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

Tom's Hardware's Tenth Web Browser Grand Prix

This is the tenth installment of the Web Browser Grand Prix series. To commemorate that number, our test system is going back ten years in time.

That's right, back to the days of IDE hard drives, AGP graphics, CRT monitors, and Windows XP.

Bet you thought it was going to be OS X again, huh?

Granted, this type of test rig doesn't exactly fit with the regular Tom's Hardware crowd, which no doubt leaves a lot of enthusiasts asking one question: "Why?"

Though most of you probably haven't used a system like this since the early 2000s, I'm willing to bet you're stuck supporting at least one person still plugging along on a similarly spec'ed machine as their daily driver. Whether it's Grandma, Grandpa, Mom, Dad, Aunt Harriet and Uncle Al, or that neighbor who received your hand-me-down machine back in 2003, we all get dragged into it. It's inevitable. The calls for help will come.

Since browsing the Web is one of the only modern tasks such a system is capable of, more often than not the issue usually has something to do with "the Internet being slow." So, can the Web browser you leave on that dilapidated machine play any part in making the pre-Vista experience better? If so, by how much?

Before we can get to the embarrassingly-low benchmark scores and the answers to these questions, let's get caught up on what has happened in the world of Web browsers since Web Browser Grand Prix 9:

Recent News & Events

02/15/12: Mozilla spells out its Firefox roadmap for 2012. The browser is to receive a new JavaScript engine and user interface in Q2.
02/21/12: Microsoft accuses Google of bypassing IE privacy settings. Google contends that IE's cookie technology is "widely non-operational".
02/28/12: Google offers up a million dollars in prizes for hacking Chrome.
03/13/12: Mozilla releases Firefox 11.
03/19/12: Google Chrome surpasses Microsoft Internet Explorer in browser market share for a single day.
03/23/12:  Even at three years old, Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 is still the number-two browser, holding an estimated 17% market share, second only to Chrome 17 at 27%.
03/25/12: Microsoft claims Chrome market share statistics are misleading due to Chrome's pre-rendering and the lack of geoweighting by the major stat trackers.
03/27/12: Opera updates to version 11.62 on the desktop.
03/28/12: Mozilla launches BrowserQuest, an HTML5 game that looks suspiciously like The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past.
03/28/12: Google releases Chrome 18 to the stable channel.
03/29/12: Mozilla says that the new six-week release cycle for Firefox is not set in stone.

Now, let's take a quick look at past Web Browser Grand Prix winners and today's contenders.