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Web Browser Grand Prix: Firefox 15, Safari 6, OS X Mountain Lion

Test Suite And Methodology

Changes

The Start and Page Load test pages are updated to current versions, with the exception of the Tom's Hardware Wikipedia page, which has not changed since the last update. We say goodbye to YouTube, eBay, and The Huffington Post. In their place is an About.com page on barbeque, a randomly-selected popular question on Ask.com, and my own LinkedIn profile page. The Google homepage is replaced with the search results page for "Tom's Hardware", and craigslist is now the "free stuff" results page for Los Angeles. Amazon remains as the Computer Parts & Components page, though we update it. And finally, the Yahoo homepage is updated and now serves as the single-tab test page in place of the old Google homepage.

We're introducing the remaining RIABench JavaScript, Flash, Java, and Silverlight tests. RIABench JavaScript consists of eight tests, Java has seven tests, while Flash and Silverlight have all ten tests. The final RIABench scores are now the geometric mean of individual tests, instead of simple averages.

CSS Stress Testing & Performance Profiling is now performed on the CSS version of the CSS3 Speed Test demo page. Microsoft's Maze Solver CSS3 benchmark is being retired in favor of the bookmarklet applied to the CCS3 version of the very same CSS3 Speed Test demo page.

We're also adding The CSS3 Test to our standards conformance tests. It replaces the HTML5 Capabilities section of Futuremark Peacekeeper 2.0. HTML5Test.com is now the sole HTML5 conformance test in the standards conformance composite, providing an even split between JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS3 in our final standards conformance grade.

Last but not least, the JavaScript Composite score is also being switched to geometric mean instead of the inverse averages we used in the previous installment.

Web Browser Grand Prix Test Suite v12

The table below lists all 34 benchmarks (consisting of 77 individual tests) currently in our suite, along with the version number and link (where applicable), and the number of iterations performed.

Benchmark NameIterations Performed
Performance Benchmarks (24 Benchmarks, 67 Tests)
Cold Startup Time: Single Tab3
Hot Startup Time: Single Tab3
Cold Startup Time: Eight Tabs3
Hot Startup Time: Eight Tabs3
Uncached Page Load Times (Eight Test Pages)5
Cached Page Load Times (Eight Test Pages)5
RIABench JavaScript (Eight Tests)3
Mozilla Kraken v1.12
Google SunSpider v0.9.1 Mod2
FutureMark Peacekeeper 2.02
Dromaeo DOM Core1
CSS Stress Test and Performance Profiling - CSS Speed Test2
CSS Stress Test and Performance Profiling - CSS3 Speed Test2
GUIMark 2 HTML5 (3 Tests)3
Asteroids HTML5 Canvas 2D And JavaScript2
HTML5 Canvas Performance Test2
Facebook JSGameBench v4.12
Psychedelic Browsing2
WebVizBench2
Mozilla WebGL FishIE2
WebGL Solar System2
RIABench Flash (10 Tests)3
RIABench Java (7 Tests)3
RIABench Silverlight (10 Tests)3
Efficiency Benchmarks (Four Benchmarks/Tests)
Memory Usage: Single Tab3
Memory Usage: 40 Tabs3
Memory Management: -39 Tabs3
Memory Management: -39 Tabs (extra 2 minutes)3
Reliability Benchmarks (One Test)
Proper Page Loads3
Responsiveness Benchmarks (One Test)
General Responsiveness Under Load3
Security Benchmarks (One Test)
BrowserScope Security1
Conformance Benchmarks (Three Benchmarks/Tests)
Ecma Language test2621
HTML5Test.com1
The CSS3 Test1

Methodology

We restart the computer and allow it to idle before benchmarking. Most individual benchmark final scores are an average of several iterations. More iterations are run for tests that have short durations, lower scales, and/or higher variance. Any obvious outliers (usually network hiccups) are removed and retested.

We switched most of the composite scores from arithmetic mean (average) to geometric mean in order to ensure that every test in each category is given equal weight, regardless of absolute value. The exceptions are the Standards Conformance grade and Memory Efficiency score, which are achieved differently, as well as the Reliability, Responsiveness, and Security composites, each of which only contains a single test.

Individual detailed methodologies and information regarding composite scoring is described on the corresponding benchmark pages.

  • glurg
    chrome ftw
    Reply
  • Eggrenade
    It would be nice if I could view the additional charts with only one click, and not in a separate window.
    Reply
  • lahawzel
    It's nice to see Chrome performing so well, but I'm still waiting on the Chrome equivalents of all the plugins I use in FF before I think about switching. The web just doesn't feel the same without them.

    (The nice popular ones like ABP, Lazarus, Greasemonkey all have equivalents; some lesser-used plugins like Rikaichan also have ports by now. Only a matter of time!)
    Reply
  • bennaye
    chrome is absolutely deserving of the award. say what you will about the frequent patch releases touted as upgrades, chrome is a very good browser, as shown by this month's article. even on OSX there is only a small margin separating chrome and safari. but the one qualm i do have with chrome is the lack of add-ons compared to firefox. and i a lot of people share this concern. the add-ons do make the experience that much better.

    as always, a great read.
    Reply
  • Would like to see this again after IE10 is released.
    Reply
  • JOSHSKORN
    How about 64-bit Internet Explorer 9 vs Waterfox 15.0?
    Reply
  • adamovera
    bennayechrome is absolutely deserving of the award. say what you will about the frequent patch releases touted as upgrades, chrome is a very good browser, as shown by this month's article. even on OSX there is only a small margin separating chrome and safari. but the one qualm i do have with chrome is the lack of add-ons compared to firefox. and i a lot of people share this concern. the add-ons do make the experience that much better.as always, a great read.All versions of Chrome hold up incredibly well cross-platform, if you look back at the two Linux WBGPs, it won there, too. Thanks for reading!
    Reply
  • adamovera
    AdamsTaiwanWould like to see this again after IE10 is released.Absolutely, a Windows 8-based WBGP is already in the cards for October.
    Reply
  • adamovera
    JOSHSKORNHow about 64-bit Internet Explorer 9 vs Waterfox 15.0?When we have more stable 64-bit browsers, I'll definitely do a 64-bit WBGP - including versus their 32-bit counterparts.
    Reply
  • I wish Tom's would fiddle around with the settings of these browsers for these tests. In every System Builder Marathon you overclock the builds, why not try and crank the most speed while ensuring better memory management out of the browser as well?

    Testing these browsers at stock doesn't reveal even an eighth of the picture.
    Reply