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Which Web Browser Is Best Under Windows 8?

Windows 8: Is Web Browsing Any Different?

All of the top four Web browsers have received major updates since our last Web Browser Grand Prix. Today we're testing Chrome 23, Firefox 16, Internet Explorer 10, and Opera 12.10. And we're also passing the torch from Windows 7 to Windows 8.

The Infamous Windows 8 Start Screen

But before we get to the benchmark results, let's quickly brush over the Web browser news and events that transpired since our last installment.

Recent News And Events:

09/02/12: Google Chrome turns four years old.
09/06/12: Only 30% of Firefox users have hardware suitable enough for hardware acceleration.
09/13/12: Mozilla to launch new IonMonkey JavaScript engine in Firefox 18 on New Year's Day.
09/14/12: Google discontinues support for IE8 in Google Apps.
09/15/12: Google intends to add Do Not Track to Chrome by year's end.
09/20/12: Microsoft tells Safari users to switch to Bing after Google is found violating privacy settings.
10/09/12: Mozilla releases Firefox 16
10/11/12: Mozilla pulls Firefox 16 due to security concerns, temporarily urges users to downgrade.
10/26/12: Microsoft releases Windows 8, including Internet Explorer 10.
10/27/12: Yahoo intends to ignore Do Not Track requests from IE10, claims it shouldn't be the default.
10/30/12: Mozilla Sends Cake to Microsoft IE Team for IE10 Congrats
10/31/12: Mozilla says missing Browser Ballot screen cost them 6 to 9 million Firefox downloads.
11/06/12: Microsoft calls IE10 the fastest Web browser, cites New Relic, Strangeloop Networks, and Tom's Hardware's RoboHornet Pro results.
11/10/12: Mozilla claims Firefox 18 will decrease start times by up to 25%.
11/12/12: Google claims Chrome is 26% faster than last year, according to its own Octane benchmark.

As usual, it has been an eventful couple of months in the world of Web browsers, and Windows 8 shakes things up even more.

Over the past two weeks, we’ve published several stories covering Microsoft's latest version of Windows:

Windows 8 Versus Windows 7: Game Performance, Benchmarked
The Definitive Windows 8 Review And User Guide
Windows 8: Does AMD's Bulldozer Architecture Benefit?
Dell Shows Off Its Entire Windows 8-Based Fall Line-Up
Windows 8: Clarifying Codec, Compiling, And Compatibility
Microsoft Surface Review, Part 1: Performance And Display Quality
Windows 8: Double-Checking Performance On Core i7-3770K
Microsoft Surface Review, Part 2: Battery Life, Multi-Monitor, And More

Although Windows 8 didn't exactly do anything for the performance of productivity-oriented applications or gaming, and it didn't save AMD's FX. But we haven't yet seen how Microsoft's new operating system affects Web browsing.

  • 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