The BIG browser benchmark: All the latest browsers tested

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?


There have been a lot of changes in the browser world since I last carried out the Big Browser Benchmark, with not only new browser versions, but a new test to throw at the browsers.

Let's pit the leading browsers against four of the toughest benchmark tests available to see which one is triumphant. Here are the browsers (all the browsers tested are the very latest versions) that will be run:

  • Chrome 23
  • Firefox 16
  • Opera 12
  • Internet Explorer 9 (32-bit)
  • Internet Explorer 10 (32-bit)
  • Safari 5

Here are the tests that the browsers will face:

  • SunSpider JavaScript 0.9.1: A JavaScript benchmark developed by Apple's WebKit team in 2007 with a focus on real-world problem solving;
  • V8 Benchmark Suite: A pure JavaScript benchmark used by Google to tune the V8 JavaScript engine;
  • Peacekeeper: FutureMark's JavaScript test which stress-tests features such as animation, navigation, forms and other commonly utilized tasks;
  • Kraken 1.0: Another JavaScript benchmark developed by Mozilla. This is based on SunSpider but features crucial benchmarking enhancements;
  • RoboHornet: A Google-led open-source browser benchmark.

All testing carried out on a Windows 7 (32-bit) machine, running a P8600 2.4GHz dual-core processor, 4GB RAM, and an NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics card.

SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark

SunSpider is a JavaScript benchmark developed by Apple's WebKit team in 2007, and has its focus in real-world JavaScript uses such as text manipulation and encryption. SunSpider is considered by many to be the most comprehensive browser benchmarks available, but as browsers have become faster the tests are now seen as too easy.

The clear winner here is Internet Explorer 10, clearly halving the time it took Firefox 16 and Internet Explorer 9 to complete the test, which themselves are comfortably ahead of the rest of the pack.

V8 Benchmark

A pure JavaScript benchmark used by Google to fine-tune the V8 JavaScript engine of Google's Chrome browser. The final score is computed from the results of seven demanding tests. This is the tool used by Google to optimize its Chrome browser.

Chrome 23 aces this test, significantly ahead of Firefox 16 and Internet Explorer 10.

Topics: Browser, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Open Source, Operating Systems

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  • Memory usage more important

    Chrome, when running, makes everything else on the computer drag, since it is a resource hog. IE and Firefox are both dramatically "lighter" weight. Chrome also takes the longest time to start and display its home page of "the big three."

    Thus, I find it bloated. Combine that with the fact that it is spyware, and Chrome is a nonstarter.
    x I'm tc
    • What?

      I don't know what you're running Chrome on but it doesn't bring any of my computers to a drag. It also doesn't use that much resources.
      • Just did a test

        I jsut did a test with opening Chrome and IE9 to this page. IE9 used 140 MB of ram. Chrome 180 MB.
        • Now open 5 more tabs

          And watch Chrome's memory use explode.
          x I'm tc
        • 20 MB more RAM?

          Whoop dee doo! I have 16GB of RAM in my system. Chrome is welcome to use a big old chunk of it.
      • facts!

        I had an average popular spec single core 3.1 GHz HP 4GB laptop and now have a popular spec duel core 3.2 GHz 4GB Acer, both with light weight free all around Comodo Internet Security in system tray. I'm lucky to run windows media player 12, iTunes, or Winamp along side Chrome without fans kicking in on high and scroll bar freezing too offten. have trouble listening to music and Doing research as word takes forever to type.
    • it does take more memory

      which is an issue for low memory devices. but as long as you have a reasonable amount of memory (my 5 year old laptop I'm typing this on has 3GB and has no problems), Chrome won't bring your computer to a halt. and while FF is nice I find chrome boots and loads slightly faster.
      The main reason I go for chrome over FF is that for some reason FF seems to have jerky scrolling compared to chrome which irritates me.
    • Windows seems to be a problem too

      because everything seems to run 2 or 3 times faster on a Mac these times even if my Mac isn't the latest and the greatest.
      • That's interesting because ...

        ... my Core-i5 256GB SSD packing Sony Vaio Z Series (1st gen) generally runs rings around my 17" Spring 2011 MacBook Pro thanks largely to the shitty 5400RPM HDD that Apple fitted this overpriced lump of aluminium with.

        When comparing comparable hardware, Windows 7/8 give OSX a run for their money. Further, I'd argue that many more Windows apps have been written to take advantage of multiple threads: I see FAR more OSX apps choke while they consume a single thread that Windows apps do.
  • Correction

    Windows browsers
    Not OSX, not Linux
    • It is interesting...

      I just did this test on OS X (iMac) and the differences between all of the browsers are very minor (5-10%) on most of the tests.

      It would be interesting to see an Linux box (not running under a VM).
  • The BIG browser benchmark: All the latest browsers tested

    Microsoft certainly took it up a few notches with IE10 which when you use it does feel quite snappy and fast. Good to see Firefox still running towards the top as well. The other browsers I won't use.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • Mozilla Firefox and IE

      The Firefox team and the Internet Explorer team are actually quite good friends even though they compete in browser marketshare. Every once in a while when Mozilla releases a new version of it's browser, the IE team sends them a cake complementing them and Mozilla does the same for IE when they release a new version. However since Mozilla releases new version faster than IE does, they send Mozilla cupcakes instead to "not give them diabetes" lol. Point is, they don't have to be bitter enemies. They can compete and live happily alongside eachother.
  • One sentence says it all

    "when it comes to real world testing it's hard to see a difference between any of the browsers"

    Exactly. While it might be tempting to jerk off to these benchmark numbers (nya nya my browser gets a bigger number on a benchmark than yours does) in the end, real world performance is all that counts.

    This certainly puts Chris Pirillo's assault on Surface RT by jerking off to Peacekeeper numbers on a screen in perspective. "Everyone should buy the iPad because it has numbers that are bigger on a spec sheet." Thanks Adrian, you've just proved why such advice is so bad and even dishonest.
  • MS is clearly just optimizing

    it for the sunspider test as that was all the rage a year ago so they could tout big numbers but now no one cares about that anymore. Same thing in the RT tablets, where the sunspider blows away all others, but the actual real world use seems even a bit sluggish.
    On my 8 core fedora system, I get 164ms sunspider on chrome but actually using it doesn't seem any faster than anything else.
  • On sunspider

    i get 258 on an older core2 duo under 32 bit kubuntu so I'm not sure if sunspider/chrome takes full advantage of 8 cores.
    • Does any software

      Does any current software on the market take advantage of that many cores on a PC. Beyond games and specialist tools tools such simulation software, 3d modelling.
      • Games might use 4 cores.

        MIGHT being the key word. Most of my games that I play run on 2 or 3 cores, with the graphics card being the important piece of the puzzle. However, anything that encodes video or renders 3D animation, and most of the apps in the Adobe CS suite (going back to when those programs were known by their individual version numbers) will take advantage of multiple CPU cores if you have them. Otherwise, an animation workstation with 2 xeons, 8 cores a piece, would be overkill.
      • Yes but it is more complicated than that.

        Yes, I have looked at the number of threads common applications run and sometimes it is quite a number.

        But the real issue are the number of processes running in parallel. For example, anti-virus, everytime you open a file it will get scanned. That scan could be run on a separate core. If you are listening to music while browsing, another process. In Chrome everytime you open another tab that starts another process, which during load will want to execute in parallel to whatever else you are doing.
  • I tested all of them and I can't see any difference at all.

    They all brought up the same web page at the same speed, or so it looked to me.
    William Farrel