IE trails browser benchmarks

IE trails browser benchmarks

This graph - provided by ZDNet Australia - shows the performance gap between Internet Explorer and Firefox, Chrome, and Webkit.

Vindication for anyone who ever tried to convince friends and family to switch away from Internet Explorer came this week, courtesy of a series of benchmarks showing the latest version of the browser up as an extremely poor performer.

ZDNet's Alex Serpo and Chris Duckett carried out a series of benchmarks on the alpha and beta releases of the next generation of web browser, and the graph they've build makes interesting reading.

Using the popular Sunspider JavaScript benchmark suite – which cycles through a range of common JavaScript operations, including 3D rendering and AES encryption – the pair ran five next generation web browsers through their paces: Opera 10 Alpha, Internet Explorer 8 Release Candidate 1, Firefox 3.1 Beta 1, Chrome, and the Webkit r40220 engine on which it's based. While Internet Explorer's place in the rankings – dead last – won't surprise many, the rather poor showing by Opera's latest and greatest may shock some, especially given its reputation as a fast and efficient browser.

Internet Explorer 8 – which will be the default web browser provided by Windows 7 by Microsoft – fared poorly at the test, taking over four seconds to complete the test. By comparison, Firefox 3.1 Beta 1 took well under two and a half seconds. The Webkit engine also acquitted itself well, completing the test marginally faster than Firefox; strangely, Google's Chrome browser – which is based on the Webkit engine – managed to perform even better, headlining the benchmark at just over a second.

It's bad news for Opera, however: the latest alpha build of the Opera 10 took almost as long as Internet Explorer to complete the test suite. While that's a poor showing for a browser which has always prided itself on speed and adherence to strict web standards, it can perhaps be explained away as being the only alpha build in a crowd of betas and release candidates. Hopefully the company will have the performance issues fixed when version 10 gets released to the general public.

Aside from the surprising result for Opera, the tests show what many readers will have come to suspect: pretty much any browser other than Microsoft's Internet Explorer will vastly improve your web experience – at least, if you use JavaScript a lot.

Mac users feeling left out by the lack of Safari in the test suite can be assured that it was likely to rank pretty highly – Apple's browser uses the same open-source Webkit engine as test winner Chrome.

Pleased to see your browser of choice thrashing the monopolistic competition, or are you an Opera fan looking for answers as to the poor performance of the alpha release? Are these results still not enough to convince you to move away from Internet Explorer? Share your thoughts over in the forums.


Discuss in the forums Reply
naokaji 30th January 2009, 10:13 Quote
I think it was wrong to include opera 10 as it's a alpha version, they should have included 9.6 or so instead.
alpaca 30th January 2009, 10:56 Quote
the graph shows firefox scoring around 1.5 sec, and the text says 2.5

which to believe?
azrael- 30th January 2009, 10:59 Quote
It's not so strange, that the regular WebKit engine fares slightly worse than one used in Chrome, since rendering engine as such isn't tested. What is tested is the JScript performance, and Chrome uses its own V8 engine for that. AFAIK, the regular WebKit uses something else.
Laitainion 30th January 2009, 11:01 Quote
Originally Posted by naokaji
I think it was wrong to include opera 10 as it's a alpha version, they should have included 9.6 or so instead.

But then it wouldn't have been a test of next generation browsers anymore. Since they're all pre-release, any of them could improve. All this really proves is that Opera and Microsoft have more work to do than the rest.
badders 30th January 2009, 11:01 Quote
Originally Posted by alpaca
the graph shows firefox scoring around 1.5 sec, and the text says 2.5

which to believe?

Both - 1.5 sec is well under 2.5 sec!
Goty 30th January 2009, 11:46 Quote
They probably didn't include Safari because the windows version couldn't complete the test without crashing...

perplekks45 30th January 2009, 11:57 Quote
Well, I gave IE8 a try and I think it's far better than IE7 still I'm running FF 3.1 Beta 2 right now.
And if they wanted to make it a next gen comparison why not include FF 3.2? Opera is alpha so I don't see why not include the 3.2a1pre of FF.

Might actually give it a try later.
C0nKer 30th January 2009, 13:20 Quote
IMO Chrome is much faster than its competitors. Although a bit buggy.
Gremlin 30th January 2009, 13:25 Quote
i personally think they should either test all betas all alphas or all release candidates otherwise its not really a fair showing imo

they should also show benchmarks for the current stable versions of said browsers (IE7, Opera 9.xx FF 3.0.xxetc etc)
Nicb 30th January 2009, 14:35 Quote
Firefox RULES!!!! and thats it, more talking about it. Joking :P
UncertainGod 30th January 2009, 14:43 Quote
I think the reason they tested the versions they did is because these are the first versions to include the javascript acceleration technologies.
robyholmes 30th January 2009, 15:07 Quote
Isn't FF3.1 in beta 2? And doesn't Beta 2 have the new Java engine on default and beta 1 doesn't? I think they need to improve on which versions they are using.
Mongoose132 30th January 2009, 16:30 Quote
<3 Chrome, and it's fastest - Just so simple, it seems like opening an explorer window to surf the web, Firefox, Ie and Opera all seem far too cluttered when/if you go back to them :l
eXpander 30th January 2009, 17:46 Quote
Originally Posted by Nicb
Firefox RULES!!!! and thats it, more talking about it. Joking :P

I`m also a FF fan, been using it for 1year, but I uninstalled version 3 after 4 days. Got really pissed when I was dld-ing a 1.4GB file and while browsing, FF crashed and my dld stopped (I already got 1GB down). And I couldn't resume it, so had to wait another hour for it to re-dld it.
Is very buggy and crashes alot. I can`t do a decent 5min browse without it going down.

I switched to Chrome, which is much more stable.
thehippoz 30th January 2009, 18:15 Quote
you guys should try the 64 bit version of IE in vista.. it's just like opening a window- just most of the plugins today are still 32-bit =\ I use firefox here with pimpzilla- but if you write websites, IE can be a pain in the ass as it displays things differently.. the only other one you really have to worry about is safari.. usually write for gecko browsers then come back and put in any extra for IE

java performance.. I used to do some java years back- but mainly flash nowdays.. runescape is java =] it runs fullscreen too anfy rolled over twice off his fat wife when he saw those guys in the uk write that :D
ssj12 31st January 2009, 03:35 Quote
why was FF3.1b1 used when FF3.1b2 has been out for a while?
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