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Old 09-15-2010, 11:10 PM   #1
Rob Williams
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Default Five Web Browsers: Which is the Fastest?

Your PC might be fast, but what about your Web browser? That's right... Web browser. It might seem mundane at first, but there can be stark performance differences between one browser and the next, and after pitting the five most popular options on the market - in both stable and nightly formats - the results might surprise you.

You can take a look at our performance data and then discuss the results here!
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Old 09-15-2010, 11:33 PM   #2
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I always use Chrome. Looks cool and never had any issues with it.
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Old 09-16-2010, 09:13 AM   #3
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Love Chrome so much at this point. I keep Firefox around for web testing and certain addons, but Chrome has turned into my go to browser for general surfing.
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Old 09-16-2010, 10:24 AM   #4
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I haven't been able to get into chrome at all. I have given it a go a few times in the past and just cant seem to move away from Firefox.
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Old 09-16-2010, 11:05 AM   #5
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Gotta say, I'm a Chrome user myself. I could never quite get used to Opera, I'm not sure why. I like Firefox, too, but I've just become very used to the way that Chrome "feels" for lack of a better word. I also really appreciate the low memory footprint, which is one thing our tests DON'T cover.
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Old 09-16-2010, 12:04 PM   #6
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I'm surprised that the test includes Kraken and leaves out Sunspider. Mozilla clearly made Kraken to make Firefox look fast after all the bad press, just like Chrome designed the V8 benchmark just for Chrome.

Mozilla claims that Kraken is more "real", but they all claim that!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brett Thomas View Post
Gotta say, I'm a Chrome user myself. I could never quite get used to Opera, I'm not sure why. I like Firefox, too, but I've just become very used to the way that Chrome "feels" for lack of a better word. I also really appreciate the low memory footprint, which is one thing our tests DON'T cover.
Chrome has anything but a low memory footprint, considering its separate process per tab approach...
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Old 09-16-2010, 01:39 PM   #7
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Yeah, I've got to agree, Chrome's memory footprint is one of the highest, partly why it's so fast. Firefox has a much lower footprint, in fact, one of the lowest, still need to confirm it with IE, but the problem with IE is that it can hide a lot of it's memory in resident Windows applications and DLL's. I checked a while ago, Firefox with 20 tabs took up about 300MB + 340MB virtual, Chrome for the same tabs took up 1.3GB... and I can't remember the VM. I should do some testing to double check, I have a new clean install of Win7, so I can better compare without plugin's.

I still like Firefox with all its plugins, but I'm slowly moving to Chrome because of the speed, and the fact that it has all but a handful of plugins which I use regularly makes it easier. Still looking forward to the official launch of Firefox 4 though, there's a lot of interesting tweaks, and the new Tab grouping looks useful. I would use the beta, but past experience with FF betas left a bitter taste due to crashes and trying to remove them after.

I really should give Opera a serious look, it's actually one of two browsers I have never installed or used, the other being Safari, but Safari is another matter, I don't like the way Apple bundles Safari, Quicktime and iTunes all together.
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Old 09-16-2010, 01:52 PM   #8
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I'm a Chrome user as well, having moved from Firefox a couple of months ago after being tired with the lack of performance and stability. Chrome is lightweight, and fast. It's far from perfect, but it's about as perfect as it gets for me.

One thing I found odd during testing is that Opera is the -fastest- browser out there, but it also has the lowest market share by far. It almost seems like Opera needs to figure out why that's the case. Of course, performance isn't everything. I refuse to use Opera on a personal basis just because I don't like the company (petty as it may be).

Quote:
Originally Posted by prage
I'm surprised that the test includes Kraken and leaves out Sunspider. Mozilla clearly made Kraken to make Firefox look fast after all the bad press, just like Chrome designed the V8 benchmark just for Chrome.
To be honest, this is the first such article we've written and I pretty well just dived in. I knew about Sunspider, but I also knew that Kraken was supposed to be like Sunspider, but just with some additions. Perhaps that's not the case, and judging by what you said, that seems to be so.

I don't think this will be the last such article I'll be doing, so I'll include Sunspider in the future, and would be happy to consider anything else you might find to be worthy of inclusion.

I also agree on Chrome's memory footprint... I am pretty sure it's the worst. But it's because of that memory footprint that it remains super fast.
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Old 09-16-2010, 03:21 PM   #9
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Default Has to be Opera

Any serious surfer will already be a long-term Opera user, simply because they introduce the innovations that people take for granted today years before anyone else.

