Firefox

3.6.6

Internet Explorer

8.0.7600.16385

Opera

10.60

Safari

5 (7533.16)


Additional Software

Name
Version
Adobe Flash

10.1 r53

Oracle Java

6.0.20

Microsoft Silverlight

4.0.50524.0

Nvidia GeForce Driver

8.17.12.5721


Setup

A clean installation of Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit was performed using the default partitioning scheme. All the available updates as of 6/16/2010 were applied, along with Nvidia driver package 257.21. We then installed the browsers, Flash, Java, and Silverlight. Finally, we switched off all power management and screen saver options, along with notifications. Before actually testing, we disabled automatic updates on browsers with that feature.

Methodology

A reboot was performed between each benchmark, per browser. The OS was allowed to “warm-up” before running a new test. Each time we finished benchmarking a browser, the cache was cleared and the system reset before beginning another benchmark or moving onto another browser. Most of the benchmarks were run for five iterations per browser, unless specifically mentioned otherwise.

Regarding Nontroppo

Thanks to the urging of our readers, we have retired all of the Nontroppo benchmarks from the previous Web Browser Grand Prix due to an incompatibility with WebKit-based browsers, such as Google Chrome and Apple Safari. The final load time reports completion before some of the elements on the page have loaded. This allows Chrome and Safari to illegitimately dominate every single Nontroppo test.

Regarding Internet Explorer

It has already been made clear from our last Grand Prix that Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) cannot really compete with the other top four Web browsers. We included IE8 again not to beat on it further, but to provide a graphic illustration of where the market share leader's performance stands. If IE didn't still dominate the landscape, it would have been removed.

Why not test the Internet Explorer 9 developer preview? Because I don't like to test products still in development. Even when I do, comparing them to stable products is not very informative. I'm sure that IE9 hits some high notes on several benchmarks, but IE9 isn't a finished product. It's not a release candidate or a beta; it's barely at alpha level. At this point, it's a window that houses a file menu and frame to view Web pages. No navigation bar or tabbed browsing. Not even an address bar. Let's face it, if you strip away essentially every bit of functionality from an app, that app will probably run faster. When IE9 is done, we'll be the first to benchmark it. Not before.

Editorial Disclosure

The author currently uses Google Chrome as his primary Web browser and Mozilla Firefox as a secondary. Bestofmedia uses Mozilla Firefox to interact with its Content Management System.

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