Web Browser Grand Prix: Chrome 18, Firefox 11, Windows XP

Test System Specs And Software Setup

Hardware Setup

Test System Specs
Operating System 2
Microsoft Windows XP Home (32-bit)
Processor
Intel Pentium 4 @ 2.41 GHz
Motherboard
Biostar P4M80-M4
Memory
768 MB DDR @ 333 MHz
Graphics
Nvidia GeForce FX 5500 128 MB DDR (AGP)
Storage
Western Digital Caviar SE WD1600AAJD, 160GB EIDE, 7,200 RPM
Optical 1
Hitachi-LG DVD GDR-8163B
Optical 2
Hitachi-LG CD-RW GCE-8483B


The WBGP 10 Test SystemThe WBGP 10 Test System

The following table contains the system specs of the local Web server used for our Startup and Page Load Time tests as well as JSGameBench.

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


The table below holds 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

Motorola SURFboard SBS101UMotorola SURFboard SBS101ULinksys WRT54G2Linksys WRT54G2

Software Setup

Both test installations were freshly installed and fully updated as of midnight on March 27th. Power management and automatic updating were disabled before testing.

All the software we installed, including the exact version number of the browsers tested, is listed in the table below.

Software
Version
Chrome18.0.1025.142m
Firefox
11.0
Internet Explorer
8.0.6001.18702
Opera
11.62 (build 1347)
Safari
5.1.4 (7534.54.16)
Adobe Flash
11.2.202.228
Microsoft Silverlight
4.1.10111.0
Oracle Java
6.0.310
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61 comments
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    Top Comments
  • dameon51
    gwiz1987Why is IE8 being benched and not IE9?

    XP doesn't support 9, only 8.
    21
  • wheredahoodat
    "Both Opera and Chrome feltmuch smoother on our old PC than Firefox"

    I do kinda feel the difference with Firefox's responsive going from my main modern desktop to my older labtop that has regulated to a makeshift HTC. I believe Firefox XUL interface is the culprit; it was a big enough problem for Firefox mobile to abandon it in favor of native Android GUI, but who knows at this point. I guess might actually give Opera a chance.
    11
  • Other Comments
  • wheredahoodat
    "Both Opera and Chrome feltmuch smoother on our old PC than Firefox"

    I do kinda feel the difference with Firefox's responsive going from my main modern desktop to my older labtop that has regulated to a makeshift HTC. I believe Firefox XUL interface is the culprit; it was a big enough problem for Firefox mobile to abandon it in favor of native Android GUI, but who knows at this point. I guess might actually give Opera a chance.
    11
  • agnickolov
    How come only a single reader requested numerical composite scoring, that's the most logical way of scoring after all! With that said, I'd have liked if you didn't use the rankings but the raw scores after a more intelligent transformation as the input for weighted averaging...
    For example, for each category you could subtract the lowest-placed score from all scores and then normalize in the range [0-1] by dividing all adjusted scores by the topmost adjusted score. This way the top perfomer always has 1 and the worst performer always has 0 modified score (you'd need to invert them for tests where lower is better of course, e.g. subtract these from 1). Then apply your ranks to these scores and you get the composite score. It's not a perfect transformation, but it certainly has more fairly distributed weight (pun intended) than what you have used here.
    7
  • gwiz1987
    Why is IE8 being benched and not IE9?
    -19
  • aznjoka
    Thats my Opera, for those who have never tried Opera. It's an amazing piece of software, it does the job, and it does it better then most.
    8
  • confish21
    Interesting move to make this article. Well done! Don't waste your time on a vista run though... Im so close my release date. xD
    2
  • csbeer
    aznjokaThats my Opera, for those who have never tried Opera. It's an amazing piece of software, it does the job, and it does it better then most.


    XP can't run 9. Need to upgrade OS in order to get higher IE.
    8
  • dameon51
    gwiz1987Why is IE8 being benched and not IE9?

    XP doesn't support 9, only 8.
    21
  • mayankleoboy1
    excellent review!
    some points:

    1.A lot of corporates still use IE7. maybe you should include that too in your benchmarks

    2.if you remove HTML5 (with and without H/W acceleration), i think Opera's victory margin will be quite huge.

    3.Regarding smoothness, i beleive FF is quite poor in this. But the developers know about it and are very activle working on it. I thik FF13 will be the release when smoothness will improve. look at "Firefox Snappy".

    4. i would like to have a subjective recommendation at the end of the article, something you subjectively felt was the best amongst all the browsers, even though it may be trailing in numbers.
    4
  • mayankleoboy1
    Why did you use the AGP? I bet 99.99% of those Pentium4 era computers use the onboard Intel IGP.
    Also that would definitely disable the H/W acceleration of browsers.
    7
  • Anonymous
    Anyone who is still stuck using Windows 2000, Opera supports you.

    http://www.opera.com/browser/download/requirements/
    6
  • Anonymous
    bunnywannyAnyone who is still stuck using Windows 2000, Opera supports you.

    Toms, the "add an url" in the comment toolbar doesn't work. Here is the link:
    http://www.opera.com/browser/download/requirements/
    1
  • ronch79
    I don't know about you guys, but I've been a fan of Opera for a few years now, until recently. I've noticed that the then-latest version, 11.61, took so long to load pages. At first, I thought there was something wrong with my internet connection. For some reason I installed Chrome. I noticed right away that browsing with Chrome was faster (pages loaded quickly). My first suspicion was that it was just plain luck; that the bandwidth simply was faster coincidentally when I was using Chrome. I did a side-by-side comparison with both browsers open, and yes, Opera did load pages sluggishly. I was stumped. For the record, I'm NOT bashing Opera here, folks. I just don't know why this is happening. Heck, I'd switch back to Opera in a flash. This all happened with Opera 11.61. I think I'll give Opera 12 a shot.
    3
  • straatkat
    The html5 ranking is surprising. A score north of 300 for HTML5 support is, I would say, about par. In the end, HTML5 adoption in the wild is a good as the lowest score, because you want people to have access to your site, you are not going to build a site that locks out a substantial portion of the internet. So you are not going to target a HTML5 feature that is specific to a browser.
    2
  • hellfire24
    man i still love XP!!!!
    -6
  • Anonymous
    for me 0.5 ponts is noting and for me chrome is the winner here
    -10
  • straatkat
    Can you state which version of Windows XP you were using? Circa 2003 you had Windows XP service pack 1 only.
    4
  • assassin123
    I love firefox
    -4
  • Cryio
    muhsi44even though the OSes are still in beta.


    What OSes?
    -2
  • Hypertraxx
    CHROMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
    -6
  • sheol
    Out of the box, no browser that I know of comes close to Opera when it comes to usability(mouse gestures, tab manangement, "Closed Tabs " - a recycle bin of tabs if you will, an awesome feature that keeps your closed tabs for easy retrieval for when you might need them.
    This is why I believe Opera uses so much memory after 39 tabs have been closed.

    And reliability, who could complain? Routinely i have 50+ tabs open for days, and I have not had a single crash because of it.
    5