Linux Browsers Compared – Firefox Aurora, Opera Next, Chrome Dev

Web Browsers Compared

The browser war is once again at it’s peak. Google Chrome has shaken up the web browsers landscape on Linux in terms of speed and it’s agile release cycle. Older established players like Firefox and Opera have responded with their own faster release cycles. All of the browsers allow ends uses to preview and test  upcoming versions. Firefox now has the Aurora channel and Opera has the Next release channel to preview the future versions.

This review compares the current in-development versions of the Chrome, Firefox and Opera web browsers on Linux.  Is the new release cycle of Firefox and Opera helping them to match Chrome in speed and performance? Cutting the chase, lets find out.

Browsers Tested

  • Opera Next 12 pre-alpha amd64
  • Firefox Aurora 8.0a2 2011-08-25 amd64
  • Google Chrome dev  15.0.861.0  amd64

Test Methodology

  • All extensions disabled in each browser
  • Only one test was run at a time
  • All browser cache in a tmpfs ram disk

Test System

  • CPU   – AMD Phenom X6 1055
  • RAM -  8 GB DDR3 1300
  • Disk – Intel X25V  40 GB
  • Graphic Card – Zoatc Geforce GT 460 768Mb
  • OS Ubuntu 11.04 running Unity/ 2.6.38-11-generic #48-Ubuntu SMP

The Tests

V8 Benchmark Suite – version 6

V8 Benchmark Suite - version 6 - Higher is Better

Google  Chrome dev  is the stand-out winner in the benchmark, for obvious reasons.  This is the bench mark that developers of Google Chrome uses to baseline he V8 javascript engine and most likely Chrome is heavily optimised for  this benchmark.  Firefox and Opera fall way behind as a distant second and third respectively.

Sunspider

Sunspide 0.9.1 - Lower is better (ms)

This is another javascript benchmark.   Here the difference between Chrome and Firefox is not so dramatic as in the V8 benchmark, but tables are turned.  Firefox is significantly faster in this benchmark, interestingly even Opera is faster then Chrome.

HTML 5 Test Suite

HTML5 Suite - Higher is better

The HTML5 test suite indicates how well the browser can render HTML5.  Google Chrome with 342/450 leads the pack, with Opera coming last with 286/450. Firefox is in between with 314/450.

This will be a bench mark to watch out for in future. As HTML5 becomes more widespread in the future, the winner will be the one that has the best support for HTML5.

Acid3 Test

Sunspide 0.9.1 - Lower is better (ms)

Only Firefox Aurora misses out the perfect hunderd and could manage 97/100; while both Google Chrome dev and Opera Next came up with perfect 100/100.

Final Words

It is clear from all the benchmark Chrome remains the king of speed and performance on Linux.

These preview versions of the web browsers we have compared will be released before the end of this year, and Chrome will remain the leader for 2011.

What does Firefox and Opera have for 2012 that will beat Chrome ?

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5 comments

  1. Why did you use the 32bit version of Firefox, and the 64bit version of other browsers? 64bit is significantly faster and all 64bit linux distros that I know ship the 64bit version of Firefox.

  2. Also, it’s been explain a thousand times why a score of 97% on the Acid3 test is as good as 100%. The remaining 3% are about the deprecated SVG fonts.
    See: http://limi.net/articles/firefox-acid3/

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  4. It was actually 64-bit Firefox. To be sure, I also rechecked the benchmarks against – http://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/nightly/latest-mozilla-aurora/firefox-8.0a2.en-US.linux-x86_64.tar.bz2. Got similar results on V8 and Sunspider. I have corrected the post where I had mentioned the Firefox as 32-bit

  5. Well, IMHO Firefox aurora should compete with chrome canary which happens to be compiled nightly and not the more stable dev stream

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