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All startup times are tested both cold (browser newly opened after a fresh boot) and hot (browser already opened and closed) using a single tab and eight tabs.
Google.com serves as the test page for our single-tab tests, while the homepages of YouTube, Yahoo!, and The Huffington Post, as well as product pages from Amazon, Wikipedia, craigslist, and eBay round out the eight-tab measurement. All test pages are hosted on our local Web server and cached in each browser.
The startup time composite score is the average of hot and cold times for single-tab and eight-tab startups.
Opera continues to dominate startup times with version 12, posting a page load average of just over one and a half seconds. Chrome 20 takes second place at 1.7 seconds, with Firefox 13 close behind at 1.85 seconds. Far behind the top three is Internet Explorer 9 in fourth place at nearly four seconds, followed by Safari 5.1.7 at almost six seconds!
The charts below contain the results for the individual test pages, as well as the average time for both uncached and cached page load times.
We can see that Opera wins this competition hands-down, earning the shortest times on all four startup tests. Opera's times are also very close together, with superb cold starts. Chrome has the slowest cold single-tab time, while fellow WebKit browser Apple Safari has the slowest eight-tab finishes. IE9 achieves solid times in all but the cold eight-tab test, bringing its average down significantly.