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

Benchmark Analysis: Windows 7 And Ubuntu 11.10

The analysis tables contain categories for each type of benchmark. For example, Mozilla Dromaeo DOM is represented by the DOM category, while Peacekeeper, Kraken, and SunSpider are represented together under the JavaScript category.

Each category has four columns: winner, strong, acceptable, and weak. Winner is obviously the browser that achieves the highest scores in that  category. The strong column is for those browsers exhibiting superior performance, but no victory. Acceptable is for browsers that perform neither spectacularly nor poorly, but merely adequately. For tests that measure frame rates, a score near the 30 FPS range gets that browser filed into the acceptable column. The weak column is for browsers that perform poorly or substantially lower than competing products.

In the event of a tie in the analysis tables, we go back to the individual benchmarks and look at the raw difference in scores.

The Windows 7-based standings for Chrome 17, Firefox 10, Internet Explorer 9, Opera 11.61, and Safari 5.1.2 are found in the table below.

Windows 7 Analysis Table

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 WinnerStrongAcceptableWeak
Performance Benchmarks
Startup Time, LightSafariRow 1 - Cell 2 Chrome, Firefox, OperaInternet Explorer
Startup Time, HeavyOperaChromeFirefoxInternet Explorer, Safari
Page Load Time, UncachedSafariRow 3 - Cell 2 Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, OperaRow 3 - Cell 4
Page Load Time, CachedSafariChromeFirefox, Internet Explorer, OperaRow 4 - Cell 4
JavaScriptChromeFirefoxOperaInternet Explorer, Safari
DOMOperaRow 6 - Cell 2 FirefoxInternet Explorer
CSSChromeSafariOpera, Internet ExplorerFirefox
FlashInternet ExplorerOpera, SafariChrome, FirefoxRow 8 - Cell 4
JavaFirefoxRow 9 - Cell 2 Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera, SafariRow 9 - Cell 4
SilverlightChromeOperaFirefox, Internet Explorer, SafariRow 10 - Cell 4
HTML5FirefoxInternet ExplorerChromeOpera, Safari
HTML5 Hardware AccelerationFirefoxInternet ExplorerRow 12 - Cell 3 Chrome, Opera, Safari
WebGLChromeFirefoxRow 13 - Cell 3 Internet Explorer, Opera, Safari
Efficiency Benchmarks
Memory Usage, LightInternet ExplorerRow 15 - Cell 2 Chrome, Firefox, Opera, SafariRow 15 - Cell 4
Memory Usage, HeavySafariFirefoxOpera, ChromeInternet Explorer
Memory ManagementInternet ExplorerChrome, FirefoxRow 17 - Cell 3 Opera, Safari
Reliability Benchmarks
Proper Page LoadsOperaFirefox, SafariChromeInternet Explorer
Conformance Benchmarks
HTML5ChromeFirefoxOperaInternet Explorer, Safari
JavaScriptOperaFirefox, ChromeInternet ExplorerSafari

Now, let's take a look at how Chrome 17, Firefox 10, and Opera 11.61 perform in Ubuntu 11.10.

Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot) Analysis Table

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 WinnerStrongAcceptableWeak
Performance Benchmarks
Startup Time, LightFirefoxRow 1 - Cell 2 Chrome, OperaRow 1 - Cell 4
Startup Time, HeavyOperaRow 2 - Cell 2 Chrome, FirefoxRow 2 - Cell 4
Page Load Time, UncachedChromeOperaFirefoxRow 3 - Cell 4
Page Load Time, CachedChromeRow 4 - Cell 2 OperaFirefox
JavaScriptChromeFirefoxOperaRow 5 - Cell 4
DOMOperaRow 6 - Cell 2 Chrome, FirefoxRow 6 - Cell 4
CSSChromeOperaRow 7 - Cell 3 Firefox
FlashFirefoxChrome, OperaRow 8 - Cell 3 Row 8 - Cell 4
JavaFirefoxChrome, OperaRow 9 - Cell 3 Row 9 - Cell 4
SilverlightRow 10 - Cell 1 Row 10 - Cell 2 Row 10 - Cell 3 Chrome, Firefox, Opera
HTML5ChromeOperaFirefoxRow 11 - Cell 4
HTML5 Hardware AccelerationChromeRow 12 - Cell 2 Row 12 - Cell 3 Firefox, Opera
WebGLFirefoxRow 13 - Cell 2 Row 13 - Cell 3 Chrome, Opera
Efficiency Benchmarks
Memory Usage, LightChromeRow 15 - Cell 2 Firefox, OperaRow 15 - Cell 4
Memory Usage, HeavyFirefoxRow 16 - Cell 2 OperaChrome
Memory ManagementChromeFirefoxRow 17 - Cell 3 Opera
Reliability Benchmarks
Proper Page LoadsOperaRow 19 - Cell 2 ChromeFirefox
Conformance Benchmarks
HTML5ChromeFirefoxOperaRow 21 - Cell 4
JavaScriptOperaFirefox, ChromeRow 22 - Cell 3 Row 22 - Cell 4
  • 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.