Web Browser Grand Prix: Chrome 20, Opera 12, Firefox 13

Test Analysis

Finishes

Each category of testing has four columns: Winner, Strong, Average, and Weak. The Winner is obviously the browser that achieves the highest scores in that category. The Strong column is for browsers exhibiting superior performance, but not achieving a first-place victory. Average is for browsers that perform adequately or in-line with a majority of their competitors. A Weak finish is assigned to browsers that perform poorly, or substantially lower than their competitors.

Brackets

In order to reflect how each category of testing affects the average end-user Web browsing experience, we need to create brackets (or levels of importance) to place the different categories of testing into.

Essential
CSS, DOM, JavaScript, Reliability, Standards Conformance
Important
Flash, HTML5, Memory Efficiency, Page Load Time, Responsiveness, Security, Startup Time
Nonessential
Java, Silverlight
Unimportant
HTML5 Hardware Acceleration, WebGL


The Essential bracket contains those categories of testing that are indispensable to rendering the vast majority of Web pages online today. The Important bracket is for categories not quite essential to browsing the Web, yet still affect the user experience to a great degree. The Nonessential bracket contains the popular plug-ins Java and Silverlight. While these plug-in technologies are nowhere near as ubiquitous as Flash, certain applications like corporate intranet apps and Netflix simply will not work without them. Finally, the Unimportant bracket is for emerging technologies, such as HTML5 Hardware Acceleration and WebGL, which still don't really exist outside of testing/demo sites.

Points

Now that the brackets are all sorted out, we can apply a numerical point system to the finishes of each bracket.


Winner
Strong
Average
Weak
Essential
2.5
2
1.5
-2
Important
2
1.5
1
-1.5
Nonessential
1.5
1
0.5
-1
Unimportant
1
0.5
0
-0.5


As you can see, we decided to apply negative point values to the Weak finishes and start the Average performances at zero for the Unimportant bracket. The Winner has also been de-emphasized over Strong finishes, with just a small tie-breaking bonus going to Winner.

Analysis Table


Winner
Strong
Average
Weak
Essential
CSS
Safari
Chrome
Internet Explorer, Opera
Firefox
DOM
Safari
Chrome, Internet Explorer
Firefox, Opera

JavaScript
Chrome
Firefox
Opera
Internet Explorer, Safari
Reliability
Opera

Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari
Chrome
Standards Conformance
Chrome
Firefox, Opera

Internet Explorer, Safari
Important
Flash
Safari
Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera
Chrome

HTML5
Internet Explorer
Firefox, Chrome
Opera, Safari

Memory Efficiency
Chrome
Internet Explorer, Firefox

Opera, Safari
Page Load Time
Internet Explorer
Chrome, Firefox, Safari
Opera
Responsiveness
Opera
Firefox
Chrome, Safari
Internet Explorer
Security
Chrome

Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari
Opera
Startup Time
Opera
Chrome, Firefox
Internet Explorer
Safari
Nonessential
Java
Opera
Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer
Safari
Silverlight
Opera
Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari


Unimportant
HTML5 Hardware Acceleration
Internet Explorer
Firefox
Chrome
Opera, Safari
WebGL
Firefox
Chrome

Internet Explorer, Opera, Safari


And the winner is...

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    Top Comments
  • mayankleoboy1
    1.what the benchmarks dont show is that in Firefox , if a tab has a heavy page with a lot of CPU intensive workload, the complete browser UI starts stuttering. That means the browser UI is on the same thread as the page loading.

    2. in the 40 tab test, try working in a tab during the loading of the 40 tabs. you will find lots of difference between browsers. FF hangs, Opera and Chrome remain fluid.

    3. how about a test where a browser is using 1GB+ RAM and you are trying to open/close tabs. Then see the UI responsiveness. most browsers can easily handle 800MB RAM. but which browser easily handles 1.2GB+ RAM ?
    24
  • mayankleoboy1
    How many firefox users dont use ADblockPlus ? very very less.Also ABP developer is a regular contributor to the Firefox source code.
    maybe you should do a few memory benchmarks with ABP installed just to realistically judge what 99.99% of FF users go through.
    22
  • ben850
    WTF Chrome is already on 20?? It ninja updated to 19 just a few days ago..
    21
  • Other Comments
  • mayankleoboy1
    1.what the benchmarks dont show is that in Firefox , if a tab has a heavy page with a lot of CPU intensive workload, the complete browser UI starts stuttering. That means the browser UI is on the same thread as the page loading.

    2. in the 40 tab test, try working in a tab during the loading of the 40 tabs. you will find lots of difference between browsers. FF hangs, Opera and Chrome remain fluid.

    3. how about a test where a browser is using 1GB+ RAM and you are trying to open/close tabs. Then see the UI responsiveness. most browsers can easily handle 800MB RAM. but which browser easily handles 1.2GB+ RAM ?
    24
  • mayankleoboy1
    IE9 does so good on HTML5 HWA accelerated benchmarks because its able to offload more of the processing to the GPU.

    i tested this and found that during a HTML5 benchmark, IE9 had the least CPU usage, and most GPU usage amongst all the browsers.
    13
  • mayankleoboy1
    How many firefox users dont use ADblockPlus ? very very less.Also ABP developer is a regular contributor to the Firefox source code.
    maybe you should do a few memory benchmarks with ABP installed just to realistically judge what 99.99% of FF users go through.
    22
  • ben850
    WTF Chrome is already on 20?? It ninja updated to 19 just a few days ago..
    21
  • lethalsam
    i won't ever use a browser a browser WITHOUT AD BLOCK Plus. (ABP)

    ABP works wonderful on Firefox, i RARELY see any ad. While I have used ABP on Chrome BUT its doesn't block half the ads.
    I know its Not Google's fault, its just that ABP developers are putting more effort with Firefox.

