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

Startup Time Performance Benchmarks

The startup time benchmarks are split between a single tab (Google) and eight tabs (Google, YouTube, Yahoo!, Amazon, Wikipedia, craigslist, eBay, and The Huffington Post). Both are timed hot (closed and opened again) and cold (first opened after a fresh boot).

Single-Tab Startup Times

The single-tab startup places Apple Safari in the lead at under 0.2 seconds hot and just over 0.3 seconds cold. IE8 comes in second when opened hot at just under .25 seconds, but falls to last place in cold starts at nearly a full second. Firefox takes third in hot starts at nearly 0.3 seconds, and second place in cold starts at just over 0.4 seconds. Opera places fourth for both hot and cold starts, at just under one-half and 0.63 seconds, respectively. Chrome finishes last in hot starts with the only time above a half second, but manages to take fourth in cold starts at 0.62 seconds.

Eight-Tab Startup Times

As usual, Opera steals the show when opening multiple tabs, taking first place in both hot and cold startup times. Chrome places second in both times, under 20 seconds. Firefox is close behind in third place at about 20 seconds. IE8 places fourth at almost 35 seconds, while Safari takes nearly 50 seconds to start hot and an astonishing minute and a half to load all eight tabs cold.

Despite Safari's win with a single tab, it shows incredibly poorly opening eight tabs. Opera is the real winner here, while Firefox and Chrome are top choices as well. IE8 lands itself close to the bottom, ahead of Safari.

  • 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.