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Web browser showdown: Which Windows app is really the best?


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19-Sep-2012, 10:30 PM #1
Post Web browser showdown: Which Windows app is really the best?
Your Web browser is probably the most-used application on your PC. You check your email in it, you write in it, you collaborate with coworkers in it, you use it to watch cat videos. With so much at stake, you need a browser that works well for you.

But which one is the best? We put the three major Windows browsers—Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer, and Mozilla Firefox—through their paces and crowned an overall winner.

Browser performance
When we looked at the browser contenders previously, we concluded that all the major browsers loaded webpages at similar speeds.

But many new Web apps and services rely heavily on HTML5 and JavaScript, so the browser makers have been spending a lot of development time making sure that their programs render such apps and services quickly and efficiently.

To gauge how well browsers handle HTML5 and JavaScript code, we subjected Chrome, IE, and Firefox to the Sunspider JavaScript benchmark and to the WebVizBench benchmark for HTML5. In addition, we tested on a PC with switchable Nvidia graphics hardware to see how each browser exploited the extra processing horsepower in the graphics card.

Our test PC was an Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M5 laptop with a 1.7GHz Intel Core i5 processor and 6GB of memory. The switchable graphics system consisted of an integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 chipset and a dedicated Nvidia GeForce GT 640M graphics card with 1GB of video memory.

In our WebVizBench HTML5 benchmark test, Chrome and IE 9 saw large increases in performance when we switched to the dedicated graphics card instead of the integrated graphics chip.

Chrome achieved an average score of 5502 when we used the integrated graphics system, and hit an average of 5825 when we used the Nvidia graphics card. IE 9 came in second with average scores of 4797 and 5642, respectively; Firefox finished third after posting average scores of 4492 and 5600. Notably, Chrome did almost as well on this test using the integrated graphics hardware as the other browsers did using the more powerful Nvidia graphics card. So if your PC has a weak graphics card, you'll probably get better performance from Chrome than from Firefox or IE.

Our tests for JavaScript performance were less conclusive, with all three browsers rendering the benchmark’s JavaScript code within 15 milliseconds of one another. Internet Explorer 9 eked out a narrow victory, completing the Sunspider benchmark in 200 milliseconds. Chrome 21 finished in second place at 206 milliseconds, and Firefox 15 rounded out the three at 214 milliseconds.


Winner: Google Chrome. Browser performance will vary some depending on your PC, but Chrome was a solid all-around performer in our testing.

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ekim68   (Mike) ekim68 is offline
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19-Sep-2012, 11:22 PM #2
A personal experience with an older laptop made Chrome the best one for the job....
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19-Sep-2012, 11:40 PM #3
They don't mention what makes me choose my browsers though, unfortunately.

At home, I use 2 browsers. IE 9 for browsing, as it feels just as fast as Chrome, but worlds more stable. When I use Chrome for a long time, it goes wonky on me. Firefox and IE 9 are much more stable (And this is over several PCs).

Firefox has scripts, which I love. When I need to use scripts I use FF, otherwise IE9 is the best in my opinion (Assuming its a Vista + machine).

At work, in the enterprise environment, Chrome is a security risk. 90% of our malware / virus issues come from machines with Chrome installed. Its also AWESOME that we can't easily block chrome, as it writes to the user profile and not to any machine areas (No C:\Program Files, no HKLM keys...). So we have a hard time keeping it off of machines. It is blocked by a web filter, but still people manage to install it and catch virii. It could be more related to the types of users willing to bypass these policies, or the browser itself though.
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ekim68   (Mike) ekim68 is offline
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20-Sep-2012, 12:04 AM #4
Whoa, thanks for that loser...I can't help but wonder if the Malware adapts to the Browser of preference, eh?
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20-Sep-2012, 09:05 AM #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by ekim68 View Post
Whoa, thanks for that loser...I can't help but wonder if the Malware adapts to the Browser of preference, eh?
The only thing I can think of:

Is that yes, Chrome Sandboxes (You can see it in the Task manager, each tab is its own process). And it appears IE 9 does this somewhat too.

What I think the actual problem with Chrome is, is possibly that because it is written to avoid Machine and Group policies, malware has no issue writing to where ever Chrome is. Since it already has access to the userprofile, malware also has access all over the profile.
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20-Sep-2012, 10:19 AM #6
I really wish people would stop claiming "best browser" based on rendering speed alone. All the major browsers will render a page on a time scale orders of magnitude faster than either the internet connection can provide the page data for rendering or the human can read and process it. It's like saying X is the best word processor because it can handle input at 500 words per minute, when most people can't type reliably at 50.

What else could you rate browsers on?
Standard compliance.
Does it show you what the server wants you to see? Chrome and Opera, for example, don't let you use the rich text reply boxes on techguy.

Security. (Both innate and with add-on assistance)
Remote Privacy. (Are they going to monitor your browsing to "personalize" your Google or Bing "experience"?)
Local Privacy. (Do they leave browsing trails as clear as a herd of elephants? How effective is the private browser mode?)

Control. (Do you get to say how your browser works? Even IE seems to beat Chrome on this.)
Add-ons.
Features.

Platform. (Is it even available if you're a Linux user?)


EDIT: Some of these are covered in the comparison linked to, but it's still incomplete.

Last edited by Ent; 20-Sep-2012 at 11:03 AM..
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20-Sep-2012, 10:38 AM #7
And don't forget about the obscure little browsers that fans still think are kind of cute.
Posted with Lynx.
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20-Sep-2012, 01:06 PM #8
I love Lynx, actually. No better way to look like you are working on something very complex and technical when you are really just on TSG
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