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.

  • mayankleoboy1
    just wondering if use of a DX11 capable GPU will change scores in some HTML5 and other benchmarks as the browsers use DX11 assisted rendering.

    Also, AMD driver support in linux is poor compared to Nvidia.
    For future Linux articles, can you use a Dx11 based Nvidia GPU?
  • mayankleoboy1
    IMO, Firefox is concentrating more on HTML5, ignoring CSS and JavaScript.
    It does well in HTML5 benches but 99% of the websites use primarily CSS and JS and HTML3, in which Firefox does poorly.

  • mayankleoboy1
    Waiting for OPERA12. It keeps impressing me.
    Even without hardware acceleration, it keeps up with the competition,

    When that beast launches, it will kill FF/IE and most probably chrome too.
  • PreferLinux
    Who wants to guess that the poor Linux Flash and WebGL results were because Flash and WebGL don't use hardware acceleration with that graphics card and driver? I would be thinking so.
  • mitch074
    Firefox performance took a dive starting with version 4, where all hardware acceleration was disabled: before then, in version 3.6, XRENDER was used when available (it was 4/5th as fast as IE9 on the same PC) while it is now really slow - it's all software.

    Moreover, the only driver enabled for hardware acceleration on Linux is the Nvidia driver: according to Mozilla (and verified by yours truly on AMD and Intel hardware), most display drivers in Linux suck when it comes to 2D rendering - ouch. Note that Mozilla and Google could add shims to circumvent those bugs, but they don't -not worth the effort, especially when driver makers could fix their bugs rather easily, leaving the browsers broken yet again.
  • indian-art
    I use Chrome (19.0.1041.0 dev presently) the most on Linux (Ubuntu) and empirically I felt Chrome works very well. Now your tests confirm it.

    I find Opera 12 really nice too. It can run with Opera 11.61. Opera 12 has a silver icon & 11.61 has its classic red. I like Firefox & Epiphany too.

    Its a shame Safari and IE are not truly cross-platform.
  • mayankleoboy1
    how many of those top 40 sites use HTML5?

    i think that the HTML5 scores should be weighed by a factor of the percent of top40 sites that use HTML5.
    This way actual importance of HTML5 can be judged in real world.
  • nd22
    It's a shame Apple does not pay enough attention to the Windows market and optimize their browser! On Mac Safari is king of the hill - personal opinion of course!
    On Windows I feel that IE9 works really well for me, although Chrome is the speed demon! FF 4+ lost their appeal for me.
  • forestie
    The OSes that are used are 64 bits but the browsers are mostly (all?) 32bits on Windows, and probably 64bits on Linux.

    Internet Explorer has 64bits builds on Win7, and Firefox has "almost" a 64bits browser on Windows too: Waterfox, which is a semi-official Firefox for 64bits Windows. Waterfox in particular claims huge improvements over base 32bits install, I would like to see how that translates into real-world.

    Not sure about availability of 64bits editions of other browsers on Windows.

    Here are my wishes:
    -clearly mention if the 32bits or 64bits version of the browser is used
    -where applicable and relevant, test with both 32bits and 64bits variants. I would like to see IE and FF split into 32 and 64 variants on Win for example.

    I personally migrated from FF to WF on my machines 3 weeks ago and find it noticeably faster in everyday use. WF is now my main browser.
  • doive1231
    As long as phones keep using Android, Chrome will be the most popular browser for a long while. Google have got it all sorted.