Opera 10 final is out, Chrome just turned one year old, and Firefox 3.5 has settled into stability. It's time once again to break out the timers and speed test today's web browsers.
Like all our previous speed tests, this one is unscientific, but thorough. We install the most current versions of each browser being tested—in this case, Opera 10, Chrome's development channel 4.0 version, and the final Firefox 3.5 with security fixes—in a system with a 2.0 GHz Intel Centrino Duo processor and 2GB of RAM, running Windows XP.
We use Rob Keir's tiny timer app to time each browser in the common ways that leave users waiting: a "cold start" right after boot, a "warm start" after already having run once, and waiting on eight tabs to load up. We run each test three times and average the results, tossing out any obvious irregularities.