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Web Browser Grand Prix Setup

Web Browser Grand Prix 5: Opera 11.50, Firefox 5, And Chrome 12
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Test System Specs

64-bit Desktop Test System
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit)
Processor
Intel Core i5-750 @ 2.8 GHz (Quad Core)
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD7 (F7 BIOS)
Memory
8 GB Crucial DDR3 @ 1333 MT/s (2 x 4 GB)
Graphics
AMD Radeon HD 4870 Reference Board 512 MB GDDR5 (PCEe 2.0)
Storage
Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500 GB SATA 3Gb/s, 7200 RPM
Optical
Asus DRW-241ST/BLK/B/AS
Power Supply
Corsair TX750W (750 W)
Chassis
Zalman MS1000-HS2
CPU Cooler
Scythe Mugen 2 Revision B


Starting with this article, we're adding a battery life benchmark to the WBGP. Obviously, the desktop test system doesn't work for this type of metric, so we pulled out the old first-gen Dell Inspiron Mini 10v for this new test.

32-bit Netbook Test System
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate (32-bit)
Model
Dell Inspiron Mini 10v (first-generation)
Processor
Intel Atom N270 @ 1.6 GHz
Memory
1 GB DDR2-533
Graphics
Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 950
Storage
120 GB HDD 2.5-inch 5400 RPM SATA 3Gb/s


Both our page load time tests and the new Facebook JSGameBench are server/client benchmarks and require a local Web server. For this, we polished up one of our finest old beige boxen, installed Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Server, and connected it to our LAN.

Local Server Specs
Operating System
Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Lucid Lynx Server Edition (32-bit)
Processor
AMD Athlon @ 1150 MHZ
Motherboard
Soyo Dragon Platinum
Memory
512 MB DDR
Graphics
AMD Radeon 9550 256 MB DDR
Storage
40 GB Western Digital HDD WD400BB
Optical
Samsung DVD-ROM SD-616T
Additional Packages
Apache2, MySQL Client, MySQL Server, PHP5, PHP-GD, PHP5-MySQL, PHPMyAdmin, SSH, node.jes, NPM, socket.io


Setup

Before testing, Windows 7 was fully updated to Service Pack 1 on 6/20/11 for the 64-bit desktop test system, and on 6/25/2011 for the 32-bit netbook test system. On both test systems, power management was set to never engage and all Action Center notifications were disabled. The table below lists all the additional software installed onto the test systems, including drivers, plug-ins, and the Web browsers:

Additional Software
Version
AMD Catalyst
11.6
Adobe Flash
10.3.181.26
Microsoft Silverlight
4.0.60531.0
Oracle Java
6.0.260
Apple Safari
5.05 (7533.21.1)
Google Chrome
12.0.742.112
Microsoft Internet Explorer
9.0.8112.16421
Mozilla Firefox
5.0
Opera
11.50 (build 1074)


Methodology

The computer was restarted and allowed to warm-up before benchmarking the next browser. Other than the conformance benchmarks, all of our final scores are an average of several iterations. More iterations were run on tests that have short durations, lower scales, and/or higher variations. The table below lists all of the 37 benchmarks in the current WBGP test suite, along with the number of iterations performed for each test.

Test
Iterations
Performance Benchmarks (27)
Startup Time (1 Tab and 8 Tabs)5
Page Load Time (Google, Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo!, MSN)5
Peacekeeper3
Kraken v1.13
SunSpider v0.9.13
Dromaeo DOM3
Maze Solver3
Flash Benchmark 2008 v1.09.1
3
GUIMark2 Flash (Vector Charting, Bitmap Gaming, Text Columns)
5
GUIMark Java 5 Swing
5
Encog Silverlight Benchmark
5
Facebook JSGameBench v4.1
3
GUIMark2 HTML5 (Vector Charting 1 pixel, Bitmap Gaming, Text Columns)
5
Asteroids HTML5 Canvas And JavaScript 2D
3
Psychedelic Browsing
3
Hardware Acceleration Stress Test
3
Khronos Particles
5
WebGL Aquarium
5
Efficiency Benchmarks (5)
Memory Usage (1 Tab, 40 Tabs)
3
Memory Management (-39 Tabs 5 minutes, -39 Tabs 10 minutes)
3
Battery Life
3
Reliability Benchmarks (1)
Proper Page Loads
3
Conformance Benchmarks (4)
Sputnik v2
1
Acid3
1
CSS3 Selectors Test
1
HTML5Test.com
1


Additional details about a specific benchmark can be found on the corresponding benchmark results page.

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Top Comments
  • 28 Hide
    cadder , July 7, 2011 5:05 AM
    Will you guys please investigate the SECURITY of each browser? I would use the one that is most secure even if it is slowest.
  • 18 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , July 7, 2011 4:54 AM
    Now if just Google would release a 64-bit Chrome browser.
  • 18 Hide
    adampower , July 7, 2011 4:17 AM
    Wow, it seems like I upgrade my browsers every week.
Other Comments
  • 18 Hide
    adampower , July 7, 2011 4:17 AM
    Wow, it seems like I upgrade my browsers every week.
  • -9 Hide
    Anonymous , July 7, 2011 4:23 AM
    somehow it seems that firefox is focussing more on benchmarks rather than actual real world usage.
  • 9 Hide
    Anonymous , July 7, 2011 4:34 AM
    opera keeps impressing me throughout the WBGP
  • 18 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , July 7, 2011 4:54 AM
    Now if just Google would release a 64-bit Chrome browser.
  • 9 Hide
    Tamz_msc , July 7, 2011 4:58 AM
    First of all, this is the most thorough WBGP yet.
    Quote:
    somehow it seems that firefox is focussing more on benchmarks rather than actual real world usage.

