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Which Is The Fastest Browser?


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#1 bwelford

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 09:15 PM

I rather thought all browsers operated at the same speed. I therefore made my choice based on general usability. I had moved off Firefox and was really happy with Google Chrome.

I decided to buy a higher speed Internet service from my ISP. It was called the Warp service and was rated at a download speed of 50 Mbps. It would appear that I am not yet achieving this download speed and will be working with the ISP techs to resolve this. I was most puzzled by what I learned on browser speed and thought it would be useful to get reactions.

I in all cases used http://www.speedtest.net/ to check on the download speed. I compared what download speed I achieved on a desktop PC wired to the router (or directly to the modem, which gave the same results) or to a laptop with a WiFi connection via the router. I compared the latest versions of the following 5 browsers, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera and Safari. The desktop PC operating system was XP with SP 3 while the laptop was operating with Vista.

Here are my findings, in all cases based at least on 3 repetitions of each case:

a ) on the laptop all 5 browsers performed in a comparable with download speeds of 20 - 22 Mbps

b ) on the desktop PC, Internet Explorer, Opera and Safari all gave me of the order of a 25% higher download speed.

c ) on the desktop PC, Firefox gave slightly less than the download speed it achieved on the laptop.

d ) the major surprise was that on the desktop PC, Google Chrome achieved only 60% of what it achieved on the laptop PC

I am very puzzled by finding d). I have repeated tests several times. The fastest downloading browser is Safari, which achieves double or more the download speed for Google Chrome.

For the time being, I have switched to Safari as my default browser. I would be most interested to hear any explanations of the above.

Edited by bwelford, 20 July 2012 - 08:50 AM.


#2 AbleReach

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 09:34 PM

Were these tests done without plugins? Plugins can slow performance.

How can you compare the speed of the laptop with the speed of the desktop, for other programs?

I wonder, are some browsers are more sensitive to challenges than others?

I'll run the same tests sometime tomorrow and report back here. Tonight I am a very tired pumpkin. :)

#3 bwelford

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 09:40 PM

The only browser with plugins is Firefox, Elizabeth, the others are relatively 'out of the box'.

In general the desktop PC is the slower machine and is very full.

The main issue for me is the direct comparison of the browsers. Google Chrome just seems completely anomalous given the difference between its laptop and desktop performance. I'm completely baffled by that.

#4 A.N.Onym

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 11:42 PM

Barry, it seems you have mistyped here somewhere:
"on the desktop PC, Google Chrome achieved only 60% of what it achieved on the desktop PC"

Also, I don't think the download speed is that important unless you download a lot of videos from the browser. It's about page rendering and how easy it is for you to use.

I've been a fan of Opera since the beginning (3.0, maybe?) and have to say that having used other browsers, it's still my browser of choice (it had always been [one of] the fastest too, however :) ).

Edited by A.N.Onym, 17 April 2011 - 11:45 PM.


#5 bwelford

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 12:44 AM

No, Yura. I didn't mistype. It seems illogical but I get a lower download speed for Chrome on my Desktop PC than using Chrome on the laptop.

Actually Opera came a very close second to Safari in my tests. It was a toss-up which I would use. However occasionally Safari came in with an even faster download speed.

I agree that there are many other factors but this is nevertheless an important one.

#6 jonbey

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 01:46 AM

You said that you were now using Safari - is speed really that important that you stopped using a browser that you liked?

Apart from when a browser hangs a bit, I have never noticed them to be different. I do get problems with Chrome though, but only when managing my own website using Wordpress, so I guess something technical to do with routers... I am not sure my ISP is the best, but i am stuck with them for a while.

#7 bwelford

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 09:48 AM

I must admit I can work with any of the browsers and certainly like the clean look of Opera and Safari.

I spend a lot of time looking at web pages from here and there, so if I'm saving seconds on each page, then it's bound to add up during the day.

I usually find each browser has some small irrittions. With Safari, the only one is that it does not show icons on the Bookmark Toolbar. With Google Chrome, my Bookmark toolbar showed only the icons without any words. I had the 15 or so most frequently visited pages available in a very small space. I've now created the equivalent in Safari by using a short acronym as the text for my frequently visited pages.

#8 Michael_Martinez

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 01:44 PM

The only thing I can think of is that the desktop and laptop might have different hardware, and that Chrome somehow accesses the hardware more than other browsers.

