Browser Wars: Best Web Browser 2012

Last November 2011 we started our Browser Wars series, and our first champion is the Opera and SlimBrowser as the Best Alternative.

Now there were couple of updates for each browser.

- Mozilla released version 10 of Firefox (and we missed versions 8 and 9)

- Google released a stable version of Chrome

- Avant goes dual-engine browser, supporting Gecko and Trident engine.

- Mostly minor updates for other browsers.

 

We also did some revisions on our methodologies, removed JavaScript SunSpider test, and added some new tests.

 

Test Setup and Methodology

Hardware

Processor: AMD Athlon X2 5000+ 2.6GHz Dual-core
Motherboard: ASUS M2N68-CM
Memory: Kingston 3GB DDR2-800
Hard drive: Seagate 500GB hard disk
Video Card: Sparkle nVidia GeForce 9600GT DDR3-512MB

Software

Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 x64 with Service Pack 1
Antivirus: Trend Micro Titanium Internet Security 2012
Video Driver: nVidia Forceware 280.26
Browser Plug-ins: Adobe Flash Player 11.0.1.152
Shockwave Player 11.6.1.629
Silverlight 5.0.60818 RC
Oracle Java Runtime Environment 6 Update 27

Methodology

- Avant was set to its default rendering engine Firefox.

- Maxthon was set to its default rendering mode which is Ultra Mode.

- SlimBrowser and GreenBrowser were set to IE 9 as their compatibility and emulation mode, respectively.

- All other browsers were set to their default settings.

- Updates and other plugins were disabled except for the ones mentioned above.

- For loading times, the corresponding websites were set as homepage. A stopwatch was used and measured in seconds. The timing started simultaneously with hitting the enter key on a highlighted browser icon. Only the third run was recorded for this test.

- For measuring the memory usage, we used the Task Manager to check specifically for the Private Working Set that the browser uses and other processes that are related to the browser (eg. plugin container, renderer, etc.)

- All of the Speed Tests – Peacekeeper, Javascript, Flash, Silverlight, Java, and HTML5 – were run three (3) times then get the average, except for the CSS Maze Solver which only run once.

- All of the Compliance Tests were only run once.

- After testing a browser, caches were cleared using the browser’s cleanup utility and CCleaner, then system log-off before benchmarking the next test or browser.

- For our scoring method, we used the point system for each tests, giving 11 points for the top-palcer, 10 points for the second and 1 point for the last placer. If a browser failed to load the test, no point will be given. In case the browser performed irregularly or it didn’t conform to the standards of the test, a penalty will be given depending on the seriousness of the irregularity.

 

TEST CATEGORIES

 Memory Usage

Single Tab, 4, 8, 16 Tabs

 

Speed Tests

Futuremark Peacekeeper v2 Beta

Javascript – Mozilla Kraken, ClubCompy

Flash – Flash Benchmark 2008, GUIMark 2 Flash

Silverlight – Encog Silverlight

Java – GUIMark Java 5 Swing

HTML5 – HTML5 Sudoku, GUIMark HTML5

CSS – CSS Maze Solver

 

Compliance Tests

Javascript –  Ecma Script Test 262

HTML 5 – Peacekeeper HTML5 Capabilities, HTML5Test.com

CSS3 – CSS Selectors Test

 

THE BROWSERS

BROWSER VERSION LAYOUT ENGINE
Internet Explorer 9.0.8112 Trident
Opera 11.61 Presto
Chrome 16.0.912.77 Webkit (Chromium)
Firefox 10.0 Gecko
Safari 5.1.2 Webkit
Maxthon 3.3.3.1 Webkit / Trident
Avant – Ultimate 2012 build 21 Gecko / Trident
SlimBrowser 6.00 build 074 Trident
GreenBrowser 6.1.0117 Trident
SeaMonkey 2.6.1 Gecko
RockMelt 0.9.72.698 Webkit (Chromium)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MEMORY USAGE

The following were the sites used as homepage.

Single tab – www.bing.com

4 Tabs – www.youtube.com, www.yahoo.com, twitter.com

8 Tabs – www.youtube.com, www.yahoo.com, twitter.com, https://login.live.com, www.laptoplife.com, www.bestgaminglaptop.net, www.gamingpcbuilder.com

16 Tabs – Opened another window with the same sites as in 8 Tabs.

It could have been GreenBrowser all the way but it went 3rd place under 16 tabs test. Safari and Firefox use the least memory under heavier loads while Chrome and RockMelt consistently goes down from their previous position as more numbers of tabs were loaded.

