NZ Homepage Drag Race – Chrome vs IE8 – which is faster ?

Introduction

Recently, Gomez released information that Google Chrome was the fastest browser from real world testing. That got me thinking, how does Chrome compare to IE8 for New Zealand webpages. For most websites, IE8 is the most popular browser, so it will be an interesting piece of research.

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I’ve created a mini-test of 40 New Zealand homepages. I’ve split the test into 4 tests of download performance, that represent a cross-section of the best and the worst that NZ homepages have to offer.

  • 10 top optimised homepages
  • 10 worst optimised homepages
  • 10 fastest homepages
  • 10 slowest homepages

    I want to see if the “quality” of a page affects the ability of the browser to download and render the pages faster. Also, I want to see if network speed has any affect on the ability of browser to the load the pages faster. From a technical point of view (browserscope), both browsers have network similar capabilities – both browsers can load from 6 hosts at once and have a maximum of 35 connections open at one time.

    Summary results

    Chrome vs Ie8 Homepage testing – 20mbit network connection

    Test Network Winner % faster Ave secs faster
    Top 10 optimised homepages 20mb Chrome 7/10 7% 0s
    Worst 10 optimised homepages 20mb Chrome 10/10 46% 0.8s
    10 fastest homepages 20mb Chrome 7/10 4% 0.06s
    10 slowest homepages 20mb Chrome 10/10 114% 5.02s



    Chrome vs Ie8 Homepage testing – 1.5mbit network connection

    Test Network Winner % faster Ave secs faster
    Top 10 optimised homepages 1.5mb Chrome 5/10 0% 0.15s
    Worst 10 optimised homepages 1.5mb Chrome 10/10 41% 1.49s
    Top 10 fastest homepages 1.5mb Chrome 6/10 21% 0.29s
    Top 10 slowest homepages 1.5mb Chrome 10/10 68% 7.18s

    All of the site were selected from the previous full download speed audit in July. Full results and videos of all 40 tests are available on the Google docs spreadsheet.

    Key findings

    • Chrome is at least 51% faster than IE8 faster across all tests. There was some “glitches” where IE8 was faster by a couple of seconds eg. On Geekzone.co.nz, IE8 loaded the page 2 secs faster than Chrome.
    • IE8 and Chrome were more evenly matched for the top optimised pages. For DSL speed, it was a tie 5-5 between Chrome and IE8, 20mbit it was 7-3 in favour of Chrome.
    • The most interesting point of the tests was for the slowest and least optimised sites, Google Chrome loaded slow and poorly optimised websites a lot better than IE8. Google Chrome was hands down winner (40-0) for the slowest and poorly optimised sites for both network speeds (1.5Mb and 20Mb) . Chrome was between 41%-114% faster than IE8!

      Full Results

      Test results for 20Mb net connection (Office broadband speeds)

      Test Chrome
      Tests Faster
      Chrome
      % faster
      Chrome
      Ave Secs faster
      IE8
      Tests Faster
      IE8
      % secs faster
      IE8
      Ave Secs faster
      Top 10 optimised homepages 7 40% 0.33s 3 70% 0.88s
      Worst 10 optimised homepages 10 46% 0.8s 0 0% 0s
      Top 10 fastest homepages 7 50% 0.3s 3 105% 0.5s
      Top 10 Slowest homepages 10 114% 5.02s 0 0% 0s

      Test results for 1.5Mb net connection (Home broadband speeds)

      Test Chrome
      Tests Faster
      Chrome
      % faster
      Chrome
      Ave Secs faster
      IE8
      Tests Faster
      IE8
      % secs faster
      IE8
      Ave Secs faster
      Top 10 optimised homepages 5 35% 0.58s 5 38% 0.74s
      Worst 10 optimised homepages 10 41% 1.49s 0 0% 0s
      Top 10 fastest homepages 6 56% 0.56s 4 31% 0.58s
      Top 10 Slowest homepages 10 68% 7.18s 0 0% 0s

      Bottom Line

      We’ve confirmed that Chrome is the fastest browser and it will load bad websites faster than IE8. So if you want to experience the web as fast as possible, make sure your using Chrome. Do you need another reason to switch?

  • 3 Responses to “NZ Homepage Drag Race – Chrome vs IE8 – which is faster ?”

    1. Nigel Parker Says:

      Why didn’t you use IE9 in your tests? I assume you used the latest released version of chrome.

    2. john Says:

      I used what was available on the webpagetest.org node for Wellington which is IE* and Chrome. The Chrome version is 13 which is the latest version.
      Loads.in service shows IE8 vs Chrome 8 vs Firefox 3.6 vs Safari 4 – here’s the load time from Auckland to telecom.co.nz . IE8 is slower than the rest.
      http://www.projectx.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Screen-shot-2011-08-31-at-11.42.25-AM.png

    3. john Says:

      I’ve done a quick check of IE8 vs IE9 vs Chrome from LA (where its installed on the webpagetest service)
      And chrome still wins … just.
      http://www.webpagetest.org/result/110830_R7_1F486/
      http://www.webpagetest.org/result/110830_N2_1F480/
      http://www.webpagetest.org/result/110830_CB_1F481/