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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Windows Browser Benchmarks

Ok, so this a bit off topic for this blog as it isn’t really a how-to, but I thought it might be interesting to my audience nonetheless. I ran the major browsers through four different benchmarks: Google’s Octane 2.0, Mozilla’s Kraken 1.1, and Apple’s new JetStream and Speedometer (the latter focuses on measuring the responsiveness of web apps by simulating user interactions). For graphing purposes, I normalized the scores on the various benchmarks so that the fastest browser was always 100 (this also means inverting scores for Kraken, which measures time rather than some unit of speed).

To make things interesting, I decided to include some less common variants, as well as the major browsers. I have been hearing about optimized Firefox-derivatives like Pale Moon and Waterfox and wanted to see how they stack up. Here is what I found:

The official Mozilla build was generally faster, although Waterfox was a bit ahead on the Kraken. Pale Moon was consistently last. Both Waterfox and Pale Moon are based on older versions of Firefox. Apparently, the optimizations don’t make up for the improvements in newer versions of Mozilla Firefox, at least not at this time.

And here is how Mozilla Firefox stacks up against other major browsers:

Firefox was the leader except on Octane, where it was pretty close behind Chrome and Opera (which is now based on Chrome, hence the very similar scores). Internet Explorer was consistently near the bottom, losing on both Octane and the Kraken by a wide margin. Although it wasn’t last on Speedometer and JetStream, even coming in second on Speedometer, it was still nearer the bottom than it was to catching Firefox in the lead.

And here I put them all on one chart for a more complete overview:

Finally, I decided to do a combined comparison by looking at how far behind the lead each browser was on each benchmark. This graph is like a target with the bullseye in the center. A browser that was fastest on all benchmarks would be dead center, and the one losing by the widest combined margin would be furthest from the center:

Here we can see that Firefox was the clear winner. Waterfox still outperformed Chrome and Opera, while Pale Moon fell behind them. Internet Explorer was clearly last. Note, however, that the benchmarks are not really meant to be combined in this way and you could probably easily shift these rankings by choosing different benchmarks. Nevertheless, I think the results are interesting.

And for anyone who is particularly interested, here are the original numbers:

Octane Kraken Speedometer JetStream
Firefox 30 9169 3709.8 25.57 65.589
Pale Moon 24 7005 4413.8 19.15 57.805
WaterFox 28 8483 3405.5 21.5 62.103
Chrome 35 9698 3824.3 16.1 55.168
Opera 22 9551 3853.7 15.7 46.022
Internet Explorer 11 6416 6286.4 18.14 50.282