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Web Browser Grand Prix 4: Firefox 4 Goes Final

Performance Benchmarks: Startup Times

Single Tab

Google.com serves as our test page in the single-tab startup test.

When opening a single tab with the world's most visited Web site, IE9 is unbelievably quick. Microsoft's Web browser only takes three-quarters of a second to open and load Google.com. It takes just under 1.2 seconds for Chrome to open a single tab, making Google's browser the second-place finisher. Right behind Chrome is Opera, at 1.25 seconds. Firefox 4 takes 1.36 seconds, while Apple Safari needs almost 1.7 seconds to perform the same task (Apple Safari 5 is available here).

It should be noted that IE9 employs a neat trick of loading the content before the window appears. This allows the opening Web page to be displayed in the IE window during the little float-in animation, thus giving the user a perception of instantaneous loading.

Eight Tabs

The top eight Web pages (according to Quantcast) make up the test pages for our eight-tab startup test. These pages include: Google.com, Facebook.com, YouTube.com, Yahoo.com, Amazon.com, Twitter.com, MSN.com, and Wikipedia.com.

Opera takes the lead when opening eight tabs, loading completely in 3.4 seconds. IE9 is close behind in second place at 3.6 seconds. Firefox 4 is in third, finishing in under four and a half seconds. Chrome places fourth at 4.7 seconds, while Apple's browser needs more than 6 seconds to fully load all eight tabs.

Internet Explorer is the overall winner here, opening a single tab in no time, and right behind Opera when it comes to opening eight tabs. Chrome, Firefox 4, and Opera are still speedy enough for any normal human being, and Safari is the consistently the slowest in startup times.

  • 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