The 2020 Browser Battle: Surfing With Speedby Brett Howse on September 10, 2020 8:00 AM EST
- Posted in
- Google Chrome
- Microsoft Edge
As websites have gotten more and more complex, the browser’s scripting performance has continued to be extremely important. To quantitatively analyze this performance, we turn to several web-based scripting tests. The specific tests we normally leverage are being expanded to include a wider variety of workloads to get a better handle on how each browser can handle them. And, just for fun, we are including some incredibly old scripting tests just to show why they are not used any longer.
As far as hardware we are turning to the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3, featuring the Intel Core i7-1065G7 which is based on Intel’s 10 nm Ice Lake platform. It is set to run in its maximum performance mode during these tests to give the CPU its maximum boost.
In this first test, Firefox is the clear winner, easily outclassing all of the Chromium browsers which are all within a few points of each other. Interestingly, classic Edge and new Edge are almost tied. Internet Explorer does not fare as well.
For this test with different browsers, the scores are actually fairly similar for most browsers, although classic Edge and Internet Explorer both do poorly, with the latter not even loading the page. Interestingly, Chromium Edge does outperform the other Chromium browsers by a few points here.
Again, we see Microsoft’s Chromium Edge slightly edge (pun intended) the other Chromium browsers. Mozilla Firefox is not quite as fast here as the Chromium browsers, and classic Edge and Internet Explorer both failed to load the test at all.
The original Octane was released in 2012, and the later Octane 2.0 was one of the most popular scripting performance benchmarks around. It focused on peak scripting performance, and as is the case, over time browser scripting engines had optimized their code to solve many of the bottlenecks that Octane was originally designed to put a spotlight on, and as such, the benchmark was retired by Google in 2017. New bottlenecks that were not being represented in Octane were common in popular sites, and this is a typical scenario with all benchmarks, but the web moves at a rapid pace.
Here we see some wide variation in results, with Chromium Edge again at the top of the stack, followed closely by Opera, and of course both are based on Chromium, but Google Chrome was not as performant on this test. All of the Chromium browsers did outperform all other browser though, with Firefox slightly behind Chrome here. Classic Edge was a bit further back, and of course Internet Explorer with its very outdated scripting engine was far behind the rest, although at least this test did run in IE 11.
Created by Mozilla, Kraken runs several test cases from real-world applications and libraries, and includes 14 subtests. Results are reported in milliseconds to complete the tests, and as it is time-based, lower results are better.
Mozilla Firefox is our fastest browser in this test, although only by a hair. Again we see Microsoft’s implementation of Chromium Edge outperform the other Chromium browsers, although all of them are in the same range of results. Classic Edge takes a definite step back in performance here, and Internet Explorer trails the pack by a wide margin.
The last version of SunSpider was 1.0.2. Once this was likely the most popular scripting test around, and likely due to that, developers optimized their code to quickly overcome this test, and then found ways to work around it. SunSpider was retired and is no longer a relevant test, but since it is not too difficult to run, it was added just to see how modern browsers perform on it.
Interestingly Internet Explorer, and the newer browser based off of its code, classic Edge using EdgeHTML, both perform suspiciously high on this now retired benchmark. Whether that is due to Microsoft’s Chakra scripting engine still containing “optimizations” for SunSpider is somewhat irrelevant, as not only has the benchmark been retired, but both Internet Explorer and classic Edge are both also defunct as well.
With so many browser makers now using Chromium as their base, and contributing to its code, it should not be a huge surprise to see the Chromium browsers offering the highest scores here. Firefox does very well though, only a couple of points behind. Classic Edge, which has not been developed for over a year, is still quite compatible, but poor Internet Explorer is way behind the rest.
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bigvlada - Thursday, September 10, 2020 - linkDon't consider, switch. I have been using it since Opera 12 was abandoned. It is it's spiritual successor.
StormyParis - Thursday, September 10, 2020 - linkI tried, but too early (missing features, no Android version), so now I'm invested in Firefox and have no reason to dump it (I give them a month to fix the Android version).
Tams80 - Thursday, September 10, 2020 - linkThere is an Android version now (unless you mean you tried it too early).
I'm not sure there is much point in testing it though. It's still Chromium.
And I miss proper Opera and there being more competition.
sheh - Wednesday, September 23, 2020 - linkSadly, Vivaldi still doesn't match Opera 12.
Too much focus on esoteric features, not enough on the bread and butter.
Alien88 - Sunday, September 27, 2020 - linkTrying Vivaldi today (normally use Opera) and it's generally quite nice, but it is missing one feature that really has no equal anywhere, and that's workspaces in Opera. Vivaldi has tab stacking but it's not even close to workspaces. I have workspaces set up for different topics and uses, like personal, work, interesting stuff I will look at later, etc, usually use around 5 workspaces. Once you've used this features, nothing else can really replace it, so Vivaldi really, really need to implement their version of it. Oh, and they need to fix their password import capabilities, some come in ok, others are blank, not very helpful.
s.yu - Thursday, September 10, 2020 - linkI'm the sort that leaves dozens of tabs open for weeks and RAM is definitely an issue. 16GB pretty much solves it but with old Edge on 8GB it will eventually crash, I'm worried that if MS makes the new Edge mandatory it would crash even faster.
koaschten - Thursday, September 10, 2020 - linkI don't care how fast a browser renders a site, as long as an ad-blocker gives me multiple times faster load times.... create sensible ads that load fast and are unintrusive and I might consider to stop blocking them.
BedfordTim - Thursday, September 10, 2020 - linkYou have hit the nail on the head. They should be testing ad blockers rather than browsers.
Tomatotech - Thursday, September 10, 2020 - linkHow much do you pay Anandtechtech for their content? It’ll be a cold day in hell before they ever do an in-depth review and comparison of ad blockers. Any worthy winner will see almost their entire readership adopting it and their ad revenue dropping even lower than it is already.
I do agree such a review would be glorious to see but it would be complete economic suicide.
Tomatotech - Thursday, September 10, 2020 - link(I’m sure the staff all use & have their own favourite ad blockers. But it’s a modern day taboo in this particular situation. )