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Category: Benchmark metrics

Comparing the performance of popular browsers with WebXPRT 4

If you’ve been reading the XPRT blog for a while, you know that we occasionally like to revisit a series of in-house WebXPRT comparison tests to see if recent updates have changed the performance rankings of popular web browsers. We published our most recent comparison last April, when we used WebXPRT 4 to compare the performance of five browsers on the same system.

For this round of tests, we used a Dell XPS 13 7930, which features an Intel Core i3-10110U processor and 4 GB of RAM, running Windows 11 Home updated to version 22H2 (22621.1105). We installed all current Windows updates, and updated each of the browsers under test: Brave, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera.

After the update process completed, we turned off updates to prevent them from interfering with test runs. We ran WebXPRT 4 three times on each of the five browsers. The score we post for each browser is the median of the three test runs.

In our last round of tests, Edge was the clear winner, with a 2.2 percent performance advantage over Chrome. Firefox came in last, about 3 percent slower than Opera, which was in the middle of the pack. With updated versions of the browsers, the only change in rank order was that Brave moved into a tie with Opera.

While the rank order from this round of tests was very similar to the previous round, we did observe two clear performance trends: (1) the range between high and low scores was tighter, dropping from a difference of 7.8 percent to 4.3 percent, and (2) every browser demonstrated improved performance. The chart below illustrates both trends. Firefox showed the single largest score improvement at 7.8 percent, but the performance jump for each browser was considerable.

Do these results mean that Microsoft Edge will always provide a speedier web experience, or Firefox will always be slower than the others? Not necessarily. It’s true that a device with a higher WebXPRT score will probably feel faster during daily web activities than one with a much lower score, but your experience depends in part on the types of things you do on the web, along with your system’s privacy settings, memory load, ecosystem integration, extension activity, and web app capabilities.

In addition, browser speed can noticeably increase or decrease after an update, and OS-specific optimizations can affect performance, such as with Edge on Windows 11 and Chrome on Chrome OS. All these variables are important to keep in mind when considering how WebXPRT results translate to your everyday experience.

Have you used WebXPRT to compare browser performance on the same system? Let us know how it turned out!

Justin

We want your thoughts about experimental WebXPRT 4 workloads

Two weeks ago, we discussed how users can automate WebXPRT 4 testing by appending several parameters and values to the benchmark’s URL. One of these lets you enable any available experimental workloads during the test run. While we don’t currently offer any experimental workloads for WebXPRT 4, we are seeking suggestions for possible future workload scenarios, or specific web technologies that you’d like to be able to test with an experimental workload.

The main purpose of optional, experimental workloads would be to test cutting-edge browser technologies or new use cases, even if the experimental workload doesn’t work on all browsers or devices. The individual scores for the experimental workloads would stand alone, and would not factor in the WebXPRT 4 overall score. WebXPRT 4 testers would be able to run the experimental workloads one of two ways: by adjusting a value in the WebXPRT 4 automation scripts, as mentioned above, or by manually selecting them on the benchmark’s home screen.

Testers would benefit from experimental workloads by learning how well certain browsers or systems handle new tasks (e.g., new web apps or AI capabilities). We would benefit from fielding workloads for large-scale testing and user feedback before we commit to including them as core WebXPRT workloads.

Do you have any general thoughts about experimental workloads for browser performance testing, or any specific workloads that you’d like us to consider? Please let us know.

Justin

Looking forward to an important WebXPRT milestone

February 28, 2013 was a momentous day for the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community. On that day, we published a press release announcing the official launch of the first version of the WebXPRT benchmark, WebXPRT 2013. As difficult as it is for us to believe, the 10-year anniversary of the initial WebXPRT launch is in just a few short months!

We introduced WebXPRT as a truly unique browser performance benchmark in a field that was already crowded with a variety of measurement tools. Since those early days, the WebXPRT market presence has grown from a small foothold into a worldwide industry standard. Over the years, hundreds of tech press publications have used WebXPRT in thousands of articles and reviews, and the WebXPRT completed-runs counter rolled over the 1,000,000-run mark.

New web technologies are continually changing the way we use the web, and browser-performance benchmarks should evaluate how well new devices handle the web of today, not the web of several years ago. While some organizations have stopped development for other browser performance benchmarks, we’ve had the opportunity to continue updating and refining WebXPRT. We can look back at each of the four major iterations of the benchmark—WebXPRT 2013, WebXPRT 2015, WebXPRT 3, and WebXPRT 4—and see a consistent philosophy and shared technical lineage contributing to a product that has steadily improved.

As we get closer to the 10-year anniversary of WebXPRT next year, we’ll be sharing more insights about its reach and impact on the industry, discussing possible future plans for the benchmark, and announcing some fun anniversary-related opportunities for WebXPRT users. We think 2023 will be the best year yet for WebXPRT!

