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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mr_tawan - Friday, September 11, 2020 - linkIt's probably better if you just stop using websites with Ad.
goatfajitas - Thursday, September 10, 2020 - linkWhat versions? I know it was recent, but Chrome 84 or 85?
Stochastic - Thursday, September 10, 2020 - linkChrome 84 (see the table on the first page).
cknobman - Thursday, September 10, 2020 - linkNo memory usage tests?!!!
Good to see Microsoft kicking butt as I love the new browser and prefer it over Chrome.
shabby - Thursday, September 10, 2020 - linkYup it's not a browser battle without memory usage, shame!
s.yu - Thursday, September 10, 2020 - linkAh, so I'm not the only one.
RSAUser - Friday, September 11, 2020 - linkMemory usage is a bit iffy, since I'd prefer if my browser uses more memory to load stuff faster if it's available, and all browsers will adjust according to ratios. They'll all release the memory they're using if the system requests it.
RAM is useless if it isn't actually used.
s.yu - Sunday, September 13, 2020 - link>They'll all release the memory they're using if the system requests it.
Nope. There's definitely some sort of memory leak with at least Chrome and old Edge. It's slow but it's there, eventually it'll crash everything that tries to load into RAM, it's just slow enough that most people don't notice, but if you have enough tabs and keep them open for long enough you'll see it.
Revv233 - Thursday, September 10, 2020 - linkOf Microsoft had called edge Internet explorer it would probably still have market share.
People are fickle.
Zeratul56 - Thursday, September 10, 2020 - linkI don’t know about that. By the time windows 10 came out, IE’s street Fred has all dried up and it was the “slow legacy” browser. Google had top mind share in browser in that era. Things do seem like they are shifting slightly now though...