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Performance Benchmarks: Startup Times

Web Browser Grand Prix 4: Firefox 4 Goes Final
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Single Tab

Google.com serves as our test page in the single-tab startup test.

When opening a single tab with the world's most visited Web site, IE9 is unbelievably quick. Microsoft's Web browser only takes three-quarters of a second to open and load Google.com. It takes just under 1.2 seconds for Chrome to open a single tab, making Google's browser the second-place finisher. Right behind Chrome is Opera, at 1.25 seconds. Firefox 4 takes 1.36 seconds, while Apple Safari needs almost 1.7 seconds to perform the same task (Apple Safari 5 is available here).

It should be noted that IE9 employs a neat trick of loading the content before the window appears. This allows the opening Web page to be displayed in the IE window during the little float-in animation, thus giving the user a perception of instantaneous loading.

Eight Tabs

The top eight Web pages (according to Quantcast) make up the test pages for our eight-tab startup test. These pages include: Google.com, Facebook.com, YouTube.com, Yahoo.com, Amazon.com, Twitter.com, MSN.com, and Wikipedia.com.

Opera takes the lead when opening eight tabs, loading completely in 3.4 seconds. IE9 is close behind in second place at 3.6 seconds. Firefox 4 is in third, finishing in under four and a half seconds. Chrome places fourth at 4.7 seconds, while Apple's browser needs more than 6 seconds to fully load all eight tabs.

Internet Explorer is the overall winner here, opening a single tab in no time, and right behind Opera when it comes to opening eight tabs. Chrome, Firefox 4, and Opera are still speedy enough for any normal human being, and Safari is the consistently the slowest in startup times.

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  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 4 April 2011 19:04
    I think the conclusion table is wrong in the HTML 5 compliance results. You list Chrome as weak but in the test you say it scored highest. Unless I misunderstand something.
  • 0 Hide
    Silmarunya , 4 April 2011 21:52
    DadiggleThere's 1 test missing security


    Security, UI and features are things that matter enormously, but you can't just run a benchmark and get a fancy graph to measure them. This is a speed test, not a subjective look and feel review.

    On topic: no surprises here. We all knew FF wouldn't really suprise when it comes to performance.
  • 0 Hide
    mi1ez , 5 April 2011 00:46
    Quote:
    around the time OS X 1.7 "Lion" launches.


    1.7? Are you sure? 10.7 perhaps...

    I've actually just gone back to FF from Opera (after just 3 weeks). I'll stick with Opera at work where our quirky proxy server dictates what browser is quickest more than anything. I've missed Firefox, and Have disabled a load of extensions and regained a fair bit of speed.
  • 0 Hide
    forum1234 , 6 April 2011 22:48
    I did some math based on the total scores. If you award 5pts. for 1st. place, 4pts. for 2nd. place etc., Chrome comes out on top and IE 2nd. Imo it's a better ranking sytem
    1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
    Chrome
    5 4 3 2 1
    12 7 6 3 7
    60 28 18 6 7 119
    Firefox
    5 4 3 2 1
    5 10 9 6 5
    25 40 27 12 5 109
    Internet Explorer
    5 4 3 2 1
    13 6 4 6 4
    65 24 12 12 4 117
    Opera
    5 4 3 2 1
    8 3 12 5 5
    40 12 36 10 5 103
    Safari
    5 4 3 2 1
    4 9 1 11 8
    20 36 3 22 8 89
  • 0 Hide
    acer0169 , 7 April 2011 18:01
    I still use IE. I have no issues and it's never crashed, only thing it lacks is a few nice plugins and chrome shows more animation on google and youtube etc.
  • 0 Hide
    mi1ez , 7 April 2011 21:52
    Quote:
    I did some math based on the total scores. If you award 5pts. for 1st. place, 4pts. for 2nd. place etc., Chrome comes out on top and IE 2nd. Imo it's a better ranking sytem
    1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
    Chrome
    5 4 3 2 1
    12 7 6 3 7
    60 28 18 6 7 119
    Firefox
    5 4 3 2 1
    5 10 9 6 5
    25 40 27 12 5 109
    Internet Explorer
    5 4 3 2 1
    13 6 4 6 4
    65 24 12 12 4 117
    Opera
    5 4 3 2 1
    8 3 12 5 5
    40 12 36 10 5 103
    Safari
    5 4 3 2 1
    4 9 1 11 8
    20 36 3 22 8 89


    Yeah, but no sport would ever award points like that! (except nascar it would appear...)

    The margin is normal higher closer to the front.

    F1:
    1st : 25 points
    2nd : 18 points
    3rd : 15 points
    4th : 12 points
    5th : 10 points
    6th : 8 points
    7th : 6 points
    8th : 4 points
    9th : 2 points
    10th : 1 point

    BTCC:
    1st = 15 pts
    2nd = 12 pts
    3rd = 10 pts
    4th = 8 pts
    5th = 6 pts
    6th = 5 pts
    7th = 4 pts
    8th = 3 pts
    9th = 2 pts
    10th = 1 pt

    Indycar:
    1st 50
    2nd 40
    3rd 35
    4th 32
    5th 30
    6th 28
    7th 26
    8th 24
    9th 22
    10th 20

    DTM:
    10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1
  • 0 Hide
    wasabi-warrior , 11 April 2011 07:22
    can i just say it appears to be a complete turnaround for IE versions in the past, which used to be pathetic. It looks like Microsoft lifted their game.

    Just out of curiosity, i wonder what firefox 4 performs like after FasterFox is used. . .
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 12 April 2011 03:07
    For me, ie9 keeps crashing a lot...
    any ideas why? W7SP1...
    really love its load speed though..

    [Avid FF fan!]