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Performance Benchmarks: Startup Time

Web Browser Grand Prix 5: Opera 11.50, Firefox 5, And Chrome 12
By

Single Tab

The world's most visited Web site, Google.com, served as our test page for the single-tab startup time test.

Google's own browser, Chrome, loads Google.com in about three quarters of a second. IE9 comes in second, still starting in under one second. Firefox 5 comes in third, starting in 1.11 seconds. Opera starts with a single tab in 1.28 seconds to take fourth place. Safari brings up the rear, taking 1.34 seconds to launch and display the Google home page.

Eight Tabs

Opera surges ahead when it comes to opening eight tabs at once, earning first place with a time of just 2.67 seconds. IE9 holds onto second place, taking 3.37 seconds to open its maximum number of startup tabs. Chrome follows closely in third, finishing in 3.54 seconds. Firefox 5 trails behind at just over five and a half seconds. Safari is again in last place, taking nearly six seconds to start with an eight-tab load.

IE9 and Chrome are the winners for overall page load times, but Opera gives us the biggest surprise. Since all of the Web browsers start up in around one second tasked with a single tab, Opera's sub-three-second result for an eight-tab load which has the most significant real-world impact. Firefox 5 and Safari 5.0.5 both demonstrate the poorest showings for eight-tab page load times, taking between five and six seconds.

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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
    adampower , July 7, 2011 4:17 AM
    Wow, it seems like I upgrade my browsers every week.
  • 18 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , July 7, 2011 4:54 AM
    Now if just Google would release a 64-bit Chrome browser.
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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