Couple of days ago Microsoft’s Gabe Aul published a blog entry with bold statements regarding their new default browser of the upcoming Windows 10 operating system:
On WebKit Sunspider, Edge is 112% faster than Chrome
On Google Octane, Edge is 11% faster than Chrome
On Apple JetStream, Edge is 37% faster than Chrome
For the Edge browser Microsoft has again decided to develop their own rendering engine, instead of relying on open source alternatives (Blink, Gecko, WebKit). I have to doubt their decision as a browser engine is a big development effort and they need to be updating it from now to eternity. Knowing that the Internet Explorer has been one of the pain points for Microsoft for quite many years, I could not resist the urge to benchmark the Edge against the latest stable Chrome release.
First let’s validate whether their statements on Octane and Sunspider benchmarks are true. For all the tests we used an oldish Thinkpad X301 laptop, with Windows 10 build 10240, with all the updates installed (as of 18-Jul-2015). For Chrome benchmarks we used the newest stable version 43. All tests were executed three times and the presented values are the averages of these runs.
SunSpider 1.02 (less is faster):
- Edge: 619
- Chrome: 1032
Indeed the Edge scores an excellent result in the SunSpider benchmark, but it is definitely not more than twice (112%) fast as Chrome. The performance difference is still impressive ~67% for the benefit of Edge browser.
Octane 2.0: (higher is better)
- Edge: 5438
- Chrome: 5160
Another win for Edge, with about ~5% margin. Another great result for Microsoft’s new browser, but the speed gain is again about a half of what they claimed in the blog post.
SunSpider and Octane are official benchmarks of browser development teams (WebKit, Google) and it makes perfect sense in terms of PR to announce performance wins in enemy territory. However, when independent benchmarks of a third party are used, the results get even more interesting. We continue the tests with Futuremark’s Peacekeeper and Basemark’s Browsermark:
Peacekeeper (higher is better):
- Edge: 453
- Chrome: 847
A massive win for Chrome, scoring roughly ~87% higher score in the well acknowledged Peacekeeper benchmark. A complete turn-around in the test results!
Browsermark (higher is better):
- Edge: 936
- Chrome: 1557
Another big loss for the Edge, with Chrome being about 66% faster.
What to make of these results? It seems like Microsoft has been targeting their optimization effort for the competitor benchmarks in order to show impressive results for their new product. When it comes to more intensive and complex HTML5 benchmarks they are still miles behind the competition. It is also worth emphasizing that the Edge speed gains on SunSpider and Octane were about a half of what Microsoft claims. Keep in mind however that the results may and will vary on different hardware. Personally I have found the Peacekeeper results to be a reliable measurement of web browsers performance. I would guess that in real life usage of Chrome will still provide a better performance than the edge. Also note out previous tests with Linux Mint vs Windows 10 which suggest that Chrome actually runs faster on Linux than it does on Windows.
What do you think - with the Edge be able to challenge Chrome in the browser speed race? Will you be switching to Edge with the Windows 10 update, or sticking with Chrome (or Firefox)?