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

Page Load Time Performance Benchmarks

Our page load time tests are performed with the test pages cached (in history), and uncached (newly opened). These test pages are the same ones used in our startup time tests. Each page is run for five iterations, and any obvious outliers are retested. We then average the results for each browser to arrive at a composite page load time for each.

Chrome takes the lead in cached page loads at 1.65 seconds, but only manages second place in uncached page loads. Opera takes third place in cached page load times, but nabs first place in the all-important uncached page loads. Safari is the second-place finisher in cached page loads, but drops to third in uncached loads. Firefox places fourth in both types of page loads (about two and three seconds), followed by IE8 about a half-second behind.

Overall, Opera is the big winner for page loads. While Chrome beats Opera by one-fifth of a second in loading cached pages, uncached page loads are what Web browsing is all about. Chrome takes a very respectable second place, followed closely by Safari and Firefox, and then IE8.

The charts below hold the cached and uncached detail view of each test page per browser.

Cached Page Load TimesCached Page Load TimesUncached Page Load TimesUncached Page Load Times

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  • 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