    I don't think so - proper page loads and battery life are important considerations.

    I agree that Mozilla did not do a right thing in copying Chrome's release cycle, but at least they're trying - for example, they're trying hard in bringing down memory usage by increasing the garbage collection frequency(check this out in the Aurora and Nightly builds).

    WBGP is basically a test of speed, and Chrome may have won in that, but Firefox is not far behind. I can wait for two or three seconds for my page to load. You can easily bring down the page load times by using addons like AdBlock Plus.

    Even with the faster release cycle, this article clearly states that Firefox is still the most stable browser. Many people say that they've had numerous crashes, but its something wrong with their drivers or OS - I have not had a single crash since FF 4.0 beta 5 (or 7?), when they introduced hardware acceleration for the first time.

    Firefox remains the most customizable browser, while Opera has the most number of features out-of-the-box.

    So overall, according to me Firefox>=Opera>Chrome>IE 9> Safari.
  • 28 Hide
    cadder , July 7, 2011 5:05 AM
    Will you guys please investigate the SECURITY of each browser? I would use the one that is most secure even if it is slowest.
  • 4 Hide
    Tamz_msc , July 7, 2011 5:10 AM
    Quote:
    Will you guys please investigate the SECURITY of each browser? I would use the one that is most secure even if it is slowest.

    That's easy: FF+AdBlock Plus+ NoScript+Ghostery+BrowserProtect
  • -8 Hide
    ChiefTexas_82 , July 7, 2011 5:43 AM
    IE 9 is a speed demon? I droped IE because it started running like ****. I blame loading too many side programs after years on the web. So I wanted to try Chrome or Firefox. Being a Google fan already, I tried Chrome. So far it leaves my old IE8 in the dust. Except for a certain bug, I would say it has been an improvement in almost every way.
  • 2 Hide
    ChiefTexas_82 , July 7, 2011 5:45 AM
    I don't like how Nvidia's GPU auto-detect doesn't work on chrome.
  • -4 Hide
    thartist , July 7, 2011 5:47 AM
    Damn, Opera has it's flaws but it's nonetheless the one that does one thing best: browsing.
  • 9 Hide
    wheredahoodat , July 7, 2011 5:56 AM
    I have personally along others have remained loyal to Firefox for years, but the latest moves have been are puzzling. Despite the benchmarks, they have not addressed bad cold start up problems (test on netbooks not on desktop rigs to find out), and the Firefox 4/5 new javascript engine has been a nightmare memory wise causing many to banish Firefox or remain with version 3.6 on older computers.

    Also instead of prioritizing the electrolysis project which would have made Firefox as snappy as Chrome, they are wasting their time on the Azure graphics project to replace a only few months old Cairo engine for marginal benefit because html 5 is still just the future, with no real significant penetration for the web.

    Mozilla can only push their base so far with their incompetence. Back then there was no real competition or alternative for a big market share, standard compliance browser. However there is now a real alternative with Chrome, and Firefox's gradual but definite market share hemorrhaging has shown that incompetence has consequences.

  • 12 Hide
    beavermml , July 7, 2011 6:00 AM
    which one is the best in term of security out of box?
  • 2 Hide
    akorzan , July 7, 2011 6:05 AM
    On the last page in the table and row "proper page loads," why is Opera in twice and no Safari?
    Surely, this is a typo.
  • 1 Hide
    Maziar , July 7, 2011 6:19 AM
    Thanks for the review,I was waiting for this !
  • 12 Hide
    andy5174 , July 7, 2011 7:28 AM
    No doubt that Chrome is notably faster than Firefox so that I can feel the difference easily. However, Chrome lacks many useful features/add-ons offered by Firefox that I've been using for years. This is the main and only reason that Firefox is still my default browser.
  • 1 Hide
    obarthelemy , July 7, 2011 7:48 AM
    I'm still uncomfortable with those kind of tests. Especially because they don't take into account out-of-the-box features and creature comforts. I have all 4 installed (no Safari), and I find use Opera most, because it does very good Mouse Gestures, tab management, and synch. Without any addons ! I find Addons a very mixed blessing: I had plenty of headaches with FFox's, what with compatibility issues when upgrading FFox, bug and slow/ban/non-existent support... I find that having all required functionnality included in the base browser is a big plus, more-so for non-techies.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , July 7, 2011 8:12 AM
    How can you place Firefox in Memory Usage as strong. This thing is leaking all over the place. Should you review your methodology?
    PS I m an early adopter of FF since 2.0 but I consider switching due to this memory issue.
  • 14 Hide
    johnsmithhatesVLC , July 7, 2011 8:13 AM
    Firefox is the only browser that can block all ads properly. It's also the most reliable at page loading as the WGP has proven. I really don't care about millisecond differences in page loads. Firefox is the best to me.
  • 4 Hide
    lucas1024 , July 7, 2011 8:45 AM
    Thanks for including the reliability test! I had almost convinced myself to switch to Chrome from FF5, because of the memory usage, but not anymore - I do like my pages to load every time and I routinely have 30-40 tabs open.
  • 0 Hide
    neiroatopelcc , July 7, 2011 8:49 AM
    page 3 :
    64-bit Desktop Test System
    Operating System
    Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate (32-bit)
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