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

Crowning A Web-Browsing King In Windows 7 And OS X

We have a whole lot of exciting geekery planned today. But first, let's get everyone up to speed. There have been a handful of developments in the world of Web browsing since Web Browser Grand Prix 5: Opera 11.50, Firefox 5, Chrome 12:

Recent Events

07/20/11: Apple Releases version 10.7 of Mac OS X, dubbed Lion, along with Safari 5.1
08/02/11: Google Releases Chrome 13
08/16/11: Mozilla Releases Firefox 6
08/25/11: Steve Jobs resigns as Apple's Chief Executive Officer. Contrary to what many speculated, Apple's stock remains strong.

Recent Drama

08/13/11: A Mozilla developer incites fear and chaos by suggesting the removal of version numbers altogether.
08/15/11: Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 is declared the Web browser most safe from phishing.
08/16/11: Google refutes the validity of that report.

Mac OS X

Back in July of last year, we threw Web Browser Grand Prix (WBGP) contenders Chrome, Firefox, and Opera onto an Ubuntu Linux track in Web Browser Grand Prix 2: Running The Linux Circuit. The results were compared to those of their Windows 7 counterparts from Web Browser Grand Prix 2: Top 5 Tested And Ranked. As the “Linux guy,” doing that article seemed perfectly natural to me. After all, how Web browsers perform in Windows really didn't matter to me, personally.

What we didn't see coming was the number of requests for a Mac-based Web Browser Grand Prix, and the calls for us to run Safari on OS X haven't stopped since.

In case you didn't notice, this is Web Browser Grand Prix VI, not Web Browser Grand Prix 6. That's because the twist this time is Mac OS X. We're running Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Safari on Mac OS X, along with the usual suspects on Windows 7.

Tom's Hardware is going Mac?

That's not it at all. We said we're running Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Safari, on Mac OS X. We did not say we're running them on a Mac. We're using the same Core i5-based desktop test system used for many of our other software-based stories. It just so happens we had OS X Snow Leopard testing in mind when it came to designing a reference cross-platform test system.

The OS X Lion Desktop

WBGP Test Suite v6.0

Once again, we tweaked our test suite for this story. The new composite page-load time tests are improved, expanded, and updated. There are all-new WebGL benchmarks, and Sputnik is replaced by Ecma test262. The methodology of the Maze Solver benchmark and memory management tests is improved to better reflect real-world usage scenarios. Enhanced placing tables and improved analysis round out the changes.

Which Web browser is best? Which operating system holds Web browsing supremacy? We'll answer that. But before we fire the starting pistol, let's take a deeper look at the contenders and course.

  • ne0nguy
    The first chart says "higher is better" for the load time
  • adamovera
    ne0nguyThe first chart says "higher is better" for the load timethank you, workin' on it
  • SteelCity1981
    Chrome is the best browser out there right now. While FireFox maybe more popular then Chrome is, Chrome has shown why it is the best browser out today. If you haven't used Chrome yet it's def worth a look.
  • soccerdocks
    The reader function in safari actually looks really nice. Although I'd never use Safari on principle. I hope other browsers implement a similar function.
  • mayankleoboy1
    why does firefox(6/8/9) performa so horribly on the IE9 maze solover test?
    chrome13 completely obliterats it.

    and firefox 8/9 are still a memory hog.
    not really surprised by poor show of ie9. moat updates it gets are "security updates".
  • tofu2go
    Being on a Macbook with only 3GB of memory, memory is the most important factor for me. I open a LOT of tabs and I keep them open for long periods. For awhile I used Chrome, but recently switched to Firefox 6 and saw my memory utilization drop by well over 1GB. Granted with Firefox I was able to do something I am not able to do in any other browser, I could group my tabs into tab groups. I believe this allows for more efficient memory management, i.e. only the current group uses much memory. Not having done any tests, this is pure speculation. All I know is that I'm seeing MUCH lower memory usage with Firefox on OSX. Despite what this article would suggest.
  • @soccerdocks

    Yeah? And exactly what principle would that be?
  • andy5174
    Bring back the Google Dictionary, otherwise I will use Bing Search, Firefox and Facebook instead of Google Search, Chrome and G+.
  • kartu
    Firefox 6 comes in third for both OSes, representing a major drop from Firefox 5.
    According to the graphic on "Reliability Benchmarks: Proper Page Loads" on MacOS Firefox is actually second, not third.
  • LaloFG
    I keep Opera, more memory used and time to load pages is nothing when it load pages correctly; and the feeling in its interface is the greater.