Battle of the Web browsers
Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, and Safari square off on speed, features, and HTML5 compatibilityFollow @peterwayner
Battle of the Web browsers: Speed
Below, you'll find a table I built up running the latest browsers on a quad-core Windows Vista PC with 3GB of RAM. Your mileage will vary, and performance will improve as the browsers get better at exploiting video cards and multiple cores.
|SunSpider 0.9.1 (smaller is better)||V8 version 6 (bigger is better)|
|Internet Explorer 9.0||437ms||1,321|
It's important to regard these benchmarks with a certain amount of skepticism. Both the SunSpider and V8 benchmarks include computationally heavy tasks like encryption routines. These bit-banging operations can be a good test of raw performance, but they're not very common in real-world applications. Even when applications use encryption, they rarely do it thousands of times in a row. Your experience may be quite different unless you're constantly and repeatedly encrypting items.
The benchmark developers try to address this problem. Google's V8 designers, for instance, searched the Web for a number of common regular expressions like the ones used to trim white space off the end of strings, but again it's not clear how common these operations are in the wild. I'm sure the most important number for the user is how quickly getElementById is executed.
This game promises to get even more interesting because Microsoft recently brought up benchmarking the power consumed to load a page. This is sort of related to the speed, but it's increasingly important for laptops and tablets. We may turn to this soon.