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

Web Browser Grand Prix Setup

Test System Specs

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64-bit Desktop Test System
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit)
ProcessorIntel Core i5-750 @ 2.8 GHz (Quad Core)
MotherboardGigabyte GA-P55A-UD7 (F7 BIOS)
Memory8 GB Crucial DDR3 @ 1333 MT/s (2 x 4 GB)
GraphicsAMD Radeon HD 4870 Reference Board 512 MB GDDR5 (PCEe 2.0)
StorageSeagate Barracuda 7200.12 500 GB SATA 3Gb/s, 7200 RPM
OpticalAsus DRW-241ST/BLK/B/AS
Power SupplyCorsair TX750W (750 W)
ChassisZalman MS1000-HS2
CPU CoolerScythe Mugen 2 Revision B

Starting with this article, we're adding a battery life benchmark to the WBGP. Obviously, the desktop test system doesn't work for this type of metric, so we pulled out the old first-gen Dell Inspiron Mini 10v for this new test.

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32-bit Netbook Test System
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate (32-bit)
ModelDell Inspiron Mini 10v (first-generation)
ProcessorIntel Atom N270 @ 1.6 GHz
Memory1 GB DDR2-533
GraphicsIntel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 950
Storage120 GB HDD 2.5-inch 5400 RPM SATA 3Gb/s

Both our page load time tests and the new Facebook JSGameBench are server/client benchmarks and require a local Web server. For this, we polished up one of our finest old beige boxen, installed Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Server, and connected it to our LAN.

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Local Server Specs
Operating SystemUbuntu 10.04 LTS Lucid Lynx Server Edition (32-bit)
ProcessorAMD Athlon @ 1150 MHZ
MotherboardSoyo Dragon Platinum
Memory512 MB DDR
GraphicsAMD Radeon 9550 256 MB DDR
Storage40 GB Western Digital HDD WD400BB
OpticalSamsung DVD-ROM SD-616T
Additional PackagesApache2, MySQL Client, MySQL Server, PHP5, PHP-GD, PHP5-MySQL, PHPMyAdmin, SSH, node.jes, NPM, socket.io


Before testing, Windows 7 was fully updated to Service Pack 1 on 6/20/11 for the 64-bit desktop test system, and on 6/25/2011 for the 32-bit netbook test system. On both test systems, power management was set to never engage and all Action Center notifications were disabled. The table below lists all the additional software installed onto the test systems, including drivers, plug-ins, and the Web browsers:

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Additional SoftwareVersion
AMD Catalyst11.6
Adobe Flash10.3.181.26
Microsoft Silverlight4.0.60531.0
Oracle Java6.0.260
Apple Safari5.05 (7533.21.1)
Google Chrome12.0.742.112
Microsoft Internet Explorer9.0.8112.16421
Mozilla Firefox5.0
Opera11.50 (build 1074)


The computer was restarted and allowed to warm-up before benchmarking the next browser. Other than the conformance benchmarks, all of our final scores are an average of several iterations. More iterations were run on tests that have short durations, lower scales, and/or higher variations. The table below lists all of the 37 benchmarks in the current WBGP test suite, along with the number of iterations performed for each test.

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Performance Benchmarks (27)
Startup Time (1 Tab and 8 Tabs)5
Page Load Time (Google, Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo!, MSN)5
Kraken v1.13
SunSpider v0.9.13
Dromaeo DOM3
Maze Solver3
Flash Benchmark 2008 v1.09.13
GUIMark2 Flash (Vector Charting, Bitmap Gaming, Text Columns)5
GUIMark Java 5 Swing5
Encog Silverlight Benchmark5
Facebook JSGameBench v4.13
GUIMark2 HTML5 (Vector Charting 1 pixel, Bitmap Gaming, Text Columns)5
Asteroids HTML5 Canvas And JavaScript 2D3
Psychedelic Browsing3
Hardware Acceleration Stress Test3
Khronos Particles5
WebGL Aquarium5
Efficiency Benchmarks (5)
Memory Usage (1 Tab, 40 Tabs)3
Memory Management (-39 Tabs 5 minutes, -39 Tabs 10 minutes)3
Battery Life3
Reliability Benchmarks (1)
Proper Page Loads3
Conformance Benchmarks (4)
Sputnik v21
CSS3 Selectors Test1

Additional details about a specific benchmark can be found on the corresponding benchmark results page.

  • 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.