It's interesting that you see so much improvement over Chrome from the other browsers. When Chrome first came out it was the fastest browser on the market, hands down. I think I started using it within a few months of its first public (beta) release. I've never looked back, but I know the other browsers have been trying to compete lately.

#9 Wit

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 02:01 PM

No, Yura. I didn't mistype. It seems illogical but I get a lower download speed for Chrome on my Desktop PC than using Chrome on the laptop


Barry, we UNDERSTOOD that you meant that the laptop was faster, but you said "desktop" twice.

Anyway, I wonder if I should install MSIE9 on my older pcs now. Can't be arsed to installl Safari, and even Chrome still seems a bit dodgy to me (even though I've never used it).

Firefox is still my browser-of-choice, but I seem to have borked it with my extension. It takes minutes to even LOAD. Downloading and rendering speed is ok BTW.

#10 iamlost

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 02:06 PM

The real bottleneck with browsers as with sites is often javascript. When chrome first came out it's js interpret-execute engine was heads and shoulders better, hence much faster on js intense sites. Given all the Google js, i.e. ad delivery, this is no surprise. Since then the other browsers have built new js engines. Several times. It has become something of a browser js speed race... as they all look ahead to script, SVG, etc. HTML5 heavy sites.

As mentioned by Michael some of the browser versions can enable hardware acceleration for various renderings which might make a difference depending on the versions being compared.

#11 bwelford

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 02:52 PM

Barry, we UNDERSTOOD that you meant that the laptop was faster, but you said "desktop" twice.

Thanks, Wit. I also read at Warp speed so that does cause problems sometimes.

#12 Wit

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 03:42 PM

Cheers m8. Anywho... your post made me think. I was about to install Chrome on my daughter's (old-ish) pc but maybe I shouldn't

#13 mrgoodfox

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 09:01 AM

In my experience Chrome is the fastest one.

Firefox (especially with the latest update) is a MAJOR resource hog for me. As AbleReach mentioned though the plugins in the browser can significantly slow its speed down.

I dont have that many (maybe 2) plugins on Chrome and I dont even have Safari installed.

In terms of IE, I havent downloaded Version 9. I dont mind version 8 too much. I sitll dont see myself using it on a day to day basis though.

#14 Vince Wicks

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 07:46 AM

For me chrome is the fastest browser I ever use. For a long time i'm using firefox but it has many plugins to install with and we all know that plugins my turn your browser slow.

#15 jonbey

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 02:08 PM

I think Chome is faster too, but it seems a bit unfair to Firefox to say it is slower if you are using many plugins. Gotta test them both with no plugins to be fair.

the most important question is now - does it make any difference? Computers may be able to spot the difference in speed, buy can users?

#16 glyn

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 06:18 AM

Chrome never.

Firefox is what I use, because of all the addons for my work. I have a poorere experience because on XP this browser hoovers resources, but that's life.

#17 bwelford

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 08:21 AM

For a period I was using Firefox as my default browser. It certainly performs well and as glyn says the add-ons give a great deal of extra functionality. However I am also a strong user of Google Docs and found unfortunately that Google Docs spreadsheets do not work well in Firefox.

This has now moved me back to Google Chrome which I find faster for much of my work. However on occasions I will also fire up Firefox when the task demands it.

#18 ahamadhussain

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 09:15 AM

Hai...
my suggestion is Google Chrome best..

#19 jonbey

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 09:20 AM

I may be buying a Chromebook or two soon......

#20 cre8pc

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 01:59 PM

It's interesting how there are still browser wars. I was a die hard FF user until Chrome began to offer more integration with Google. It's now my default but I use FF for a lot of site testing because it has many Dev tools and toys I've added. So does Chrome. Between the two I have an arsenal of testing tools.

#21 TheAlex

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 05:48 PM

Firefox has always crashed on me over the 4ish different PCs I've used it on, so I used Opera until Chrome arrived - and I was amazed at how much faster it was. The others have seemed to catch up though (apart from Firefox, which still crashes).

Internet Explorer is the slowest in terms of web design because it takes the most time to get everything working in it...

#22 Vince Wicks

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 08:05 AM

My opinion that Chrome or Safari are the quickest browsers. But I use FF :)



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