Friday, November 5, 2010

Browser Benchmarks November 5 2010

It's been a few months since I last benchmarked web browsers, so I figured it was time for an update. There's just something innately fun about running benchmarks. These are first and foremost for my curiosity and amusement, not because I think it matters if Browser A is 0.3% faster at Sunspider than Browser B. However, at least last time there were very measurable gaps in performance and results of each browser - more than I would have thought.

This time I'm going to separate the results of official stable browser releases and beta releases.

Browser releases continue to be frequent, and I don't think it is going to slow down. Chrome in particular appears to now plan on major releases every 6 weeks. Last benchmark was Chrome 5 - this time it's Chrome 7. Opera has some modest improvements with 10.63, Firefox 4 is on beta 6 now, up from beta 1. IE 9 Platform Preview has also gone through some more iterations (though it is hard to find)

System specs are the same as last time, except for new video card drivers, which may affect 3d accelerated HTML5 tests.


  • Intel Core i5 750 @ 3.36GHz (Turbo Disabled)
  • 4GB RAM
  • 80GB Intel SSD (G1)
  • ATI Radeon HD 4850 (Catalyst 10.10 drivers)
  • Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium

Fresh boot. No other apps or system tray programs running aside from Microsoft Security Essentials.
Each browser was run by itself, with only one tab for the benchmark itself.

I'll start with Sunspider again. Only this time with Sunspider 0.9.1 (I didn't realize that was available last time):
 Separately, beta browsers:
No real surprises - Chrome continues to lead, but IE9 and Firefox 4 betas are catching up to the 3 leaders. There is much less spread than last time.

I also decided to run The Kraken, a new benchmark the Mozilla team released in September.This will be the only benchmark Firefox 4 beta will overtake the others in. I am curious how accurate of a representation this benchmark will be of the future.

  • Opera 10.63 - 10515.7ms +/- 0.5% [Full Result]
  • Chrome 7.0.517.41 -12046.8ms +/- 0.4% [Full Result]
  • Firefox 3.6.12 - 14467.1ms +/- 0.1% [Full Result]
  • Safari 5.02 - 14589.5ms +/- 0.1% [Full Result]
  • IE8 - I did not wait for this to finish.
Separately, beta browsers:

  • Firefox 4 Beta 6 - 9768.9ms +/- 0.1% [Full Result] 
  • IE9 Platform Preview 6 - 21015.6ms +/- 0.2% [Full Result]
Firefox 4 beta 6 leads Opera 10.63 by a slight margin. Chrome trails by a bit more, followed by Safari and Firefox 3.


Firefox 3 appears twice because I didn't realize 3.6.12 was out at first. All browsers except Opera see gains from last time. This could be due to my updated graphics driver.

  • Chrome 7.0.517.41 - 100/100
  • Safari 5.0.2 - 100/100
  • Opera 10.63 - 100/100
  • Firefox 3.6.12 - 94/100
  • IE8 - 20/100
Beta Browsers:
  • Firefox 4 Beta 6 - 97/100
  • IE9 Platform Preview 6 - 95/100 (noticeable improvement from preview 3)

CSS3 Selectors Test:
  • Chrome 7.0.517.41 - Passes 574/574 tests
  • Safari 5.0.2 - Passes 574/574 tests
  • Opera 10.63 - Passes 574/574 tests
  • Firefox 3.6.12 - Passes 574/574 tests
  • IE8 - Passes 345/574 tests
Beta Browsers:
  • Firefox 4 Beta 6 - Passes 574/574 tests
  • IE9 Platform Preview 6 - Passes 574/574 tests

I must say, the IE9 team seems to be taking web standards pretty seriously. I recommend taking a look at their test center. This will be good for everyone. I'm not a web developer currently, so I can't say if they are truly implementing everything that's important, or just a higher amount of obscure features, but in the end it is a net win. One of the reasons I've always liked Opera is that they strive to adopt web standards.

I noticed something weird in Firefox 4 and Firefox 3.6.12 (it must be a recent thing). By default, when I type into the search box after a fresh install - nothing happens. The browser appears to now require search providers, a la IE, except it doesn't come with any by default.

UPDATE: This is why beta browsers are listed separately. I installed Firefox 3.6.12 on my work PC and it does not have this issue - neither does Firefox 4 beta 6, once it is installed The above must be a fluke. My guess is that one of the Firefox 4 betas somehow corrupted or cleared out the search engine extensions, and this also affected Firefox 3.6.12 on the same machine.

Overall the browser situation is getting better and better. When IE9 comes out, IE8 can finally start going away - it is really the only browser that I can't recommend. Most of the rest come down to personal choice. 

Do you want the absolute fastest browser, but with a few less features? Chrome.
Do you want the ultimate in customization, if you want to download some extensions? Firefox.
Do you want more features built in, and almost as fast as Chrome? Opera.
I'm not sure if there is a compelling reason to use Safari 5 on Windows, but it also isn't a bad choice.

Until next time.

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