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Which Web Browser Is Best Under Windows 8?

Plug-In Performance

Plug-In Composite Score

This time around, we decided to create a composite score from all three major browser plug-ins: Flash, Java, and Silverlight. This gives us a picture of how much, or rather, how little, browsers actually factor into plug-in performance, as well as decreasing the weight of these plu-ins in our final score.

All of the plug-in scores are within about five percent of each other, and we've seen the winners change regularly in all three plug-in tests, but never beyond 5%. Therefore, this will also be the last time we test plug-in performance in the Web Browser Grand Prix. With the exception of Chrome's baked-in Flash player, every other combination of browser and plug-in yields essentially the same results.

Flash

The Flash composite score is derived from the geometric mean of the ten RIABench Flash sub-tests.

As usual, Chrome's built-in Flash player cannot match the Adobe version used by other browsers. Flash performance in IE10 is roughly comparable to Chrome, while Firefox and Opera are slightly ahead.

Java

The Java composite score is the geometric mean of all seven RIABench Java sub-tests.

All four browsers perform Java tests equally well under Windows 8, while Firefox and Chrome show a minor advantage under Windows 7.

Silverlight

Our Silverlight composite score is comprised of the geometric mean of all ten RIABench Silverlight sub-test results.

The Silverlight scores are essentially another dead heat, with Opera displaying a slight performance dip under Windows 8 and, believe it or not, IE9 showing a minor advantage in Windows 7.

Drill Downs

The charts below contain the individual RIABench Flash, Java, and Silverlight scores for Windows 8 and Windows 7.

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Flash - Windows 8

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Java - Windows 8

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Silverlight - Windows 8

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Flash - Windows 7

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Java - Windows 7

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Silverlight - Windows 7

More aberrations occur in Flash and Silverlight than in Java, but they are still too minor to draw any sweeping generalizations. Any differentiation in the Flash scores is due to Chrome using a different version than the other three browsers.

  • mayankleoboy1
    1. Did you ensure that Opera has Hardware acceleration and WebGL enabled in about:config ? AFAIk, Opera does not enable HWA by default.

    2. I find the over-reliance on "Internet Explorer Test drive" benchmarks disturbing. Most use code that is inefficient and not used anywhere else on the web, making it quite theoretical.

    3. +1 for using Google Octane benchmark. Both google and mozilla agree that this is a good real-world benchmark.

    4. Addition of the "Maze solver" benchmark is disappointing.

    5. Why remove the subjective smoothness ? 95% of the time, subjective smoothness is what lures a person to use a specific browser. People use a browser, not run benchmarks on it all day. Subjectively, no browser can beat Google Chrome. Then comes Opera , Firefox and far lastly, IE10.
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1
    Any technical reason why browser performs generally better in Win8 ? Even the 'WHQL' drivers from Nvidia and AMD arent quite mature for Win8.
    Games and applications did not show any improvement in Win8 over Win7.
    Reply
  • adamovera
    mayankleoboy11. Did you ensure that Opera has Hardware acceleration and WebGL enabled in about:config ? AFAIk, Opera does not enable HWA by default.2. I find the over-reliance on "Internet Explorer Test drive" benchmarks disturbing. Most use code that is inefficient and not used anywhere else on the web, making it quite theoretical.3. +1 for using Google Octane benchmark. Both google and mozilla agree that this is a good real-world benchmark.4. Addition of the "Maze solver" benchmark is disappointing.5. Why remove the subjective smoothness ? 95% of the time, subjective smoothness is what lures a person to use a specific browser. People use a browser, not run benchmarks on it all day. Subjectively, no browser can beat Google Chrome. Then comes Opera , Firefox and far lastly, IE10.1) We use fresh installs at default settings; Opera does not enable HWA by default.
    2) The only IETestDrive tests we use are Psychedelic Browsing and Maze Solver, and IE regularly loses to competitors on both.
    3) Octane was not used because it had issues with IE9 and Opera 12.10.
    4) We definitely need a new CSS test, but the only other options are outdated or on IETestDrive - unfortunately, Kaizoumark doesn't work with IE10.
    5) It's really difficult to see that kind of stuff on a modern test system, but I will say that Chrome and IE10 are about equal in that department, with Firefox and Opera noticeably more choppy right at the beginning of the 40-tab load.
    Reply
  • adamovera
    mayankleoboy1Any technical reason why browser performs generally better in Win8 ? Even the 'WHQL' drivers from Nvidia and AMD arent quite mature for Win8.Games and applications did not show any improvement in Win8 over Win7.Not sure, the Nvidia drivers used were the same version on both OSes.
    Reply
  • And we're also passing the torch from Windows 7 to Windows 8.
    We are going to miss you on Web Browser Grand Prix, Windows 7
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1
    10447137 said:
    1) We use fresh installs at default settings; Opera does not enable HWA by default.
    2) The only IETestDrive tests we use are Psychedelic Browsing and Maze Solver, and IE regularly loses to competitors on both.
    3) Octane was not used because it had issues with IE9 and Opera 12.10.
    4) We definitely need a new CSS test, but the only other options are outdated or on IETestDrive - unfortunately, Kaizoumark doesn't work with IE10.
    5) It's really difficult to see that kind of stuff on a modern test system, but I will say that Chrome and IE10 are about equal in that department, with Firefox and Opera noticeably more choppy right at the beginning of the 40-tab load.


    1. IMHO, enabling these settings would have made Opera more competitive and this article fairer.

    3. Whoops, misread that. But this is a good benchmark. Robohornet and robohornet pro are complete jokes.
    4. Just exclude the maze solver. Its bad coding, as any web developer can tell you.
    5. Thats exactly what i'm saying. This needs to be factored in the overall score. You want the browser UI to always remain smooth. UI choppiness is unacceptable and sloppy coding. We are not living in the 90's anymore.


    The one thing i dislike in Chrome is the memory bloat when opening many tabs. In the 40tab test, FF uses 600 MB. Chrome uses 1600MB :O. That is probably an iverhead of using separate processes for each tab. That is excellent for smoothness and UI fluidity. But shameful for memory consumption. I guess devs need to find a middle path.
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1
    Both 'mozilla kraken' and 'Google sunspider' benchmarks need to be retired . They are old, and all the major browsers have optimizations to score better on them.
    Plus, they heavily test features that are not used anywhere else on teh web.

    Example : Sunspider makes a billion manipulations to the the "date" variable. Mozilla did not have any optimization for this. So it scored poorly on Sunspider. After numerous 'review sites' started using sunspider to test FF Vs Chrome, mozilla developers had to reluctantly add the same optimisation (which is basically a separate buffer to store the date). Of course, nowhere on the web is the date variable used in this manner. So its optimization for an artificial test.
    Reply
  • wilem_WAR246810
    "The King Is Dead, Long Live The King!" am I the only one who thought of Megadeth?
    Reply
  • deepblue08
    mayankleoboy1Any technical reason why browser performs generally better in Win8 ? Even the 'WHQL' drivers from Nvidia and AMD arent quite mature for Win8.Games and applications did not show any improvement in Win8 over Win7.
    As far as I heard there are significant under-the-hood improvements in Win8, in terms of memory efficiency and multi-core usage.
    Reply
  • epileptic
    Is it Opera x64 or x86? I remember having tested Opera 12 and the startup was very slow. I'm still using 11.64 atm. The only thing keeping me from moving to Firefox is how sluggish the UI feels... I'd also have to find a new mail client. :/
    Reply