Web Browser Grand Prix 3: IE9 Enters The Race


Now that we've seen the final results in performance, efficiency, and standards compliance testing, as well as overall placing, let's break down how the Web browsers perform in individual categories.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Category/TestWinnerAlso StrongWeak
Performance Testing
Startup TimesIE9OperaRow 1 - Cell 3
Page Load TimesIE9Row 2 - Cell 2 Row 2 - Cell 3
JavaScriptChromeOpera, IE9Firefox
DOMOperaRow 5 - Cell 2 Firefox
HTML5IE9OperaRow 6 - Cell 3
FlashOperaIE9Row 7 - Cell 3
JavaOperaFirefoxRow 8 - Cell 3
SilverlightChromeIE9Row 9 - Cell 3
Efficiency Testing
Memory Usage (Light Load)IE9Chrome, FirefoxRow 11 - Cell 3
Memory Usage (Heavy Load)FirefoxRow 12 - Cell 2 IE9, Chrome
Memory ManagementIE9Chrome, FirefoxOpera, Safari
Standards Conformance Testing
HTML5ChromeRow 15 - Cell 2 Row 15 - Cell 3
CSS3Firefox, IE9, Opera, SafariRow 16 - Cell 2 Chrome
JavaScriptIE9Row 17 - Cell 2 Row 17 - Cell 3
Acid3Chrome, Opera, SafariRow 18 - Cell 2 IE9, Firefox

Internet Explorer 9 manages to pull ahead, regardless of whether you look at individual categories or the overall placing. IE9 comes out on top in seven categories, while Opera and Chrome only top five each.

Despite Firefox losing so terribly, the biggest upset in WBGP3 has to be Chrome. Since the release of IE9, Firefox 3.6 is the oldest Web browser here, and it is about to be replaced with the much-anticipated and long overdue Firefox 4. Chrome 10, on the other hand, is only as old as IE9.

IE9 really put the hurt on Chrome. Disciplines like page load times, JavaScript performance, and memory management have traditionally been bastions for Chrome's success. This time, IE9 excelled in all three. Chrome also gives us disappointing results in HTML5 performance, the CSS3 Selectors Test, and it was unable to run Dromaeo DOM.

Opera, though not as terribly battered by IE9 as Chrome, also gives up some ground to Microsoft's newest Web browser. IE9 demonstrates excellent performance in areas where Opera is also strong, such as HTML5 and Flash.

Not only does IE9 manage to beat previous WBGP champions Opera and Chrome with regard to performance, but it also succeeds in strutting its stuff in efficiency and standards compliance. IE9 is the clear winner of Web Browser Grand Prix 3, and we at Tom's Hardware approve of Microsoft Internet Explorer 9.

By beating the stiffest competition (Opera and Chrome) in areas where the competition has historically dominated, Microsoft has made IE a real contender. But with the launch of Mozilla Firefox 4 just over the horizon, the company's arch-nemesis in the browser wars might pose the gravest threat to IE9's WBGP championship.

Follow Adam Overa on Twitter @adamovera.

  • pirateboy
    I wonder how much microsoft paid tomshardware not to include Firefox 4 RC1
  • cruiseoveride
    Now everyone is going to switch from Chrome to IE?
  • bison88
    Nice comparison Adam. I think people don't give MS credit for IE9 because of their history with web standards and lack of competition with updating their browser since they destroyed Netscape so many years ago. Hopefully they have their head in the game and continue with a somewhat constant update cycle. Currently the transition from IE8 to IE9 was somewhat FireFox'ish with speed instead of waiting for another revision of the OS. The browser definitely surprised me, some quirks here and there that are definitely noticeable and the Chrome/FF influence is obviously present. I wish them luck as the competition heats up.
  • andy5174
    Will there be a " Web Browser Grand Prix 4: Firefox 4 Enters The Race " after Firefox 4's release (22 Mar)?
  • illuminatuz
    i felt the speed once i switched from firefox to chrome and now chrome to IE..
    but there is no mention of any addon/extentions for IE..
    i mean there is no comparision on who's got nice addons and startup time "with" addons.. since users tend to use web browsers with addons knowingly or un-knowingly..
    it would be better if you include those two comparisions as well.. and who takes advantage of GPU and all..
  • winner4455
    Won't take that long for IE to lag behind.
  • illuminatuz
    winner4455Won't take that long for IE to lag behind.lol
    maybe not!!
    and FFS why doesnt that "submit my comment" button not working in IE!! I am using chrome for that ;(
  • turboflame
    I like how this article was released one day before Firefox 4 is released.
  • dimamu15
    duck it, i stick to firefox.
  • Scanlia
    Is there a wrong picture on the efficiency page? The 40tabs graph comes up as GUIMark 2?