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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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