The BIG browser benchmark: All the latest browsers tested

Summary:The BIG browser benchmark -- where the leading browsers are pitted against five of the toughest benchmark tests -- which browser will be triumphant?

Peacekeeper Benchmark

A browser benchmark tool from Futuremark, the makers of benchmarking tools such as 3DMark and PCMark. The test covers a lot more than just the JavaScript engine, and gives a good overall view of how fast a particular browser is from the front-facing end.

Google Chrome 23 is once again comfortably ahead of the competition, with Opera 12 coming in a distance second place -- Opera's best score to date in this series of tests.

Kraken Benchmark

This is Mozilla's JavaScript benchmark tool. A very demanding test that, like SunSpider, focuses on creating realistic browser workloads. 

A close fight between Firefox 16 and Chrome 23, but Firefox 16 manages to take the lead. Internet Explorer 10 holds third place, but Microsoft has a lot of work to do if it is to have a chance of beating Mozilla or Google.

RoboHornet Benchmark

This is the new kid on the browser benchmark block. It is Google's vision of a modular, independent, and open-source benchmark comprising of tests created and voted on by developers and designers, with consultation from standards bodies and vendors.

RoboHornet is currently in alpha testing, so it is very much a work in progress and as such the results should be taken with at least a small pinch of salt. That said, it is a test worth keeping an eye on, and is another metric by which to test modern browsers.

Interestingly, it is Apple's Safari 5 that comes first in these test, which is curious given that Apple hasn't updated it in months and has not made Safari 6 available to Windows users. Second and third place spots go to the two most recent versions of Internet Explorer, version 10 and 9, with Chrome 23 in fourth place.


So, with all that, which browser is best?

To be perfectly honest, it's hard to draw any firm conclusions from the data given that there's no overall winner. Chrome 23 grabs the top spot in two of the tests, with the other three going to Internet Explorer 10, Firefox 16, and Safari 5, making statistically the latest version of Google Chrome the overall winner.

That said, the score that Microsoft's Internet Explorer 10 achieves in the SunSpider benchmark is impressive, and it pulls in a respectable score in the other four tests, so it's clear that Microsoft has done a lot of work to make its browser a lot better.

Mozilla's Firefox 16 is also no slouch, also pulling in respectable scores in most of the tests.

I've said it before, but it's worth saying again: I don't think that JavaScript performance is an issue any more, and certainly when it comes to real world testing it's hard to see a difference between any of the browsers (certain HTML5 sites notwithstanding, given that some are heavily optimized for a particular browser). In fact, unless one of the players managed to boost JavaScript performance by an order of magnitude, shaving a few milliseconds off here and there hardly matters any more.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Open Source


Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology -- whether that be by learning to program, building a PC from a pile of parts, or helping them get the most from their new MP3 player or digital camera.Adrian has authored/co-authored technic... Full Bio

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