Browser wars, 2011

Which browser is best for security, speed, and compliance with web standards?

By , ITworld |  Software, Chrome, Firefox

Kraken 1.0

Kraken

Kraken 1.0 is Mozilla's second try at a JavaScript benchmark. It's built on the popular SunSpider benchmark but, according to Mozilla, "Kraken focuses on realistic workloads and forward-looking applications."

In the Kraken test, the lower scores are best. Since this benchmark is designed by Firefox's parent, it probably won't surprise you to know that Firefox comes in first. Chrome is a close second. Then, there's a big gap and Opera takes a distant third, then Internet Explorer, and Safari limps along in last place.

Peacekeeper

PeaceKeeper

Peacekeeper comes from FutureMark, a PC and mobile benchmarking company. Like the others, it measures JavaScript performance.

In Peacekeeper, higher scores are better. Chrome really shows well on this test, easily outdistancing second place Opera. IE takes third, Safari comes in fourth, with Firefox finishing in last place.

SunSpider JavaScript 0.9.1

Sunspider

SunSpider JavaScript 0.9.1 is a JavaScript benchmark from Mozilla. It looks mostly at real-world JavaScript implementations. This is easily the most popular Web browser benchmark these days.

Once more the low score is the winning score on this benchmark. The browser makers know that Sunspider is the benchmark that people quote all the time so they're always tinkering with their browsers to score better on it. Thus, even a minor update can often make a website look a good deal faster if you just use Sunspider as your one guide to browser speed.

That said, today, IE 9 is the Sunspider winner. Opera comes in as a close second, with Firefox in third, Chrome in fourth, and Safari in fifth. Keep in mind though that even Safari today is far faster, by Sunspider's lights, than last year's fastest browser.

V8 Benchmark Suite

V8 Benchmark Suite

The V8 Benchmark Suite is a JavaScript benchmark from Google and was designed as a way to finetune Chrome's V8 JavaScript engine.

Three guesses who wins the benchmark from Google. Yes, you're right, it's Chrome by a mile. Firefox takes a distant second, Opera comes in third and way, way in the back it's Safari and IE.

So, according to the numbers the winner is... none of the above. The only vendor neutral performance test, Peacekeeper, has Chrome taking first, but you can pick and choose your benchmark to make almost any browser look good.

What the performance benchmarks did reveal though was that all of 2011's Web browsers are far, far faster than previous versions. There's really no comparison. If you're still running the same browser you were a year ago, update it, now.

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