 

SPEED TESTS

 Load Time

Browser with Trident engine as default performed very well in this part of the test, consistently placed within the top 4.

Maxthon received 1 second penalty on 4 and 8 tabs because it can’t open multiple sites at once. We have to use Quick Group to do the test. RockMelt received 1 second penalty on all tabs because it pops a Facebook login window before launching the main browser.

Avant ranked last in every test. Upon checking the Task Manager for processes, Avant also opens firefox.exe when launched making it looks like you were launching two browsers at once.

 

Futuremark Peacekeeper v2 Beta

Chrome and RockMelt topped this test with only 23 points separating them, followed by Opera with more than 600 points behind. Other alternative browsers took the last six positions.

 

Javascript – Mozilla Kraken and Club Compy

 

Flash Benchmark 2008

Again, browsers using Trident engine performed very well, this time in Flash, finishing top 3 positions. Meanwhile, browsers using Gecko engine took the last 3 positions.

 

GUIMark 2 – Flash

GreenBrowser topped the Vector Charting and Bitmap Gaming tests while Safari topped the Text Column test. Based on this test and in Flash Benchmark 2008, you should be using GreenBrowser if you frequently visit flash-enabled websites.

 

Encog Silverlight

This time the alternative browsers dominated this test by taking the top 5 positions. Scores in this test are very close you won’t see or feel the difference at all in real world scenarios.

 

GUIMark Java 5 – Swing

Opera took the first place with only 0.02 frames per second faster than Chrome.  Maxthon originally got 23.65 fps but got a penalty of 5 fps because by default, it can’t run the test using Ultra Browsing Mode. Switching to Retro Browsing Mode enabled the browser to run the test.

 

HTML 5 – Sudoku

HTML 5 Sudoku uses HTML5 and Javascript to solve the puzzles. We set the puzzle to Insane Level and 10000 Number of Games.

Chrome and Rockmelt topped this test with 1.824s and 2.007s, respectively. Safari took the last place as it took more than 6 seconds to solve the puzzles.

 

GUIMark 2 – HTML 5

Internet Explorer topped the Bitmap Gaming test, Firefox in Text Column test, and Opera in Vector Charting test but took the last position in Bitmap Gaming test.

 

CSS Layout Performance

Safari was the fastest to solve the maze, finishing with only 12 seconds, followed by Rockmelt and Chrome. Avant, Firefox, and SeaMonkey – all uses Gecko engine – placed last finishing with more than 600 seconds each.

 

COMPLIANCE TESTS

For HTML5Test.com, we combined the points and the bonus points to get the total points.

ECMA Script is where JavaScript standard was based while Test 262 is a test suite to check the implementation of Javascript.

 

AWARDS

GreenBrowser

Champion

Speed King – Lightweight

Best Alternative – Most Improved

Yes, your eyes are not blinking nor you have sight related disorder; what you are seeing is perfectly right. We were totally clueless that it will turn out this way and it took me several minutes to realize that it will get all of the awards, but it did, GreenBrowser get all the awards available for our tests. I checked back at the graphs and it took the 1st Place six times (6x), placed 2nd three times (3x), and placed last only once. If we look back at our Browser Wars: Best Web Browser 2011, GreenBrowser performed poorly in HTML 5 and CSS Compliance tests, it even failed to load some of the tests and placed 2nd to the last in overall ranking. But now it greatly improved not only in areas it was weak before but also in areas it really shines – memory usage and Flash performance. If you look some of the results closely, you will see that customized versions were faster than their original versions – SlimBrowser and GreenBrowser faster than IE; RockMelt faster than Chrome. This is another reason to use alternatives, not only for browsers but also for other applications you usually use.

To wrap this up, we will leave you with the summary table, the points garnered by each browser for each tests.

 

Memory Usage

Speed Tests

Compliance

TOTAL

GreenBrowser

42

125

22

189

Internet Explorer

32

123

23

178

Opera

22

119

35

176

Firefox

28

106

39

173

Chrome

20

114

35

169

SlimBrowser

37

107

22

166

SeaMonkey

18

99

35

152

RockMelt

15

100

33

148

Safari

33

90

17

140

Maxthon

7

84

31

122

Avant

10

59

33

102

 

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