Web Browser Grand Prix: Chrome 18, Firefox 11, Windows XP

Test System Specs And Software Setup

Hardware Setup

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Test System Specs
Operating System 2Microsoft Windows XP Home (32-bit)
ProcessorIntel Pentium 4 @ 2.41 GHz
MotherboardBiostar P4M80-M4
Memory768 MB DDR @ 333 MHz
GraphicsNvidia GeForce FX 5500 128 MB DDR (AGP)
StorageWestern Digital Caviar SE WD1600AAJD, 160GB EIDE, 7,200 RPM
Optical 1Hitachi-LG DVD GDR-8163B
Optical 2Hitachi-LG CD-RW GCE-8483B

The WBGP 10 Test System

The following table contains the system specs of the local Web server used for our Startup and Page Load Time tests as well as JSGameBench.

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Local Web Server Specs
Operating SystemUbuntu 10.04 LTS Server Edition "Lucid Lynx" (32-bit)
ProcessorAMD Athlon @ 1150 MHz
MotherboardSoyo Dragon Platinum
Memory512 MB DDR
GraphicsAMD Radeon 9550, 256 MB GDDR
Storage40 GB Western Digital HDD WD400BB
OpticalSamsung DVD-ROM SD-616T
Extra PackagesApache2, MySQL Client, MySQL Server, PHP5, PHP-GD, PHP5-MySQL, PHPMyAdmin, SSH

The table below holds additional information on the test network.

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Network Specs
ISP ServiceCox Premium (28 Mb/s down, 5 Mb/s up)
ModemMotorola SURFboard SBS101U
RouterLinksys WRT54G2 V1

Software Setup

Both test installations were freshly installed and fully updated as of midnight on March 27th. Power management and automatic updating were disabled before testing.

All the software we installed, including the exact version number of the browsers tested, is listed in the table below.

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Internet Explorer8.0.6001.18702
Opera11.62 (build 1347)
Safari5.1.4 (7534.54.16)
Adobe Flash11.2.202.228
Microsoft Silverlight4.1.10111.0
Oracle Java6.0.310
  • wheredahoodat
    "Both Opera and Chrome feltmuch smoother on our old PC than Firefox"

    I do kinda feel the difference with Firefox's responsive going from my main modern desktop to my older labtop that has regulated to a makeshift HTC. I believe Firefox XUL interface is the culprit; it was a big enough problem for Firefox mobile to abandon it in favor of native Android GUI, but who knows at this point. I guess might actually give Opera a chance.
  • agnickolov
    How come only a single reader requested numerical composite scoring, that's the most logical way of scoring after all! With that said, I'd have liked if you didn't use the rankings but the raw scores after a more intelligent transformation as the input for weighted averaging...
    For example, for each category you could subtract the lowest-placed score from all scores and then normalize in the range by dividing all adjusted scores by the topmost adjusted score. This way the top perfomer always has 1 and the worst performer always has 0 modified score (you'd need to invert them for tests where lower is better of course, e.g. subtract these from 1). Then apply your ranks to these scores and you get the composite score. It's not a perfect transformation, but it certainly has more fairly distributed weight (pun intended) than what you have used here.
  • gwiz1987
    Why is IE8 being benched and not IE9?
  • aznjoka
    Thats my Opera, for those who have never tried Opera. It's an amazing piece of software, it does the job, and it does it better then most.
  • confish21
    Interesting move to make this article. Well done! Don't waste your time on a vista run though... Im so close my release date. xD
  • csbeer
    aznjokaThats my Opera, for those who have never tried Opera. It's an amazing piece of software, it does the job, and it does it better then most.
    XP can't run 9. Need to upgrade OS in order to get higher IE.
  • dameon51
    gwiz1987Why is IE8 being benched and not IE9?XP doesn't support 9, only 8.
  • mayankleoboy1
    excellent review!
    some points:

    1.A lot of corporates still use IE7. maybe you should include that too in your benchmarks

    2.if you remove HTML5 (with and without H/W acceleration), i think Opera's victory margin will be quite huge.

    3.Regarding smoothness, i beleive FF is quite poor in this. But the developers know about it and are very activle working on it. I thik FF13 will be the release when smoothness will improve. look at "Firefox Snappy".

    4. i would like to have a subjective recommendation at the end of the article, something you subjectively felt was the best amongst all the browsers, even though it may be trailing in numbers.
  • mayankleoboy1
    Why did you use the AGP? I bet 99.99% of those Pentium4 era computers use the onboard Intel IGP.
    Also that would definitely disable the H/W acceleration of browsers.

  • Anyone who is still stuck using Windows 2000, Opera supports you.