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Web Browser Grand Prix 4: Firefox 4 Goes Final

Performance Benchmarks: HTML5 Hardware Acceleration And WebGL

HTML Hardware Acceleration

This is probably the area of most interest to those involved in the IE/Firefox rivalry. HTML5 hardware acceleration is currently unique to these two browser war veterans. And fittingly, we've included one test from each outfit. Although the other three browsers cannot take advantage of graphics hardware, they do understand HTML5 and can run these tests. This will let us see how well they perform without the help of the GPU.

Mozilla Hardware Acceleration Stress Test

As expected, only Firefox and Internet Explorer reached 60 frames per second (the test's ceiling), creating a tie for first place. Without hardware assistance, Opera manages to run this test at 22 frames per second, taking second place. Chrome finishes in third with 20 FPS, while Apple Safari only allows four frames per second.

Psychedelic Browsing

Once again, it's IE9 and Firefox 4 in the top spots, though this time IE9 pulls ahead by 25 points. Far behind in third place is Chrome, with a score of 123. Opera takes fourth with 65 and Safari only achieves 31 points, finishing last.

The first test was a tie, and IE9 wins the second test. But keep in mind that Firefox 4 is only 25 points behind in a benchmark where the winner scores nearly 1800 points. These two Web browsers essentially perform equivalently.

WebGL

With the release of Firefox 4, we now have enough WebGL-capable browsers to make a comparison. IE9, Opera 11, and Safari 5 do not support WebGL.

Khronos Particles

The Particles benchmark from the Khronos Group, overseers of WebGL, places Google Chrome in the lead with just over 60 frames per second, though Mozilla still manages to push out 55 FPS

WebGL Aquarium

Chrome owns this test, running at 55 frames per second compared to Firefox 4's 22 FPS.

Overall, the results in these two tests are mixed, with Firefox close behind Chrome in Particles, but trailing pretty far in WebGL Aquarium. Either way, Chrome has a measurable lead over Firefox 4 in WebGL performance.

  • reprotected
    Because people can't wait for half a second. I never had a single rendering problem with any of my browsers.
    Reply
  • LuckyDucky7
    Adblock Plus, Adblock Plus, Adblock Plus.

    That pretty much sums it up. No amount of optimization will help you when it comes to loading web pages if you have a large amount of adframes and such to slow you down.

    So have your super-fast IE9: I bet the ads will appreciate loading quick too.
    Reply
  • @ericburnby

    you must enjoy all those ads, in real world the difference in speed is negligible, but i sure has hell appreciate a rock stable browser, which is not what IE is, now saying that i have to say IE9 is definitely light years ahead of it's predecessor

    have used all 3 browser and found FF to be the most stable by far
    Reply
  • @ StableBrowser,

    You must enjoy being an ignorant Fx fanboy. IE9 comes with adblocking features without needing any extensions.
    Reply
  • nd22
    IE9 is indeed fast, but my question relates to Safari, a browser created specifically for Mac, not for Windows. On Mac Safari is incredible fast, why Tom’s did not tested Safari on the platform which it was designed for?
    Reply
  • @luckyducky7

    "Adblock Plus, Adblock Plus, Adblock Plus.

    That pretty much sums it up. No amount of optimization will help you when it comes to loading web pages if you have a large amount of adframes and such to slow you down.

    So have your super-fast IE9: I bet the ads will appreciate loading quick too."

    Not if you use tracking protection.
    Reply
  • adamovera
    nd22IE9 is indeed fast, but my question relates to Safari, a browser created specifically for Mac, not for Windows. On Mac Safari is incredible fast, why Tom’s did not tested Safari on the platform which it was designed for?It is my hope that we'll be able to do that. Hopefully for the next major Safari release. If that's at the same time as Lion, then we might have to use the latest updated Snow Leopard for time reasons.
    Reply
  • jsowoc
    Re: Acid3
    This is why Firefox doesn't get 100:
    http://limi.net/articles/firefox-acid3/
    Reply
  • I loaded up IE today because the Chase website gives me problems with Chrome, and I was surprised by how fast IE9 is now. Loading pages seemingly as fast or faster then chrome. I even thought of switching it to my primary browser, but the lack of Ad-block support killed it. It is a necessary feature and every browser should have it or something like it these days.
    Reply
  • andy5174
    The latest Chrome is indeed pretty fast, but I just can't live without Tab Mix Plus which is only available to Firefox. Someone please write a similar add-on for Chrome!!!
    Reply