Browser Benchmarks: Firefox10 Vs. Chrome16 (WIN7)

Source Technovore

Following on from my earlier tests of browsers in Vista, I now present the Windows7 results. In case you were expecting things to fall the same way, you’d be surprised. The underpinnings of windows7 are different from those of Vista, and so browsers which are written to run at their best in one, may not work so well in the other, and so it turned out.

As before the 5 main clients were tested on Feb 1 2012, using the latest versions available on that day. As with the vista test, the first three tests were run in sequence, and then the memory test was run on all the browsers simultaneously. The test hardware is different from the Vista unit, being an i3-based windows7 laptop with intel graphics. Specifications are listed on a past test.

Browser

Version

Release Date

Notes

Chrome

16.0.912.77

January 23  2012


Opera

11.61

January 24 2012


Internet Explorer

9.0.8112.16421

March 14 2011

32-bit version

Safari

5.1.2

November 29 2011


Firefox

10.0

January 31 2012

Peacekeeper Test

As noted already, the peacekeeper test has changed since the last time I performed these tests, in an attempt to make them more relevant. The final scores are here, but the raw scores are given at the end.
Peacekeeper scores (larger are better)

The strangest thing here is that compared to the vista scores, some browsers barely moved at all, despite a more modern OS, and a faster processor. Part of that may be the graphics tests that suffered from the less capable Intel integrated GPU, but other browsers seemed to rise to the challenge just fine.

In particular, Firefox and Chrome had a movement of only a few dozen points, negatively for Firefox. Yet Opera, Safari and IE made huge gains over their Vista scores. In fact, while Vista gave a spread, with Chrome in the lead, on Windows 7, it appeared to be 2 distinct groups – a lead group of Opera and Chrome, and a trailing group of IE and Firefox, with Safari making a breakout.
In the breakdown of tests, it appears that despite chrome’s heavy lead, still, in Data processing, in other areas, it’s starting to be surpassed. In addition, it’s Chrome’s the only browser to support all the video formats, and WebGL, and if Opera and Firefox get their missing codecs supported, we could see Chrome beaten.

Sunspider

As always, we check out the javascript engine with the sunspider 0.91 test.
Sunspider on Win7 (shorter is better)

The results are certainly getting closer. Firefox has increased its speed, closing in on Internet Explorer. Chrome is, again, the slowest, just being pipped by Safari.

HTML5

Using the tests from html5tests.com, all browsers picked up some points, except IE9. Surprisingly, that also includes FireFox5, which gained 10 points from its last test back in the summer despite the browser being completely untouched. I can only attribute that to the test being altered to conform to the new html5 specs.

While only Chrome managed to break the 300 point mark last time, this time all except IE9 and the older Firefox’s made it. Opera is where Chrome was, while firefox has just nudged ahead for once. Chrome is way off in the distance though as we can see here.
NOTE – these results were identical to the Vista results.

Memory

One of the more frequent criticisms of both Chrome and Firefox has been their memory usage. To test the real-world memory usage, an 8-tab assortment of pages was used, which are surprisingly system-heavy. They were:
Memory test in progress

This gave a balance of data-heavy pages, and active content pages. Browsers were run simultainiously, to ensure they all had the same content. Each browser had the first tab set up, and then every browser had the second, with all actions being the same. The figures were collected from Chrome’s memory manager, but were checked (which is one reason this took a week to get out) using figures from Process Explorer.

The breakdown is as follows.

It’s pretty much the same story as for Vista, with one exception. Chrome dropped from 3rd place to 5th. Windows7 is DEFINITELY not Chrome’s strength, like Vista. Another difference is that the laptop had less ram than the desktop used for the Vista test (4gb of DDR3 as opposed to 6gb of DDR2) which may have been a factor.
Also, while Safari had, again, the lowest usage, it also became unresponsive for 20-30 second periods during the test.

