Browser benchmarks: IE, Firefox, Opera and Safari

Browser benchmarks: IE, Firefox, Opera and Safari

Summary: Web 2.0, with its complex sites and rich Ajax applications, is an increasingly demanding platform for a browser. In this guide, we look at how the leading browsers measure up.

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Test setup

To test the performance of browsers when handling Web 2.0 technologies, we used the iBench 5.0 test suite and SunSpider, a Javascript benchmark.

iBench evaluates browser performance by measuring how fast HTML, XML and JavaScript is handled. The web pages are held on a local web server. SunSpider, which (unlike iBench) is available online, concentrates solely on JavaScript performance. Tests are grouped into nine categories, including 3D, bit operations, cryptography and string processing; there are several tests within each group. The benchmark runs each test multiple times and calculates an error range.

Obviously the speed of the hardware platform is a crucial variable. In our browser tests under Windows Vista and Mac OS 10.5.2 Leopard, we used the following components:

MotherboardGigabyte GA-X38T-DQ6
Memory4x 1GB Aeneon Xtune DDR3-1333
ProcessorIntel Core 2 Extreme Q9650 (3.6GHz)
Hard disk
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 750GB ST3750640AS
Graphics card
ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT


Topics: Apps, Reviews, Software

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  • But How Reliable?

    Having tried IE7, Safari and Firefox, I have found Firefox to be the most reliable - crash the least often. I had so many problems with Safari in crashing, difficulty printing and opening PDFs that I uninstalled it.
  • Browser wars

    I'll stick with Firefox because it works on Windows,Apple,and Linux systems. I also like the Ad blocking features of Firefox that the other browsers lack.
  • I think Opera is fastest overall

    I've been using mainly Opera 9 for a while now after hating IE7 but disliking Firefox's high RAM usage, Overall I think Opera provides the fastest web browsing experience.

    My rationale for placing Opera on top is simply:
    IE is fast but unstable and its interface is just hopeless, Firefox is a tad slow and uses A LOT of RAM, wheras Opera is extremely fast, uses up very little RAM and has a nice, clean, user interface.
  • Nice test, but...

    ... it's on hardware that most people would drool over, 64 bit, dual core and 4Gb's of ram! This is hardware that, at the moment, only hard core techies would have, most normal users are still on 32 bit systems. OK, maybe mac users have this kind of hardware and don't know it, but how many have this?

    I think the tests here, although providing some useful information, should be repeated on a 32 bit system. I think then it would provide a much better reflection of the current real world situation.
  • Fast speed of www browser

    The high speed is considered as the top proriety when using a browser.