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

Start Time

Start times are recorded right after a fresh boot (cold) and again after the browser has already been launched (hot). We time both a single home tab and an eight-tab group. Yahoo! serves as the test page for our single-tab tests, while pages from About, Amazon, Ask, craigslist, Google, LinkedIn, and Wikipedia round out the test pages of the eight-tab measurement. All test pages are hosted on our local Web server and cached in the Web browsers.

Composite Scoring

The start time composite score is the geometric mean of the hot and cold times for the single-tab and eight-tab tests.

Google Chrome takes a slight lead over Safari on Apple's own operating system, at two and 2.2 seconds (respectively). Firefox places third with just under 2.5 seconds, followed by Opera at three seconds.

All of the Windows 7 times are significantly lower than OS X, with Chrome again taking the lead at just 0.8 seconds. This time, Chrome is followed by Opera at just under one second. Internet Explorer is in third place at just over 1.2 seconds with Firefox placing fourth, mere tenths of a second behind IE9.

Drill Down

The charts below contain results for cold and hot single-tab start times, followed by the cold and hot eight-tab times.

Image 1 of 2

1 Tab, Cold

Image 2 of 2

1 Tab, Hot

Image 1 of 2

8 Tabs, Cold

Image 2 of 2

8 Tabs, Hot

Chrome is the clear winner at start time, with the only exception being a longer single-tab cold start than the other competitors. Firefox and IE9 also display irregularities. Mozilla's browser has a slight advantage starting with a single-tab cold versus hot, while IE9 takes an incredible amount of time to open a single tab cold versus any other situation.

  • 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