    So for me, Firefox > Chrome.
    20
  • adamovera
    @mayankleoboy1: 1+2) Interesting, I'll be looking for that next time 3) That would require a different workload for each browser.
    IE9 does so good on HTML5 HWA accelerated benchmarks because its able to offload more of the processing to the GPU. i tested this and found that during a HTML5 benchmark, IE9 had the least CPU usage, and most GPU usage amongst all the browsers.

    Really interesting, what utility do you use for measuring GPU usage?
    How many firefox users dont use ADblockPlus ? very very less.Also ABP developer is a regular contributor to the Firefox source code.maybe you should do a few memory benchmarks with ABP installed just to realistically judge what 99.99% of FF users go through.

    I'd estimate ABP usage on FF at around 5% or less based on ABP and FF usage statistics. Besides, that would give FF an unfair advantage.
    9
  • mayankleoboy1
    Quote:
    Really interesting, what utility do you use for measuring GPU usage?


    MSI afterburner for GPU. windows task manager for CPU.

    Quote:
    @mayankleoboy1: 1+2) Interesting, I'll be looking for that next time


    i sent a mail regarding this to Chris. but maybe i sent it too late for this article...
    6
  • mayankleoboy1
    if you open multiple tabs together in chrome, it can use each CPU core for each tab. so if you have a quad core, and you open 4+ tabs together, the CPU usage will be 100% (using all 4 cores) during the tab loading time.
    but if you run 4 instance of dromaeo in 4 tabs, the CPU usage is still 25% (using only 1 core).
    so chrome is not completely multiprocessing.

    in IE10 beta, if you run 4 instances of dromaeo benchmark in 4 tabs, it uses all the for cores. so we can expect better multiprocessing from IE10 and win8 :)
    6
  • adamovera
    @mayankleoboy1: I got that email yesterday or the day before, this article was completed a few days before that. Sorry, my inbox usually gets a few pages deep after a doing long benchmark-heavy article.
    Is Dromaeo (the DOM portion) working in Chrome for you? I could not get it to finish in Chrome or Safari on any of my Windows machines.
    3
  • mayankleoboy1
    i ran the javascript benchmark that ran fine. Didnt run the DOM benches.

    BTW, i run chrome dev version. so that could make a difference.
    1
  • Regor245
    I have Both Chrome and Firefox.

    I still prefer Firefox since it has more features and i like it's features.

    I disabled Smooth Scrolling to make it more responsive.

    I just hate random freezes/stutter sometimes and some problem on Youtube while watching,
    when you scroll up/down, the youtube screen is messed (Glitch).

    By the way, ABP user here too.
    9
  • mayankleoboy1
    Quote:
    when you scroll up/down, the youtube screen is messed (Glitch).

    thats a flash issue. disable the protected mode of falsh.
    4
  • princesiddiqui
    Fire Fox 14.8 has been announced, version 13 is old version.
    -20
  • Memnarchon
    mayankleoboy1IE9 does so good on HTML5 HWA accelerated benchmarks because its able to offload more of the processing to the GPU.

    i tested this and found that during a HTML5 benchmark, IE9 had the least CPU usage, and most GPU usage amongst all the browsers.


    +1.
    IE9 uses also a lot more GPU Memory than Chrome. I am listening to internet radio when I am playing games and I found that a single tab from IE9 (opened for more than an hour) uses 150MB VRAM oO. Now this amount is not significant for some users but for most users that have 1024MB VRAM and doing the same thing like me (or have open tabs and alt-tabing during games) while playing at 1920x1080/1200 might cause fps drops.
    6
  • jerm1027
    Why is Firefox 13 on here? Firefox 14 has been out for a little while (even on Android), and it's support for SPDY may very affect the results. Just saying.
    -15
  • s3anister
    lethalsami won't ever use a browser a browser WITHOUT AD BLOCK Plus. (ABP)ABP works wonderful on Firefox, i RARELY see any ad. While I have used ABP on Chrome BUT its doesn't block half the ads.I know its Not Google's fault, its just that ABP developers are putting more effort with Firefox.So for me, Firefox > Chrome.

    Chrome has Adblock, just to let you know. But personally I prefer Firefox Aurora with Adblock Plus, anyway. I couldn't imagine using a browser that didn't have any version of Adblock on it, though; it'd be torture.
    -1
  • PreferLinux
    Has anyone ever investigated why the MS Maze Solver is so slow on Firefox? It almost has to be a FF bug that hasn't been fixed rather than just that FF is slow at CSS3 when the difference between FF and everything else is so huge, and also that FF does very well in CSS2.
    2
  • s3anister
    princesiddiquiFire Fox 14.8 has been announced, version 13 is old version.

    jerm1027Why is Firefox 13 on here? Firefox 14 has been out for a little while (even on Android), and it's support for SPDY may very affect the results. Just saying.

    13.0.1 is the latest stable release. I'm using version 15.0a2 of Firefox, but it's a moot point in any browser competition because it's not a release version.
    9
  • PreferLinux
    jerm1027Why is Firefox 13 on here? Firefox 14 has been out for a little while (even on Android), and it's support for SPDY may very affect the results. Just saying.

    Where? Not here: http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/all.html
    7
  • jerm1027
    s3anister13.0.1 is the latest stable release. I'm using version 15.0a2 of Firefox, but it's a moot point in any browser competition because it's not a release version.

    i stand corrected. I'm not sure how i got mixed up.

    However, I'm not sure how Silverlight takes importance over WebGL or HTML5 in this test. >~
    9