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The next browser battle is upon us. Google Chrome recently passed 1 billion users, Mozilla revealed big changes are coming to Firefox, and Windows 10 is out, which means it’s time to test Microsoft Edge.
In July, we benchmarked the beta browsers. Now Edge has been out for more than a month, and its two biggest competitors have received significant updates: Chrome 45 and Firefox 40. Let’s see what they can do.
A benchmarking program that can test browsers in a definitive way does not exist. In lieu of such, we’re going to go through eight separate benchmarks. We’re also only focusing on Windows, so as to maintain a common platform, and because that’s what the larger majority of desktop users browse on.
We used a custom desktop PC for each benchmark. It features an Intel Core i5 4440 processor (6M Cache, 3.10 GHz), 8GB of DDR3 1600MHz RAM, a 500GB SATA hard drive (7200 RPM), a Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 graphics card, and a 24-inch widescreen LED monitor (1920 x 1080).
We split off a new 75GB partition for a fresh install of Windows 10 Pro (64-bit) and ran Windows Update a few times until it had all the latest patches. We then downloaded each of the browsers, ran all of the eight tests on each, and made sure to take screenshots along the way.
Please remember that if you try to replicate the tests, your figures will of course differ because you’re using a different computer. You will not get the same numbers, but you may get similar results.
Google has always marketed performance as a key component of Chrome. We used version 45.0.2454.85, which was released this month.
Before Chrome came along, Mozilla built Firefox as the fast alternative to Internet Explorer. We used version 40.0.3, released last month.
Microsoft Edge is Microsoft Internet Explorer’s successor. We used version 20.10240.16384.0.
Finally, the part you’ve been waiting for. Again, please remember that the exact numbers aren’t important: How they compare between browsers within a given test is what counts.
Here’s the rundown (click on an individual test to see the nitty-gritty details):
- SunSpider: Edge wins!
- Octane: Edge wins!
- Kraken: Chrome wins!
- JetStream: Edge wins!
- Oort Online: Chrome wins!
- Peacekeeper: Firefox wins!
- WebXPRT: Firefox wins!
- HTML5Test: Chrome wins!
None of the three browsers did significantly better than the others. Keep in mind that browser performance is improving at a very rapid pace, and shouldn’t be your only consideration when picking the tool you’ll use to consume Internet content.
The good news is that as long as you’re using one of the Big Three, performance is solid. There is certainly room for improvement, but Chrome, Firefox, and Edge are all quite capable.