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Web Browser Grand Prix 9: Chrome 17, Firefox 10, And Ubuntu

Proper Page Load Reliability Benchmarks

Our proper page load test is done during the 40-tab memory usage benchmark. Any time a browser fails to fully and properly display a page, we recorded that page as a failure. Because there are 40 tabs in this metric, the maximum score is a 0, while the lowest score is 40.

Safari loads pages slowly, as we saw in our eight-tab startup time test, but it does so properly. We registered less than five failures in Safari, earning Apple's browser a top spot in proper page load reliability. Opera finishes close behind with just five failures. Firefox achieves a respectable third place. Chrome suffered almost 15 errors, relegating it to fourth place, while IE9 demonstrated an abominable 29 failures. That's almost three out of every four pages with broken or missing elements!

Opera maintains its good name in Linux. Chrome stays about the same as in Windows, while Firefox takes a nosedive, encountering trouble with nearly 18 out of 40 tabs.

Benchmark Connection: Eight-Tab Startup Time

Although Safari earns its good reliability score, the price you pay is performance. From our eight-tab startup time test, we watch first-hand how each browser loads pages. Safari tackles them one at a time, which apparently helps with reliability, even as it incurs a significant performance penalty. Compare this to how Opera, Chrome, and IE9 load pages. All three browsers scramble to load as many pages as possible at the same time. This seems to have an adverse effect on proper loading. Firefox takes a staggered approach, holding off on the next tab until its current task is well on its way to being displayed.

The most remarkable parallel is drawn from a comparison in Opera, which loads all of its tabs at exactly the same time like Chrome and IE9, yet still manages to pull off Safari/Firefox-like reliability. If you take this into account, Opera is the real winner on both platforms.