How do the latest Windows 7-based Web browsers stack up? Chrome and Firefox each have three wins under this operating system; can one become our champion? Or will Opera clean house here, as it did under Windows XP? We set up a new test system to find out.
This article marks our return to Windows 7. Believe it or not, more than nine months have passed since we last ran a completely Windows 7-based Web Browser Grand Prix. In the interim, we've switched venues to OS X (twice), Ubuntu, and even Windows XP. While all that OS-hopping provided a nice detour, Microsoft's current desktop operating system is most definitely the big show. This is also, then, the first Windows 7-based browser comparison employing the new scoring system introduced in Web Browser Grand Prix: Chrome 18, Firefox 11, Windows XP. Our Core i5 test system was upgraded from Intel's old Lynnfield design to a more modern Sandy Bridge-based chip, and the Radeon HD 4870 was recently replaced by a Radeon HD 7770. The benchmark suite also receives significant upgrades. We're removing five of the older benchmarks, adding ten new ones, and implementing composite scores for nearly every category of testing.
But before we get to the numbers, let's catch up on what happened in the world of Web browsers since our last installment of the Grand Prix.
Recent News And Events
04/24/12: Mozilla releases Firefox 12
04/25/12: Mozilla officially stops releasing updates for Firefox 3.6.
05/09/12: Apple updates Safari to version 5.1.7.
05/11/12: Mozilla blasts Microsoft for third-party browser lockout in Windows RT (Windows 8 for ARM).
05/11/12: Internet Explorer may be coming to XBox 360 Kinect.
05/16/12: Google releases Chrome 19
05/16/12: IE Drops Below 30% Market Share for First Time in 15 Years
05/22/12: Chrome overtakes IE in market share to become the world's most-used Web browser.
05/23/12: Microsoft claims that StatCounter's usage statistics for Google Chrome are bogus.
05/25/12: Yahoo! releases Axis, an iOS browser with add-ons for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
05/26/12: Rumors swirl that Facebook is looking to buy Opera Software.
06/01/12: Facebook suddenly stops listing Opera as a recommended Web browser.
06/02/12: Microsoft to enable Do Not Track in IE10 by default.
06/04/12: Mozilla releases Firefox 13
06/08/12: The Do Not Track fine print prevents browsers from enabling it without user consent.
06/10/12: Google promises a Metro version of Chrome for Windows 8 soon.
06/11/12: Apple releases a developer preview of Safari 6.
06/15/12: Mozilla updates Firefox to version 13.0.1
06/18/12: Opera 12 is finally released, with unfinished hardware acceleration.
06/19/12: StatCounter fires back at Microsoft, disputes Redmond's critique of its methodology.
06/20/12: Congress approves Do Not Track default opt-in for IE10.
06/27/12: Google releases Chrome 20
Now that we're all caught up, let's take a look at the contenders.
- The Top Five Browsers, Tested And Ranked
- Chrome, Firefox, IE9, Opera, And Safari
- Test System Specs And Software Setup
- Test Suite And Methodology
- Startup Time
- Page Load Time
- DOM And CSS Performance
- HTML5 Performance
- Hardware Acceleration
- Plug-In Performance: Flash, Java, Silverlight
- Memory Efficiency
- Reliability, Responsiveness, And Security
- Standards Conformance
- Test Analysis
- Crowning A Windows 7 WBGP Champion