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Hardware And Test Setup

Web Browser Grand Prix VI: Firefox 6, Chrome 13, Mac OS X Lion
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Hardware Setup

Test System Specs
Operating System 1
Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit)
Operating System 2
Apple Mac OS X Lion (64-bit)
Processor
Intel Core i5-750 (Lynnfield) @ 2.8 GHz, Quad-Core
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD7, LGA 1156, P55 Express, F7 BIOS
Memory
8 GB Crucial DDR3 @ 1333 MT/s (2 x 4 GB)
Graphics
AMD Radeon HD 4870 Reference Boards 512 GB GDDR5 (PCI-e 2.0)
Storage
Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500 GB SATA 3Gb/s, 7200 RPM, 16 MB Cache
Optical
Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS
Power Supply
Corsair TX750W (750 Watt Max)
Chassis
Zalman MS1000-HS2
CPU Cooler
Scythe Mugen 2 Revision B


The Windows 7 Test InstallationThe Windows 7 Test InstallationThe OS X Lion Test InstallationThe OS X Lion Test Installation

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


As requested by readers in our previous stories, the table below hosts additional information on the test network.

Network Specs
ISP Service
Cox Premium (28 Mb/s down, 5 Mb/s up)
Modem
Motorola SURFboard SBS101U
Router
Linksys WRT54G2 V1


Hackintosh Setup

The table below lists what we used to get the Lion-based Hackintosh up and running.

Installer
xMove
Bootloader
iBoot
DSDT
GA-P55A-UD7


While these tests are conducted on Mac OS X, this test system is not an Apple-branded Mac. We had to use a different bootloader than what you'd find on a genuine Mac, and real Mac systems use EFI instead of BIOS. Therefore, performance may vary from the same tests conducted on an Apple-branded system.

Also keep in mind that this use of OS X is completely unauthorized, and anyone doing this at home should have no expectations of receiving any help or support from Apple.

Software Setup

Both our Windows 7 Ultimate and Mac OS X Lion installations were freshly installed and fully updated as of midnight on August 15th. Power management and automatic updates were disabled before testing. The Web browsers and additional software, along with the exact version numbers tested, are listed in the table below.

Software
Windows Version
Mac Version
Chrome
13.0.782.215
13.0.782.215
Firefox
6.0
6.0
Internet Explorer
9.0.8112.16421
N/A
Opera
11.50 (1074)
11.50 (1074)
Safari
5.1 (7534.50)
5.1 (7534.48.3)
AMD Driver
8.850.0.0
ATI Radeon HD 4800 series
Adobe Flash
10.3.183.5
10.3.183.5
Microsoft Silverlight
4.0.60531.0
4.0.60531.0
Oracle Java
6.0.260
14.0.3


Test Setup

We restart the computer and allow it to idle for a while before benchmarking the next browser. Other than the conformance benchmarks, all of our final scores are an average of several iterations. More iterations are run on tests that have short durations, lower scales, and/or higher variations.

This time around, we're rating the benchmarks themselves. The tests are placed into one of four groups: core, observation, dated, and quarantine.

Core tests are considered current. These tests are usually trusted industry standards or our own creations, and they make up the core of the WBGP suite. Examples include our own page-load time tests, FutureMark Peacekeeper, and Mozilla Dromaeo DOM.

Tests that are either generally unknown, mostly untested, or just too bleeding-edge are placed under observation. The WebGL tests and Ecma test262 are examples.

Tests classified as dated are either outdated, losing relevance, or otherwise need replacing. We are actively seeking community feedback and contributions regarding alternatives to these benchmarks. Examples of this group include Acid3 and GUIMark Java.

The final group is for quarantined benchmarks. Benchmarks find their way into quarantine by delivering dubious results or by being gamed. Examples include previous suite dropouts Google V8, Dromaeo JavaScript, and now SunSpider as well.

Whenever the results of benchmarks that test the same thing conflict, more weight is given to tests with a better rating when creating the analysis tables.

The table below lists all 41 of the tests currently in our test suite (along with a version number, where applicable), current rating in the Web Browser Grand Prix, and number of iterations performed:

Web Browser Grand Prix Test Suite 6.0
Test Name
Iterations
Rating
Performance Tests (32)
Startup Time: Single Tab
5
Core
Startup Time: Eight Tabs
5
Core
Page Load Time: Google
5
Core
Page Load Time: YouTube
5
Core
Page Load Time: Yahoo!
5
Core
Page Load Time: Amazon
5
Core
Page Load Time: Wikipedia
5
Core
Page Load Time: eBay
5
Core
Page Load Time: craigslist
5
Core
Page Load Time: The Huffington Post
5
Core
Page Load Time: Tom's Hardware
5
Core
Peacekeeper
3
Core
Kraken v1.1
3
Core
SunSpider v0.9.1
3
Quarantine
Dromaeo DOM
3
Core
Maze Solver
5
Core
JSGameBench v4.1
3
Core
Asteroids HTML5 Canvas 2D And JavaScript3
Observation
GUIMark 2 HTML5 Vector Charting (1 pixel variant)5
Core
GUIMark 2 HTML5 Bitmap Gaming5
Core
GUIMark 2 HTML5 Text Columns5
Core
Psychedelic Browsing
3
Core
Hardware Acceleration Stress Test
3
Dated
WebGL FishIE
5
Observation
WebGL Solar System
5
Observation
ThoughtsInComputation Particles
5
Observation
GUIMark2 Flash Vector Charting
5
Core
GUIMark2 Flash Bitmap Gaming
5
Core
GUIMark2 Flash Text Columns
5
Core
Flash Benchmark 2008
3
Core
GUIMark Java
5
Dated
Encog Silverlight
5
Dated
Efficiency Benchmarks (4)
Memory Usage: Single Tab
3
Core
Memory Usage: 40 Tabs
3
Core
Memory Management: -39 Tabs
3
Core
Memory Management: -39 Tabs (extra 5 minutes)
3
Core
Reliability Benchmarks (1)
Proper Page Loads
3
Core
Conformance Benchmarks (4)
HTML5Test.com
1
Core
CSS3 Selectors Test
1
Core
Ecma test262
1
Observation
Acid3
1
Dated


You've seen the lineup and toured the track. Now it's off to the races.

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