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

Page Load Time Performance Benchmarks

We use the same test pages as the eight-tab startup time tests, plus Tom's Hardware for the individual page load time tests. The test script is the same as the single-tab startup time, except we open each browser to a blank tab and navigate to the test pages after browser startup. The browser composite scores are achieved by averaging the load times for each of the nine test pages.

Cached Page Load Times

Cached page load time represents the amount of time you would wait for a browser to display a page that you've already visited (like a home page, a bookmark, a history entry, and so on).

When it comes to loading a site you've already seen in Windows, you just can't beat Apple's Safari, which earns an average cached page load time of 0.8 seconds. Close behind with a time of  just under 0.9 seconds is Google Chrome, which only needs 0.73 seconds in Ubuntu, beating all of the Windows 7-based browsers. Safari takes third place in Windows 7 at just under one second, and second place in Ubuntu 11.10. IE9 places fourth with a Windows 7 time just under one second. Firefox finishes last at more than one second, while its Linux version takes 1.3 seconds, placing last on that platform as well.

The charts below contain the detailed view of the individual test pages in the cached page load time test, for each operating system.

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Cached - Windows 7

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Cached - Ubuntu 11.10

Uncached Page Load Times

Uncahced page load time indicates the wait for a page you've never visited before, like a search result or an external link off of a favorite site.

Safari takes a first-place finish when asked to load new Web pages. IE9 comes in second, it's time achieving a big step up from where the browser finished in our cached page test. Chrome places third in Windows at 1.65 seconds, but takes first in Ubuntu with a time of 1.61 seconds. Opera places fourth in Windows and second in Ubuntu with scores of 1.67 and 1.75 s, respectively. Firefox again places last in both operating environments.

Below are charts containing the detailed view of uncached page load times for each OS.

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Uncached - Windows 7

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Uncached - Ubuntu 11.10

Realistically, the scores for both cached and uncached page loads see all of the contenders separated by tiny slivers of time. The only clear winners are Safari and Chrome for Ubuntu. The only stand-out loser is Firefox under Ubuntu.