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Web Browser Grand Prix: Chrome 20, Opera 12, Firefox 13

The Top Five Browsers, Tested And Ranked

This article marks our return to Windows 7. Believe it or not, more than nine months have passed since we last ran a completely Windows 7-based Web Browser Grand Prix. In the interim, we've switched venues to OS X (twice), Ubuntu, and even Windows XP. While all that OS-hopping provided a nice detour, Microsoft's current desktop operating system is most definitely the big show. This is also, then, the first Windows 7-based browser comparison employing the new scoring system introduced in Web Browser Grand Prix: Chrome 18, Firefox 11, Windows XP. Our Core i5 test system was upgraded from Intel's old Lynnfield design to a more modern Sandy Bridge-based chip, and the Radeon HD 4870 was recently replaced by a Radeon HD 7770. The benchmark suite also receives significant upgrades. We're removing five of the older benchmarks, adding ten new ones, and implementing composite scores for nearly every category of testing.

But before we get to the numbers, let's catch up on what happened in the world of Web browsers since our last installment of the Grand Prix.

Recent News And Events

04/24/12: Mozilla releases Firefox 12
04/25/12: Mozilla officially stops releasing updates for Firefox 3.6.
05/09/12: Apple updates Safari to version 5.1.7.
05/11/12: Mozilla blasts Microsoft for third-party browser lockout in Windows RT (Windows 8 for ARM).
05/11/12: Internet Explorer may be coming to XBox 360 Kinect.
05/16/12: Google releases Chrome 19
05/16/12: IE Drops Below 30% Market Share for First Time in 15 Years
05/22/12: Chrome overtakes IE in market share to become the world's most-used Web browser.
05/23/12: Microsoft claims that StatCounter's usage statistics for Google Chrome are bogus.
05/25/12: Yahoo! releases Axis, an iOS browser with add-ons for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
05/26/12: Rumors swirl that Facebook is looking to buy Opera Software.
06/01/12: Facebook suddenly stops listing Opera as a recommended Web browser.
06/02/12: Microsoft to enable Do Not Track in IE10 by default.
06/04/12: Mozilla releases Firefox 13
06/08/12: The Do Not Track fine print prevents browsers from enabling it without user consent.
06/10/12: Google promises a Metro version of Chrome for Windows 8 soon.
06/11/12: Apple releases a developer preview of Safari 6.
06/15/12: Mozilla updates Firefox to version 13.0.1
06/18/12: Opera 12 is finally released, with unfinished hardware acceleration.
06/19/12: StatCounter fires back at Microsoft, disputes Redmond's critique of its methodology.
06/20/12: Congress approves Do Not Track default opt-in for IE10.
06/27/12: Google releases Chrome 20

Now that we're all caught up, let's take a look at the contenders.

  • mayankleoboy1
    1.what the benchmarks dont show is that in Firefox , if a tab has a heavy page with a lot of CPU intensive workload, the complete browser UI starts stuttering. That means the browser UI is on the same thread as the page loading.

    2. in the 40 tab test, try working in a tab during the loading of the 40 tabs. you will find lots of difference between browsers. FF hangs, Opera and Chrome remain fluid.

    3. how about a test where a browser is using 1GB+ RAM and you are trying to open/close tabs. Then see the UI responsiveness. most browsers can easily handle 800MB RAM. but which browser easily handles 1.2GB+ RAM ?
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1
    IE9 does so good on HTML5 HWA accelerated benchmarks because its able to offload more of the processing to the GPU.
    i tested this and found that during a HTML5 benchmark, IE9 had the least CPU usage, and most GPU usage amongst all the browsers.
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1
    How many firefox users dont use ADblockPlus ? very very less.Also ABP developer is a regular contributor to the Firefox source code.
    maybe you should do a few memory benchmarks with ABP installed just to realistically judge what 99.99% of FF users go through.
    Reply
  • ben850
    WTF Chrome is already on 20?? It ninja updated to 19 just a few days ago..
    Reply
  • lethalsam
    i won't ever use a browser a browser WITHOUT AD BLOCK Plus. (ABP)

    ABP works wonderful on Firefox, i RARELY see any ad. While I have used ABP on Chrome BUT its doesn't block half the ads.
    I know its Not Google's fault, its just that ABP developers are putting more effort with Firefox.

    So for me, Firefox > Chrome.
    Reply
  • adamovera
    @mayankleoboy1: 1+2) Interesting, I'll be looking for that next time 3) That would require a different workload for each browser.
    IE9 does so good on HTML5 HWA accelerated benchmarks because its able to offload more of the processing to the GPU. i tested this and found that during a HTML5 benchmark, IE9 had the least CPU usage, and most GPU usage amongst all the browsers.Really interesting, what utility do you use for measuring GPU usage?
    How many firefox users dont use ADblockPlus ? very very less.Also ABP developer is a regular contributor to the Firefox source code.maybe you should do a few memory benchmarks with ABP installed just to realistically judge what 99.99% of FF users go through.I'd estimate ABP usage on FF at around 5% or less based on ABP and FF usage statistics. Besides, that would give FF an unfair advantage.
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1
    Really interesting, what utility do you use for measuring GPU usage?

    MSI afterburner for GPU. windows task manager for CPU.

    @mayankleoboy1: 1+2) Interesting, I'll be looking for that next time

    i sent a mail regarding this to Chris. but maybe i sent it too late for this article...
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1
    if you open multiple tabs together in chrome, it can use each CPU core for each tab. so if you have a quad core, and you open 4+ tabs together, the CPU usage will be 100% (using all 4 cores) during the tab loading time.
    but if you run 4 instance of dromaeo in 4 tabs, the CPU usage is still 25% (using only 1 core).
    so chrome is not completely multiprocessing.

    in IE10 beta, if you run 4 instances of dromaeo benchmark in 4 tabs, it uses all the for cores. so we can expect better multiprocessing from IE10 and win8 :)
    Reply
  • adamovera
    @mayankleoboy1: I got that email yesterday or the day before, this article was completed a few days before that. Sorry, my inbox usually gets a few pages deep after a doing long benchmark-heavy article.
    Is Dromaeo (the DOM portion) working in Chrome for you? I could not get it to finish in Chrome or Safari on any of my Windows machines.
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1
    i ran the javascript benchmark that ran fine. Didnt run the DOM benches.

    BTW, i run chrome dev version. so that could make a difference.
    Reply