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Web Browser Grand Prix VIII: Chrome 16, Firefox 9, And Mac OS X

WBGP VIII Test Setup

Hardware Setup

Test System Specs
Operating System 1Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit)
Operating System 2Apple Mac OS X Lion (64-bit)
ModelApple MacBook Air 11.6-inch (late 2011)
ProcessorIntel Core i7 @ 1.8 GHz (dual-core)
Memory4 GB DDR3 @ 1333 MT/s
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 3000 384 MB DDR3 SDRAM
Storage128 GB SSD

Behold The Glory!

Software Setup

Our test installations are freshly installed and fully updated as of midnight on December 20th. Power management and automatic updating is disabled before testing. The Web browsers and additional software, along with the exact version numbers tested, are listed in the table below.

SoftwareVersion
Chrome16.0.912.63 m
Firefox9.0.1
Internet Explorer9.0.8112.16421
Opera11.60 (build 1185)
Safari5.1.2 (7534.5.2.7)
Adobe Flash11.1.102.55 (64-bit)
Microsoft Silverlight5.0.61118.0
Oracle Java6.0.30

The Windows 7 Test Installation

The Mac OS X Lion Test Installation

Network Setup

The following table contains the system specs of the local Web server used for our startup time tests, the page load time tests, and JSGameBench.

Local Web Server Specs
Operating SystemUbuntu 10.04 LTS Server Edition "Lucid Lynx" (32-bit)
ProcessorAMD Athlon @ 1150 MHz
MotherboardSoyo Dragon Platinum
Memory512 MB DDR
GraphicsAMD Radeon 9550, 256 MB GDDR
Storage40 GB Western Digital HDD WD400BB
OpticalSamsung DVD-ROM SD-616T
Extra PackagesApache2, MySQL Client, MySQL Server, PHP5, PHP-GD, PHP5-MySQL, PHPMyAdmin, SSH

The table below holds additional information on the test network.

Network Specs
ISP ServiceCox Premium (28 Mb/s down, 5 Mb/s up)
ModemMotorola SURFboard SBS101U
RouterLinksys WRT54G2 V1

 
While we typically use a hard-wired Ethernet connection, due to the MacBook Air being the test system, we're debuting the use of Wi-Fi in the Web Browser Grand Prix.

Test Setup

We restart the computer and allow it to idle for a few minutes before benchmarking the next browser. Other than the conformance benchmarks, all of our final scores are an average of several iterations. More iterations are run on tests that have short durations, lower scales, and/or higher variance.

All tests are placed into one of four groups: core, observation, dated, and quarantine. Core tests are considered current. These tests are usually trusted industry standards or our own creations, and they make up the core of the WBGP suite. Tests that are either generally unknown, mostly untested, or just too bleeding-edge are placed under observation. Tests classified as dated are either outdated, losing relevance, or otherwise need replacing. We are actively seeking community feedback and contributions regarding alternatives to these benchmarks. The final group is for quarantined benchmarks. Benchmarks find their way into quarantine by delivering dubious results or by being gamed. Whenever benchmarks that test the same thing yield conflicting results, more weight is given to tests with a better rating when creating the analysis tables.

The table below lists all 53 of the tests currently in our suite (along with a version number and link, where applicable), number of iterations performed, and current rating:

