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

Performance Benchmarks: HTML5

JSGameBench

The placing in Windows 7 remains the same as what we saw in WBGP5. Mozilla Firefox again demolishes the competition in the Facebook JSGameBench test, retaining first place. IE9 also holds onto its solid second-place finish. Chrome lands in a distant third, with Safari and Opera even further behind in fourth and fifth (respectively).

In OS X, there is no Internet Explorer. Also, Chrome and Firefox for Mac lack HTML5 hardware acceleration. But Safari includes it, making it the winner, as well as the only viable HTML5 hardware-accelerated option for Mac OS X. Chrome 13 finishes a distant second, followed by Firefox 6. Opera, the only Web browser with absolutely no HTML5 hardware acceleration support, predictably ends up in last place.

GUIMark 2 HTML5

The chart below shows how each of the five Web browsers performs in the three GUIMark2 HTML tests running in Window 7.

This chart has the same data, but for the four Mac OS X Lion browsers.

The final chart is our cross-platform composite score, achieved by averaging the results of the three GUIMark2 HTML5 tests.

The Windows 7 placing in the GUIMark2 composite score remains mostly the same as what we saw in WBGP5. Firefox 6 is again the Windows 7 winner, followed by IE9 at two frames per second. Chrome 13 is still in third place, 10 FPS behind the leader. This time, Safari 5.1 is barely ahead of Opera in fourth place, both at just over 30 FPS.

Safari on OS X earns the highest score in our competition, archiving just under 50 FPS. Firefox 6 coasts into second place at over 32 FPS, while Opera steals third with just under 30 FPS. Chrome 13 places last on OS X, barely over 26 FPS.

Asteroids HTML5 Canvas 2D

On Windows, Internet Explorer 9 remains top dog in the Asteroids HTML5 Canvas 2D benchmark. Safari 5.1 offers a marked improvement over 5.05 in this test, moving from fourth all the way up to second place. Google's browser falls close behind Apple's in third, while Opera trails in fourth, and Firefox 6 brings up the rear with a more pitiful sub-30 FPS score. 

Once again, the highest score in this benchmark occurs on OS X. Safari 5.1 obliterates the other Web browsers, earning just shy of 80 FPS. Second place on OS X goes to Opera 11.50, with 36 FPS. Third place goes to Chrome with 33 FPS, while Firefox 6 again comes up short at 22 FPS. 

Safari running on OS X really gives Firefox and IE9 on Windows 7 a run for their money with regard to HTML5 performance.

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  • ne0nguy
    The first chart says "higher is better" for the load time
    5
  • adamovera
    ne0nguyThe first chart says "higher is better" for the load time

    thank you, workin' on it
    2
  • SteelCity1981
    Chrome is the best browser out there right now. While FireFox maybe more popular then Chrome is, Chrome has shown why it is the best browser out today. If you haven't used Chrome yet it's def worth a look.
    8
  • soccerdocks
    The reader function in safari actually looks really nice. Although I'd never use Safari on principle. I hope other browsers implement a similar function.
    0
  • mayankleoboy1
    why does firefox(6/8/9) performa so horribly on the IE9 maze solover test?
    chrome13 completely obliterats it.

    and firefox 8/9 are still a memory hog.
    not really surprised by poor show of ie9. moat updates it gets are "security updates".
    0
  • tofu2go
    Being on a Macbook with only 3GB of memory, memory is the most important factor for me. I open a LOT of tabs and I keep them open for long periods. For awhile I used Chrome, but recently switched to Firefox 6 and saw my memory utilization drop by well over 1GB. Granted with Firefox I was able to do something I am not able to do in any other browser, I could group my tabs into tab groups. I believe this allows for more efficient memory management, i.e. only the current group uses much memory. Not having done any tests, this is pure speculation. All I know is that I'm seeing MUCH lower memory usage with Firefox on OSX. Despite what this article would suggest.
    -5
  • Anonymous
    @soccerdocks

    Yeah? And exactly what principle would that be?
    2
  • andy5174
    @Google:
    Bring back the Google Dictionary, otherwise I will use Bing Search, Firefox and Facebook instead of Google Search, Chrome and G+.
    -7
  • kartu
    Quote:
    Firefox 6 comes in third for both OSes, representing a major drop from Firefox 5.

