Web Browser Grand Prix 5: Opera 11.50, Firefox 5, And Chrome 12

Final Placing Tables

This article is the fifth time we've done comprehensive Web browser testing here at Tom's Hardware. When we started out, the name of the game was speed, hence Web Browser Grand Prix. But each of the top five Web browsers have surpassed the speeds seen just one generation ago. Today, there is much more to these applications than how quickly they perform in speed testing. The WBGP benchmarking suite is starting to really take a balanced look at all aspects of these applications. The placing tables below divide our benchmarking suite into the four currently-tested categories: performance, efficiency, reliability, and standards conformance.

Raw Placing

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Performance Placing(23 Tests)1st2nd3rd4th5th
Internet Explorer68223

Google manages to grab the top spot away from Microsoft in performance-oriented testing with Chrome 12. Internet Explorer 9 is right behind though, grabbing second place with Firefox 5 hot on its heels in third. Opera solidly lands in fourth place, and Safari again brings up the rear.

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Efficiency Placing(5 Tests)1st2nd3rd4th5th
ChromeRow 0 - Cell 1 3Row 0 - Cell 3 2Row 0 - Cell 5
Firefox1121Row 1 - Cell 5
Internet Explorer3Row 2 - Cell 2 1Row 2 - Cell 4 1
OperaRow 3 - Cell 1 11Row 3 - Cell 4 3
Safari1Row 4 - Cell 2 121

In raw efficiency placing, IE9 still takes the top spot. Chrome 12 and Firefox 5 come in second and third (respectively), with Safari in fourth and Opera in last place.

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Reliability Testing (1 Test)
First PlaceSecond PlaceThird PlaceFourth Place
Firefox, OperaChromeInternet ExplorerSafari

In the reliability testing, only Firefox 5 and Opera 11.50 earn perfect scores to tie for first place. Google Chrome falls into second place, while Microsoft IE9 is a miserable third. Apple's Safari just cannot hold up to the stress.

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Conformance Testing(4 Tests)1st2nd3rd4th5th
Chrome211Row 0 - Cell 4 Row 0 - Cell 5
Firefox111Row 1 - Cell 4 1
Internet Explorer2Row 2 - Cell 2 1Row 2 - Cell 4 1
Opera22Row 3 - Cell 3 Row 3 - Cell 4 Row 3 - Cell 5
Safari2Row 4 - Cell 2 Row 4 - Cell 3 2Row 4 - Cell 5

When it comes to the table above, the order appears to be Opera, Chrome, IE9, Safari, Firefox. However, we have a better way to grade each browser in terms of standards conformance. Unlike performance or efficiency testing, conformance tests have defined minimum and maximum scores. We can standardize each test's maximum score to 100 (denominator), add the adjusted scores together (numerator), divide the numerator by 400, and then multiply the result by 100 to come up with a grade.

By standardizing the scoring of each test and combining the results, we take scale into account. As you can see from the chart above, it's Chrome 12 that comes out on top for standards conformance, with Opera 11.50 following closely in second place. The third place victory goes to Firefox 5, with Safari in fourth and IE9 scoring the lowest.

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Total Placing(33 Tests)1st2nd3rd4th5th
Internet Explorer118525

The finishing order for total raw placing is pretty clear: Chrome, IE9, Firefox 5, Opera, Safari.

  • adampower
    Wow, it seems like I upgrade my browsers every week.
  • somehow it seems that firefox is focussing more on benchmarks rather than actual real world usage.
  • opera keeps impressing me throughout the WBGP
    Now if just Google would release a 64-bit Chrome browser.
  • Tamz_msc
    First of all, this is the most thorough WBGP yet.
    somehow it seems that firefox is focussing more on benchmarks rather than actual real world usage.
    I don't think so - proper page loads and battery life are important considerations.

    I agree that Mozilla did not do a right thing in copying Chrome's release cycle, but at least they're trying - for example, they're trying hard in bringing down memory usage by increasing the garbage collection frequency(check this out in the Aurora and Nightly builds).

    WBGP is basically a test of speed, and Chrome may have won in that, but Firefox is not far behind. I can wait for two or three seconds for my page to load. You can easily bring down the page load times by using addons like AdBlock Plus.

    Even with the faster release cycle, this article clearly states that Firefox is still the most stable browser. Many people say that they've had numerous crashes, but its something wrong with their drivers or OS - I have not had a single crash since FF 4.0 beta 5 (or 7?), when they introduced hardware acceleration for the first time.

    Firefox remains the most customizable browser, while Opera has the most number of features out-of-the-box.

    So overall, according to me Firefox>=Opera>Chrome>IE 9> Safari.
  • cadder
    Will you guys please investigate the SECURITY of each browser? I would use the one that is most secure even if it is slowest.
  • Tamz_msc
    9516697 said:
    Will you guys please investigate the SECURITY of each browser? I would use the one that is most secure even if it is slowest.
    That's easy: FF+AdBlock Plus+ NoScript+Ghostery+BrowserProtect
  • ChiefTexas_82
    IE 9 is a speed demon? I droped IE because it started running like ****. I blame loading too many side programs after years on the web. So I wanted to try Chrome or Firefox. Being a Google fan already, I tried Chrome. So far it leaves my old IE8 in the dust. Except for a certain bug, I would say it has been an improvement in almost every way.
  • ChiefTexas_82
    I don't like how Nvidia's GPU auto-detect doesn't work on chrome.
  • thartist
    Damn, Opera has it's flaws but it's nonetheless the one that does one thing best: browsing.