Tom's Hardware Web Browser Grand Prix Test Suite v8.0
Test NameIterationsRating
Performance Tests (44)
Cold Startup Time: Single Tab3Core
Cold Startup Time: Eight Tabs3Core
Hot Startup Time: Single Tab3Core
Hot Startup Time: Eight Tabs3Core
Uncached Page Load Times (9 Test Pages)5Core
Cached Page Load Times (9 Test Pages)5Core
Kraken v1.12Core
Google Kraken v1.1 Mod2Observation
SunSpider v0.9.12Observation
Google SunSpider v0.91 Mod2Observation
FutureMark Peacekeeper 2.02Core
Dromaeo DOM2Core
Maze Solver5Core
GUIMark2 Flash Vector Charting3Core
GUIMark2 Flash Bitmap Gaming3Core
GUIMark2 Flash Text Columns3Core
Flash Benchmark 2008 v1.09.12Core
GUIMark Java3Dated
Encog Silverlight3Dated
Facebook JSGameBench v4.12Core
GUIMark 2 HTML5 Vector Charting (1 pixel variant)3Core
GUIMark 2 HTML5 Bitmap Gaming3Core
GUIMark 2 HTML5 Text Columns3Core
Asteroids HTML5 Canvas 2D And JavaScript2Core
Psychedelic Browsing2Observation
Hardware Acceleration Stress Test2Dated
Mozilla WebGL FishIE5Observation
WebGL Solar System5Observation
Efficiency Benchmarks (5)
Memory Usage: Single Tab3Core
Memory Usage: 40 Tabs3Core
Memory Management: -39 Tabs3Core
Memory Management: -39 Tabs (extra 2 minutes)3Core
Reliability Benchmarks (1)
Proper Page Loads3Core
Conformance Benchmarks (3)
Ecma test2621Core
Peacekeeper 2.0 HTML5 Capabilities1Core
HTML5Test.com1Core

Legend

Throughout this article there are a ton of charts, many of which house data from both Windows 7 and Mac OS X. The data in these charts is sorted by the Windows 7 score, with the best performer on top and the worst at the bottom. Windows 7 scores are represented by blue bars and OS X scores are in green. If an OS X browser outperforms all of the Windows 7 browsers, we'll indicate this occurrence by changing the color of the winning OS X browser from green to red.

Now, let's fire off the starting pistol and let the race begin!

  • twztechman
    Been using Firefox for years - it works best for me.
    Reply
  • shiftmx112
    This makes it worth putting up with the constant updates on Aurora. :)
    Reply
  • The best part is I'm quite sure that this is using an out of the box build. Using a PGO compiled nighlty build, with about:config properly configured, and addons like Adblock/NoScript blocking things from ever loading Firefox is significantly faster than these benchmarks state.
    Reply
  • frost_fenix
    I have use firefox and chrome interchangeably for a few years now. I enjoy chromes streamlined design but have recently discovered the noscript addon for Firefox and have since favored Firefox. I have also found Firefox to be more compatable with school webpages and application pages. Still either firefox or chrome is better than IE.
    Reply
  • pharoahhalfdead
    Good point Stoof. I have IE9 and the newest FF, and with the FF add ons, it blows IE out of the water. The majority of IE pages like yahoo video links, boxingscene etc take 6 or more seconds to load, whereas FF is only a fraction of the time.

    I think add ons are much easier to find with FF, and there seems to be a wider variety. Then again I do realize this article wasn't about browsers with add ons.
    Reply
  • hardcore_gamer
    The only one thing I hate about firefox is that it takes a lot of time to launch.
    Reply
  • adamovera
    stoofThe best part is I'm quite sure that this is using an out of the box build. Using a PGO compiled nighlty build, with about:config properly configured, and addons like Adblock/NoScript blocking things from ever loading Firefox is significantly faster than these benchmarks state.Yes, we're using everything stock. There is no one-size-fits-all combination of plug-ins to standardize on, and every browser might not have the exact same plugins available. So that throws out a fair comparison between browsers - wouldn't work for the WBGP. Perhaps an article concentrating specifically on Firefox (or another Web browser) with and without various plug-ins would clear that up?
    Reply
  • Please use Firefox's latest logo, the one with the shiny orb in Mozilla's press kit! The one they're using now is the old one. http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/brand/identity/
    Reply
  • nevertell
    Chrome is the easiest to use if you've got lots of tabs open. Scrolling through them with mouse is a breeze and tab management is just excellent.
    Reply
  • soccerdocks
    frost_fenix. I enjoy chromes streamlined design but have recently discovered the noscript addon for Firefox and have since favored Firefox.
    Why do people seem to forget Chrome has this built in. All you have to do is go into the options menu and disable JavaScript.
    Reply