The BIG browser benchmark! Chrome 17 vs Opera 11 vs Firefox 10 vs IE9 vs Safari 5

The BIG browser benchmark! Chrome 17 vs Opera 11 vs Firefox 10 vs IE9 vs Safari 5 ... which browser will be triumphant?
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

It's once again time to update the BIG browser benchmark, where we take the leading browsers and pit them against four of the toughest benchmark tests available to see which is the tortoise, and which is the hare.

Here are the browsers that will be run:

  • Internet Explorer 9 32-bit
  • Firefox 10
  • Chrome 17
  • Safari 5
  • Opera 11

Note: All browsers are the latest build.

Here are the tests that the browsers will face:

  • SunSpider JavaScript 0.9.1 - A JavaScript benchmark developed by Mozilla with a focus on real-world problem solving.
  • V8 Benchmark Suite - A pure JavaScript benchmark used by Google to 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 some enhancements.

All testing carried out on a Windows 7 64-bit machine running a Q9300 2.5GHz quad-core processor with 4GB of RAM and an NVIDIA GTX 260 graphics card.

On with the testing!

SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark -->

SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark


  • Hare: IE9 32-bit
  • Tortoise: Safari 5

Results from December 2011.

V8 Benchmark -->

V8 Benchmark


  • Hare: Chrome 17
  • Tortoise: IE9 32-bit

Results from December 2011.

Peacekeeper Benchmark -->

Peacekeeper Benchmark


  • Hare: Chrome 17
  • Tortoise: IE9 32-bit

Kraken Benchmark -->

Kraken Benchmark


  • Hare: Chrome 17
  • Tortoise: IE9 32-bit

Results from December 2011.

Conclusion -->


Google's Chrome browser continues to dominate the browser speed charts, but there's no doubt that Firefox 10 is an improvement over the earlier release, and is snapping at Chrome's heels in some of the tests.

IE 9 32-bit topped one test, and Chrome 17 topped the other three, so the champ is clearly Chrome 17. that said, things are close. In the SunSpider test, the browsers are separated by less than 60 milliseconds.

Other tests are more clear cut. Chrome was once again the clear winner of the V8 benchmark test (bear in mind that the V8 is a Google benchmark), and it was also the clear winner when it came to the Kraken 1.1 test too, although Firefox 10 is rapidly catching up.

However, the truth is that I really don't think that JavaScript performance is an issue any more, and certainly in real-world testing it's hard to see a difference between the browsers (some HTML 5 sites not withstanding, given that many are 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.

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