    According to the graphic on "Reliability Benchmarks: Proper Page Loads" on MacOS Firefox is actually second, not third.
    0
  • LaloFG
    I keep Opera, more memory used and time to load pages is nothing when it load pages correctly; and the feeling in its interface is the greater.
    2
  • noob2222
    while these articles are entertaining, giving straight points skews the results a bit IMO. I think it would give more insight to give percentages in the analysis tables rather than just ranking them. After all, giving 1 pt for 5% better result out of the 5 is 20%, kinda throws off actual performance.
    0
  • adamovera
    kartuAccording to the graphic on "Reliability Benchmarks: Proper Page Loads" on MacOS Firefox is actually second, not third.

    thank you, workin' on it
    1
  • Anonymous
    On OSX browser 'vendors' are denied access to certain os hooks that would make their browsers better than they are.
    7
  • yankeeDDL
    Nice overview: thank you.
    These "browser" GP are getting more and more complete and the're always very interesting.
    I have to say, I am a bit surprised to see FF being so close to Chrome now: kudos to Mozilla.
    I have been using FF since 1.0 and only recently coupled it with Chrome (it is just convenient for me to have 2 completely different setups).
    FF 7.0 should have a significant boost in memory efficiency: if everything else stays the same, we´ll have a new champion ...
    But if anythin is clear from these reviews, is that nothing stays the same for very long in the browser´s domain (well, except IE).
    Looking forward to GP7, whenever that will be.
    1
  • Anonymous
    Adam, you should have mentioned in the end that even if Safari won on OSX, the victory is a pyrrhic one as OSX lacks in Java and Silverlight plugin performance; OSX Lion is also very poor at system memory management and reliability.

    You should've put more emphasis on the actual scores and performances in tests rather than count the times when certain browsers placed 1st. Thus a browser that had a small advantage in more and minor tests and at the same time severe handicaps in more important but fewer tests would seem better, when technically it is not. Suggestion: tie all the candidates when the differences between them in a certain test are less than a single digit percent. Good article anyway.
    5
  • cookoy
    Quote:
    Mac OS X is capable of providing better results than Windows 7 in Flash, HTML5, WebGL, and the ever-important page load times.


    And to think Apple hates Flash...
    9
  • damasvara
    Tried Chrome, but somehow it doesn't behave the way I wanted. Browsing pages is faster with Firefox on 384 kbps internet. Makes me wonder...
    0
  • adamovera
    noob2222while these articles are entertaining, giving straight points skews the results a bit IMO. I think it would give more insight to give percentages in the analysis tables rather than just ranking them. After all, giving 1 pt for 5% better result out of the 5 is 20%, kinda throws off actual performance.

    There are no points in the analysis tables. They simply list how each browser rates per category of testing. The 'Strong' part of the table was added a long time ago and it basically means that it's right up there with the winner in terms of performance. When we get a solid point-based scoring system figured out 'Winner' will only receive a minor boost above 'Strong', whereas 'Strong' will receive a significant boost above 'Acceptable', and 'Acceptable' above 'Weak'. We're not there yet, but we're getting closer with every WBGP. The composite tests are a BIG step in that direction, and the new benchmark rankings further lay the groundwork for a fair scoring system which accurately reflects scale.
    0
  • adamovera
    tgreaderAdam, you should have mentioned in the end that even if Safari won on OSX, the victory is a pyrrhic one as OSX lacks in Java and Silverlight plugin performance; OSX Lion is also very poor at system memory management and reliability.You should've put more emphasis on the actual scores and performances in tests rather than count the times when certain browsers placed 1st. Thus a browser that had a small advantage in more and minor tests and at the same time severe handicaps in more important but fewer tests would seem better, when technically it is not. Suggestion: tie all the candidates when the differences between them in a certain test are less than a single digit percent. Good article anyway.

    The analysis tables were created to balance the raw placing tables. The problem with what you're saying is that you would have to decide which categories are more important than others. Is JavaScript more important than CSS? Is HTML5 more important than Flash? This is going to depend on who you ask. People who only watch Netflix with an HTPC will put mega emphasis on Silverlight perf, whereas the chronic YouTuber will be more concerned with Flash, and devs are going to gravitate towards standards conformance. Ranking benchmarks based on the importance of what they test isn't a one-size-fits-all type of thing with Web browsers. As far as your other suggestion, dealing with practical ties, this is something we definitely want to look into moving forward. Thanks!
    0
  • Anonymous
    I had to switch to Chrome, FF was crashing like crazy here, and i only have Firebug add-on installed.
    0