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Web Browser Grand Prix VI: Firefox 6, Chrome 13, Mac OS X Lion

Performance Benchmarks: HTML5 Hardware Acceleration And WebGL

HTML5 Hardware Acceleration

Psychedelic Browsing

The scores and placing of this benchmark are similar to results generated for WBGP5: Firefox, IE9, Chrome, Opera, and Safari. The difference is that Chrome 13 earns a little over 1.5 points more than version 12. On Mac OS X, Safari's weak score of eight points rockets up to more than 1800, allowing Apple's browser to come in less than two points behind Microsoft's Internet Explorer in Windows.

Hardware Acceleration Stress Test

Only browsers supporting HTML5 hardware acceleration achieve good scores in this benchmark. In fact, they max it out. First place on Windows is a tie between Firefox 6 and Internet Explorer 9. Second place goes to Chrome, followed closely by Opera, with the Windows version of Safari 5.1 falling behind in last place.

In OS X Lion, Safari 5.1 maxes out the benchmark at 60+ FPS, creating a cross-platform tie for first with the Windows versions of Firefox 6 and IE9. Opera lands in second place on OS X, with Chrome and Firefox in the distance. 

For those wanting to utilize HTML5 hardware acceleration today, Firefox 4+ and IE9 are still the only options for Windows users, while Safari is the one and only hope on a Mac. 


We've completely changed the lineup of WebGL benchmarks. We replaced the Kronos Particles test with a variation from ThoughtsInComputation. Its version has more going on, which lowers the frame rate so the test cannot be maxed out. It also has the option of adding more particles and other graphics, ensuring that this test is scalable for some time to come.

The WebGL Aquarium from the Chrome Experiments site is being replaced with WebGL Solar System for much the same reason (WebGL Solar System is more taxing and configurable than WebGL Aquarium).

Finally, we added a Mozilla-created WebGL variant of the famous FishIE HTML5 hardware acceleration test from the IE Test Drive site. All three tests yield lower frame rates, are configurable, have higher FPS limits, and provide steadier FPS counts.

ThoughtsInComputation Particles

Unlike the Khronos Particles benchmark, the ThoughtsInComputing variant puts Firefox ahead of Chrome by a significant margin: 62 FPS versus 39. The same result is seen in Mac OS X. However, Firefox only manages to produce 46 FPS on the Apple platform. 

WebGL Solar System

On Windows 7, Chrome 13 beats Firefox 6 in the WebGL Solar System demo, 24 FPS to 16. The placing is reversed on OS X, with Mozilla besting Google by less than two FPS.

WebGL FishIE

Chrome 13 regains its lead in the WebGL version of the FishIE test, beating Firefox 6 by 10 FPS. The punishment gets worse for Mozilla on Mac OS X, where Chrome beats Firefox 53 FPS to 27.

The edge in WebGL performance goes to Chrome 13 in Windows 7 and Firefox 6 in OS X Lion.