The fact that Opera also competes on speed, feature-set, security and is easily the most conservative in memory terms, and also the most widespread in platform support terms is just an added bonus.

Why compromise your privacy by using Chrome, when Opera offers everything Chrome offers, and so much more (like Mail/Chat/News/RSS/Bittorrent and more).

The usual excuse is of course because some heard once that Opera does not have AdBlock+ or NoScript. Both of which of course are utter crap, as Opera has both of these built in, no extensions needed.

The problem is, too many people are too lazy to look elsewhere other than the top 2 or 3 browsers, or simply believe the cherry picked truth the American bloggers love to pass on.
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Old 09-16-2010, 03:27 PM   #10
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Default Browser Marketshare

Browser quality and marketshare have no relation whatsoever. Some of the best things in life don't have the best marketshare. My Ferrari is awesome, but I heard they don't sell as many of them as they do Toyotas.

Opera trumps all the other browsers in pretty much every respect. I don't care that other people don't use it. I know that I am getting the best browsing experience bar none, the best security, bar none, the best features bar none. That's all that matters to me. Let the dumb fanboys fight it out.
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Old 09-16-2010, 04:00 PM   #11
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No offense, but you sound like Opera PR. Most Opera fans I've come across have been rather passionate about their browser of choice, though, and there's nothing really wrong with that. There's no browser I could rave about in the same manner, because I find brutal faults with all of them.

Even though I don't like the browser (or the company... that European Microsoft debacle really rubbed me the wrong way), I agree 100% that other browsers lift features from it willy nilly. During testing, my jaw dropped when I saw how many aesthetic cues Firefox 4.0 had taken from Opera... all the way down to the top-left menu button.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered
Browser quality and marketshare have no relation whatsoever. Some of the best things in life don't have the best marketshare. My Ferrari is awesome, but I heard they don't sell as many of them as they do Toyotas.
That's a poor comparison. Anyone has access to any one of these browsers, while only a select few could choose a Ferrari over a Toyota. Do you really think that if Ferraris were as easily acquirable, they'd still be rare? I don't think so. I use Linux, which has a drop-in-the-bucket marketshare, but I sure don't think it's the best OS around.

Browsers are free to download, and the fact that Google's Chrome rose to popularity so quickly pretty much states that Opera is doing something wrong. It could be with marketing, I don't know. What I do know is that for years, I absolutely loathed the layout and default features of the browser. It seemed to be more bloated than anything else I ever used, and I found some features to be counter-intuitive. I am not talking about like five years ago, but just last year when I last gave it a go.

In testing the browser for this article, I could see that things changed a bit, because I wasn't looking at a bloated-looking piece of software, but a slimmer one... on par with what I'd expect to see from Firefox. For that reason alone I'd personally be more interested in trying out the browser again, but I still plan to stick to Chrome. It suits me well enough, and since I use Linux and know how to use a computer, security features don't matter a great deal to me.
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Old 09-16-2010, 04:39 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
Why compromise your privacy by using Chrome, when Opera offers everything Chrome offers, and so much more (like Mail/Chat/News/RSS/Bittorrent and more).
Having not checked on Opera in a long time, I'm unfamiliar at the moment with its options for installation. So take that into account when reading the following statement.

I see those extraneous features (Mail and Bittorrent especially) as bloat that I don't want in the first place, hence why I try to avoid getting attached to a browser that's cramming extra features down my throat. Frankly it just reminds me of the monster that Netscape Navigator turned into many years ago. What a giant turd that browser ended up being in later versions.
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Old 09-16-2010, 04:44 PM   #13
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My work PC is garbage. It's a dated, slow, dirty P4 so I am always looking for ways to speed it up so I can do what I need to do without twiddling my thumbs waiting for pages to load. One day a few weeks back I grabbed Firefox, Chrome and Opera. What's listed in this review is spot on from what I experienced although I did not have the stop watch ready.

Well done.

I'll probably make the change over to Opera at home based on what I experienced so look out Rob! ZOMGOPERAWTF!
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Old 09-16-2010, 05:54 PM   #14
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For interest's sake, I decided to check out browser usage shares for readers of our website, and over the course of the past 30 days, those were...

Mozilla Firefox - 46.57%
Internet Explorer - 23.41%
Google Chrome - 19.48%
Opera - 5.13%
Apple Safari - 4.22%

The rest is divided amongs all of the other browsers, including mobile. Internet Explorer has seen a major drop in usage over the past couple of years.
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Old 09-16-2010, 07:09 PM   #15
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how can ppl use IE is beyond my teeny brain!
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