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

Page Load Time Performance Benchmarks

Like the startup time tests, our page load times have also split into two groups of testing: uncached and cached.

Uncached Page Load Time

Non-cached page load time is taken from browsers with a completely cleared cache and clean history. Non-cached page load time is indicative of the loading time for a page you've never been to before.

Windows 7 Detail View

Mac OS X Detail View

Uncached Page Load Time Composite

This chart displays the average time each Web browser takes to load all nine test Web sites.

When loading brand new pages in Windows 7, it's Google Chrome that takes the lead with an average of 1.5 seconds. Second place is shared by Safari and IE9 at 1.7 seconds. Firefox 9 takes third at just 1.76 seconds, and Opera places last at 1.87 seconds.

The finishing order changes slightly in Mac OS X, though Chrome 16 still manages to hang on to first place. Second place goes to Firefox 9, which again earns nearly the same score as in Windows 7. Apple's Safari takes third on its native platform, while Opera for OS X is the only Web browser to take longer than two seconds, placing last.

Cached Page Load Time

The cached page load time tests are performed with the test pages already fully loaded into the browsers cache and history. Cached page load time is indicative of the loading time you can expect for a page you regularly visit.

Windows 7 Detail View

Mac OS X Detail View

Cached Page Load Time Composite

When loading previously-visited Web pages, Google Chrome again takes the lead in Windows 7 at three-quarters of a second, followed by WebKit cousin Apple Safari at 0.8 seconds. Opera shoots up from fifth place to third for cached pages, loading in around one second. Firefox 9 remains in fourth place with a time of 1.15 seconds. IE9 drops to fifth place from third to finish at nearly 1.5 seconds.

In Mac OS X, Apple Safari barely edges out Chrome for first place (both place under the one-second mark). Firefox takes third at 1.1 seconds, and Opera finishes last at 1.25 seconds.

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  • twztechman
    Been using Firefox for years - it works best for me.
  • shiftmx112
    This makes it worth putting up with the constant updates on Aurora. :)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • hardcore_gamer
    The only one thing I hate about firefox is that it takes a lot of time to launch.
  • 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?
  • 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/
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • de5_Roy
    Firefox!!! oh yeah. i use ff and the new one kinda feels snappier. the addons are awesome.
    i know i know, chrome is faster, has market share, ie 9/10 are coming up, blah blah. but ff can still fight. google's benevolent (read: to antitrust-pacifier) fund injection should help ff. besides, chrome is a sneakware bundled with numerous softwares. ff has scriptblockers that block statcounter. :D
  • Nobody else seems to have noticed that this article tries to rate browsers by speed differences that are far less than the blink of an eye. A browser is a tool - just use the ones you want and stop bothering people about their own choices. (I keep two or three loaded on my machine in case one of them has an issue with a particular webpage)
  • adamovera
    Mozilla-fanPlease 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/

    Thanks for the feedback, and good catch. I must have goofed and started making the graphics with an older file when I already had the newer one. Doh! It's all fixed now, and it should update momentarily.
  • arcus_doom
    Google Chrome basically sucked after they removed the Side Tabs option.
  • arunloveshacking
    Have you ever noticed that Firefox hangs up whenever you switch tabs while attaching a file? Or is it only for me?
  • Dear Adam, you might want to remove the html5.com test as it represents nothing but a checklist. In no way does it test the correct implementation or functioning of html5 features.
  • bodyknight
    I haven't read the name Soyo in a review since a decade ago...
  • MCstrick
    nevertellChrome 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.


    Firefox can do the same with tab mix plus. I couldn't live without scrolling though my tabs.
  • freggo
    Firefox wins, yet Chrome is #1 in usage.
    Just like VHS vs Beta, NTSC vs PAL or Gasoline vs Electric... just because the public likes something does not mean it is the best solution.
  • mayne92
    Great review Adam...as usual! Awesome work. A good read with my morning coffee! :)
  • A Bad Day
    I think Tom's Hardware should also include testing on Windows xp, as it still has a large amount of users.

    I also think they should throw in Internet Explorer 6 for the kicks and giggles.
  • aznjoka
    Opera is third even without html5 hardware acceleration. :)
  • tipoo
    I thought Safari 5 added hardware acceleration for Windows? That doesn't seem to show up in any benchmark. Not that I'd give Safari on Windows much thought.

    Also, I wonder if its inherently harder to include hardware acceleration from a third party Mac browser, or if its just no one has done it well yet because it wasn't their focus?
  • mitch074
    And now, how about adding browser benchmarks on Linux...? Joking.

    Indeed, Firefox is most often used with add-ons: its extension manager makes it easy to download, install and manage these, while Chrome and Opera are best used plain.

    @LegendKiller: people say that Firefox is easier to infect because it's now the only major browser without tab isolation and complete process sandboxing (a system that prevents code from running outside the browser's playground, if you will)... Firefox mitigates this by being tightly coded and very reactive against exploits, actually sandboxing the biggest source of exploits (that is, plugins like Flash or Adobe Reader); moreover, tab isolation can be circumvented.

    @Nevertell: Tab Mix Plus has been around for a very long time; it was considered for inclusion at one time, but the Mozilla devs refused to make Firefox into a kitchen sink solution: they only provide a platform, users get add-ons for the functionalities they want.

    @freggo: your analogy doesn't exactly work, except maybe in the gas VS electric case: VHS was technically inferior to Beta, but was cheaper to implement since Sony asked for large royalties on both recorders and tapes. In the case of NTSC vs PAL, the former predates the latter (BW in 1941, color in 1953) and was made to the best of the knowledge at the time. PAL came later, and tried to solve the problems found in NTSC - please note that you forget SECAM, which had some advantages compared with PAL, and was somewhat compatible with it anyway. In the case of gasoline vs electric, there are 2 problems: the oil lobby is POWERFUL. Moreover, electric still retains a huge problem: power storage.