There are no subjective notes in this article, only measurements, tests and comparisons.
The competition for performance proficiency among recent browsers has doubled. All are used daily and all these browsers have made significant efforts to improve their speed and security. There are now new tools to analyze in depth the performance of each browser.
Test setup: Intel Core 2 Duo E7500, with 2 GB of DDR3 and a small Radeon HD 3450 graphics ATI card. It is important to specify this information because it influences the performance.
Differences from one PC to another may exist, particularly in terms of graphical acceleration. We used the Windows 7 operating system. We also did a test without a module installed.
Performance: generally good
We must moderate the performance of Google Chrome 10, which gets this very good score thanks to the Data treatment, where it surpasses other browsers by far. It is not the first in other criteria. Opera 11 is the latest in this same point, but first in terms of graphical returns, DOM applications, text and all other criteria.
A test that gives a good insight into how fast a browser is without of Flash and HTML5. Hence this particularly good and fast score of 216 ms for IE9. Google Chrome 10, Firefox 4 and Opera 11 continue with 247, 252 and 260 ms respectively, Safari 5 is in the queue with 323 ms.
Browsers are not clearly flat on HTML5. IE9 and Firefox 4 can in certain places use the graphic card to increase their performance. In all comparative studies (the GUIMark2 test for fluency in NeverMind the Bullets), we generally find IE9 in front of Firefox 4, then side by side Opera 11 and Google Chrome 10 and the last Safari 5 as it needs an update.
Flash technology can be subjected to a test with FlashBenchmark 8, which measures particularly the performance in flash games. It is Safari 5 that is the best this time, in front of Opera and IE9. Then comes Firefox 4 and Google Chrome 10 behind.
Another very revealing test, the performance of browsers in CSS2.1 style and CSS3.0. It measures the browser's ability to feel comfortable between style sheets and complex HTML collations. We are forced to violate our own rule and use a test provided by Microsoft, because there is no other relevant one.
The browser should try to get out of a complex maze (40 x 40 for this test) as quickly as possible. Opera 11 clearly dominates with 16 seconds. IE9 continues with 32 seconds, Safari 5 is in the third place needing 221 seconds to exit. We had to be much more patient to wait for Firefox 4 that took 809 seconds and the last Google Chrome 10 that took 869 seconds.
Ranking of browsers according to their performance
It is an important point. We measure the memory load and processor utilization peaks of each of the browsers; With several tabs, and after several minutes of use: can the browser be adjusted or becomes increasingly greedy? We decided to take the "linternaute.com" home page as a reference page. A loaded page, animated with advertising and flash panels included. Information confirmed on Youtube (10 video tabs open for 30 minutes).
Memory load in MB and processor utilization in %
20 tabs from linternaute.com
30 minutes after
96 MB / 0 a 6%
318 MB / 2 a 15 %
270 MB / 2 a 25 %
70 MB / 0 a 3%
700 MB / 20 a 40 %
500 MB / 10 a 30 %
56 MB / 0 a 4%
290 MB / 0 a 8 %
De 225 a 350 MB / 2 a 40 %
59 MB / 1%
290 MB / 10 %
400 MB / 10 a 40 %
56 MB / 0 a 10 %
215 MB / 2 a 35 %
310 MB / 8 a 55 %
Firefox 4 opens in a separate process flash content and silverlight content. The base memory load of Opera 11 is explained by its rich base (email client and integrated ftp).
According to us Opera 11 excels in this field. We privilege the use over time and a resource load that remains reasonable and stable, even decreases over time when staying in the same sites. Google Chrome 10 comes out of there well, with a regular refresh of the memory used. IE 9 consumes enough resources, but it becomes reasonable over time.
Firefox 4 and Safari 5 see their memory load increase over time, with spikes in processor activity hampering in the case of the Apple browser. They are the only two browsers that must be started again on a regular basis if you do not want to choke the PC.
In respect to web standards great progress has been made, mainly by Microsoft. In the ACID tests, IE9 with 95/100 and Firefox 4 with 97 do not quite reach the maximum mark. The same for the CSS selector (which defines the format of the content), all have the maximum note except Google Chrome 10 that missing some points.
Sputnik tests browsers at 5 246 points. The lowest score is for Firefox 4 with 5 065 tests approved and the highest score is for IE9 with 5174. The results of the 5 browsers are globally good, although they can be improved.
For HTML5, there really is no official test since neither the HTML5 Working Group nor W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) reported on what the standards of this language will be. However, the HTML5 site proposes several tests on browser compatibility with HTML5-enabled features, such as video, audio, page layout or applications.
Google Chrome 10 dominates with a score of 288 over 400, followed by Opera 11 (258), Firefox 4 (240), Safari 5 (187) and lastly IE9 with 130 points. We speak at this point of respect for the standards and not the HTML 5 performance as previously mentioned.
IE9 which was the best in HTML 5 renderings does not seem to be the best browser to apply the first few recommendations of HTML 5 uses.
In terms of browser security, great efforts have been made. Mainly the reaction time of the editors to correct an uncovered fault. In 2009, Apple took an average of 13 days to correct a Safari bug, with peaks of up to 40 days. Today publishers are generally delayed 24 hours, with peaks at Microsoft, which can take 4 days to correct a failure. Apple may take up to 3 weeks to resolve an SSL certificate problem (to secure Internet transactions).
The reaction time is the most important. But how many failures do we find each year? This depends on the browser. Symantec informs us in its annual balance that it is in Google Chrome where we can find the most failures. However, the reactivity of Google attenuates this figure.
This is the graph of Symantec's Internet Security Threat Report 16 annual report, illustrative of this point, showing the number of failures identified in each browser in 2010 and 2009.
We leave aside the aspect "protection of private life". We found it impossible to isolate the advantages and faults of browsers and what depends on websites, search engines, cookies as user habits. We can not find a way to test it in a relevant way.
Opera 11 has a margin of advantage according to us. Very good in terms of overall performance, although advanced by IE9, behaves very well in resource management. It is a browser that is always respectful of web standards and is also very secure, with few flaws discovered, fully corrected on average within 24 hours.
IE9 is also good and it is the one that starts the fastest. It is very comfortable in daily use. Google Chrome is also fully usable. Firefox 4 is a small disappointment since it has a nasty side that can monopolize up to 1 GB of RAM. As for Safari 5, it is a browser currently outdated in Windows. Not shameful, but clearly behind the others.