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System Specs, Setup, And Methodology

Web Browser Grand Prix 2: Running The Linux Circuit
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Test System Specs

OS 1
Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Lucid Lynx (64-bit)
OS 2
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), PCIe 1.0
Storage
Western Digital WD2500KS 250 GB SATA 3GB/s, 7200 RPM, 16 MB Cache
Optical
Asus DVD-RW 1814-BLT-BULK-BG
Power Supply
Corsair TX750W (750 W max)


Web Browser Specs

Browser
Version
Chrome
5.0.375.99
Firefox
3.6.6
Opera
10.60


Additional Software

Name
Version
Adobe Flash
10.1 r53
Novell Moonlight
3.0.4018.0
Oracle Java
6.0.18
Nvidia GeForce Drivers
195.36.24


Setup

After Ubuntu was installed, we updated the system with all of the packages recommend by the Update Manager on July 1st, 2010. After the required restart, we installed the latest recommended proprietary Nvidia display driver (in this case, version 195). Firefox came preinstalled on Ubuntu and the Update Manager brought it up to the latest version. Next, we installed Chrome and Opera via the 64-bit .deb files from their respective Web sites.

After the browsers, we installed Flash 10 and Java 6 via the Synaptic Package Manager. After the browsers were installed, we disabled the Chrome and Opera repos via Software Sources to ensure that the Web browsers would not update mid-testing. We ignored all attempts that Update Manager made to update the system during the course of benchmarking. Finally, we switched off all power management and screen saver options.

Methodology

A reboot was performed between each benchmark, per browser. Each time we finished benchmarking a browser, the cache was cleared and the system reset before beginning another benchmark. Most of the benchmarks were run for five iterations per browser, unless specifically mentioned otherwise.

Why Didn't You Test *My* Browser?

I originally wanted to do this article immediately after the first Web Browser Grand Prix. But at that time, the only comparable option available was Firefox. Google had not yet released a stable version of Chrome for Linux, and Opera's version number was several points behind its Windows counterpart. This left me with the idea to do a completely separate Linux browser article using Firefox, Chromium, Epiphany, Konqueror, and SeaMonkey.

Shortly after beginning some preliminary runs to test if the benchmarks worked, I realized that this article was doomed. Chromium updates way too frequently to get current results in an article like this. Epiphany and SeaMonkey wouldn't run several benchmarks at all (different ones, making any comparisons spotty at best). Konqueror seemed to work alright, but Konqueror is always faster in KDE, adding yet another variable with which to contend. Again, this left me with only Firefox for good, complete, and comparable data.

Shortly after Chrome received a stable build for Linux, which brought it up-to-date with Windows, Opera announced that upcoming version 10.60 would be released concurrently across all platforms. The stars aligned for the Linux browser article to fit right in with the timetable of Web Browser Grand Prix 2.

Editorial Leaning

The author currently uses Google Chrome as his primary Web browser with Firefox as his secondary, both on Ubuntu. Bestofmedia uses Mozilla Firefox to interact with their content management system. The OS doesn't matter.

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