Conclusion

So, which is the best browser for Windows7 at present?
It’s basically, again, between Chrome and Opera. If you want a feature-rich client, and can stand a few foibles (background tab opening locations, and having to click an extra time to start things like flash windows) it may be for you. However, it also behaves oddly with Facebook at times, and many sites that are strict on their requirements will tell you that you need to upgrade to IE7, or firefox2 to continue.
Chrome on the other hand, is fast, but system-hungry, and doesn’t come with a whole lot of features built in. Yes, it does support more HTML5 features than any other, by a long way in some cases, and it’s integration with some Google services is nice (if you use them), as is the inbuilt translation, BUT it can be a bit unstable at times, and that’s never good.
Firefox is getting there. It’s got a fanbase, that’s for sure, but security – something Mozilla has always harped on – is starting to slip. The 6-week schedule means that bugfixes for exploits aren’t being pushed out ASAP, but being held back for the next release, which does save you from constant updates, but doesn’t help if you fall prey to one of the exploits. The memory usage has improved, but now it needs to
Safari is competent and slowly improving, but the three ahead of it are improving FASTER. Windows may be a secondary market for Apple, but it’s a major one, especially if people are going to want to have cross-platform use, as you can already get with Opera and Firefox. The freezing during the memory tests was also worrying, as no other browser had any problems, or hiccups, and that penalized Safari badly.
As for Internet Explorer, what was decent 11 months ago is starting to look a little long-in-the-tooth now, even despite its Sunspider score. While it’s certainly better than previous versions, Microsoft needs to update things more often, at least every 6 months. However, with Internet Explorer 10 already in development, albeit for Windows8, I doubt we will see much in the way of improvement for 9.

Raw Data

Browser

Chrome

Opera

Safari

IE

Firefox

Version

16.0.912.77

11.61

5.1.2

9.0.8112.16421

10.0

Position

1

2

5

4

3

Peacekeeper

Overall Score

2671

2507

1640

1457

1459

Rendering

63.15

86.04

62.10

65.10

34.54

RenderGrid01

fps

162.92

199.76

153.25

199.71

90.85

renderGrid02

fps

122.18

192.62

130.75

155.10

65.76

renderGrid03

fps

12.46

27.29

14.44

9.30

6.16

renderphysics

fps

64.10

52.19

51.39

62.35

38.66

HTML5 Capabilities

of 7

7

5

3

3

6

webglSphere

fps

57.86

NO

NO

NO

39.64

VideoPosterSupport

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

videoCodecH264

Yes

NO

Yes

Yes

NO

videoCodecTheora

Yes

Yes

NO

NO

Yes

videoCodecWebM

Yes

Yes

NO

NO

Yes

workerContrast01

ops

2474.02

2468.05

NO

NO

4287.70

Workercontrast02

ops

2900.55

3575.27

NO

NO

5558.56

Gamingspitfire

fps

51.20

50.57

52.29

50.33

57.16

HTML5 Canvas

26.30

31.36

10.16

12.19

14.59

experimentalRipple01

fps

38.81

48.19

15.66

19.69

22.67

experimentalRipple02

fps

17.82

20.41

6.58

7.55

9.40

Data

62958.90

22844.87

20839.48

21074.02

23136.76

arrayCombined

ops

9812.5

4330.5

6701.5

3956.88

5423.0

arrayWeighted

ops

403956.5

120514.5

64804.0

110011.0

98711.0

DOM operations

ops

5744.24

11798.56

10962.56

3956.88

8164.18

domGetElements

ops

633374.0

191127.0

724588.5

161812.3

508996.5

domDynamicCreationCreateElement

ops

9882.0

14071.03

27735.0

1699.5

16227.5

domDynamicCreationInnerHTML

ops

11222.5

33866.5

22875.0

4611.5

28509.0

domJQueryAttributeFilters

ops

4043.0

17314.5

4635.0

1767.5

3005.0

domJQueryBasicFilters

ops

1347.5

1667.0

1443.0

1093.5

1039.0

domJQueryBasics

ops

3607.0

1931.5

2875.0

1078.5

2367.0

domJQueryContentFilters

ops

2188.5

1796.5

2358.0

1001.5

922.5

domJQueryHierarchy

ops

5296.5

21835.0

5565.0

4644.0

4143.0

domQueryselecto

ops

18680.5

22244.5

19713.5

19340.0

242228.5

Text Parsing

148573.38

136172.35

82306.44

99369.87

69459.04

stringChat

ops

63245.5

46926.5

23432.0

52854.12

57664.0

stringDetectBrowser

ops

293590.0

701877.0

290958.0

296735.91

297975.0

Stringfilter

ops

29738.5

20880.0

38495.0

29226.5

3039.0

stringValidateForm

ops

640704.0

1208914.0

325442.5

221729.48

406074.5

stringWeighted

ops

204624.5

56317.0

44223.28

95328.88

76247.0

SunSpider

ms

303.7

288.8

301.4

247.3

262.0

HTML5 Test

Basic

/475

374

329

302

141

332

Bonus points

13

9

9

5

9

Memory Usage

Private

Kb

475220

422812

121364

375016

223584

Shared

Kb

5036

6968

16646

12165

12165

Total

Kb

480256

429780

138010

387181

387181

Virtual Memory

Private

Kb

747156

62848

220828

654768

654768

Mapped

KB

203544

25932

57204

245876

245876