Justin

How to automate WebXPRT 4 testing

As the number of WebXPRT runs continues to grow, we realize many new WebXPRT users may be unfamiliar with all the features and capabilities of the benchmark. To help inform users about features that might facilitate their testing, we’ve decided to highlight a few WebXPRT features here in the blog. A few weeks ago, we discussed the multiple language options available in the WebXPRT 4 UI. This week, we look at WebXPRT 4 test automation.

WebXPRT 4 allows users to run scripts in an automated fashion. You can control the execution of WebXPRT 4 by appending parameters and values to the WebXPRT URL. Three parameters are available: testtype, tests, and result. Below, you’ll find a description of those parameters and instructions for utilizing automation.

Test type

The WebXPRT automation framework accounts for two test types: (1) the six core workloads and (2) any experimental workloads we might add in future builds. There are currently no experimental tests in WebXPRT 4, so always set the test type variable to 1.

  • Core tests: 1

Test scenario

This parameter lets you specify which tests to run by using the following codes:

  • Photo enhancement: 1
  • Organize album using AI: 2
  • Stock option pricing: 4
  • Encrypt notes and OCR scan using WASM: 8
  • Sales graphs: 16
  • Online homework: 32

To run a single individual test, use its code. To run multiple tests, use the sum of their codes. For example, to run Stocks (4) and Notes (8), use the sum of 12. To run all core tests, use 63, the sum of all the individual test codes (1 + 2 + 4 + 8 + 16 + 32 = 63).

Results format

This parameter lets you select the format of the results:

  • Display the result as an HTML table: 1
  • Display the result as XML: 2
  • Display the result as CSV: 3
  • Download the result as CSV: 4

To use the automation feature, start with the URL http://www.principledtechnologies.com/benchmarkxprt/webxprt/2021/wx4_build_3_7_3, append a question mark (?), and add the parameters and values separated by ampersands (&). For example, to run all the core tests and download the results, you would use the following URL: http://principledtechnologies.com/benchmarkxprt/webxprt/2021/wx4_build_3_7_3/auto.php?testtype=1&tests=63&result=4

We hope the WebXPRT automation features will make testing easier for you. If you have any questions about WebXPRT or the automation process, please feel free to ask!

Justin

The XPRTs can help with your holiday shopping!

The holiday shopping season is fast approaching, and choosing the right tech gift can often be a daunting task. If you’re considering phones, tablets, Chromebooks, or laptops as gifts, and are unsure where to get reliable device information, the XPRTs can help!

The XPRTs provide objective, reliable measures of a device’s performance that can help to cut through the marketing noise. For example, instead of guessing whether the performance of a new laptop lives up to its billing, you can use its WebXPRT performance score to see how it stacks up against the competition on everyday tasks.

A good place to start looking for device scores is our XPRT results browser, which lets you access our database of more than 3,200 test results from over 165 sources, including major tech review publications around the world, OEMs, and independent testers. You can find a wealth of current and historical performance data across all the XPRT benchmarks and hundreds of devices. Learn how to use the results browser here.

If you’re considering a popular device, chances are good that a recent tech review includes an XPRT score for it. You can find these reviews by going to your favorite tech review site and searching for “XPRT,” or entering the name of the device and the appropriate XPRT (e.g., “iPhone” and “WebXPRT”) in a search engine. Here are a few recent tech reviews that used the XPRTs to evaluate popular devices:

The XPRTs can help consumers make better-informed and more confident tech purchases this holiday season, and we hope you’ll find the data you need on our site or in an XPRT-related tech review. If you have any questions about the XPRTs, XPRT scores, or the results database please feel free to ask!

Justin

The CloudXPRT v1.2 update package is now available!

We’re happy to announce that the CloudXPRT v1.2 update package is now available! The update prevents potential installation failures on Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure, and ensures that the web microservices workload works on Ubuntu 22.04. The update uses updated software components such as Kubernetes v1.23.7, Kubespray v2.18.1, and Kubernetes Metrics Server v1, and incorporates some additional minor script changes.

The CloudXPRT v1.2 web microservices workload installation package is available at the CloudXPRT.com download page and the BenchmarkXPRT GitHub repository.

Before you get started with v1.2, please note the following updated system requirements:

  • Ubuntu 20.04.2 or 22.04 for on-premises testing
  • Ubuntu 18.04, 20.04.2, or 22.04 for CSP (AWS/Azure/GCP) testing

Because CloudXPRT is designed to run on high-end servers, physical nodes or VMs under test must meet the following minimum specifications:

  • 16 logical or virtual CPUs
  • 8 GB of RAM
  • 10 GB of available disk space (50 GB for the data analytics workload)

The update package includes only the updated v1.2 test harness and the updated web microservices workload. It does not include the data analytics workload. As we stated in the blog, now that we’ve published the web microservices package, we will assess the level of interest users express about a possible refresh of the v1.1 data analytics workload. For now, the v1.1 data analytics workload will continue to be available via CloudXPRT.com for some time to serve as a reference resource for users who have worked with the package in the past.

Please let us know if you have any questions about the CloudXPRT v1.2 test package. Happy testing!

Justin

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