Best browser for PC. A comparative analysis

Best of browser introduction

Which one is the best browser for PC, depends on what is your criteria for best. Looks, ease of use, memory efficiency, good performance, energy efficient are the high ranking factors to find the best. Most of the browsers with high market share are generally good at looks and ease of use. Let’s look at the market share of browsers sourced from YourBrowser :-

Browser Market Share

Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge occupies the top spot with more than 90% of market share. No doubt they are quite good in looks & ease of use. But are they good at performance too? If you want a high performing, energy, and resource-efficient browser along with looks and ease of use, then which one you will choose? We will try to answer that today by doing a comparative analysis of fantastic four(Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari) from a system perspective to find best browser.

Hardware and browser versions used for analysis

We are using Macbook Pro having 2.2 GHz Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB 2400 MHz DDR4 RAM. This is good enough to accommodate the exact resource width, demanded by applications to make them run without hanging. Activity monitor is used for taking samples and the versions of browsers used are latest till date and are as below:-

  • Edge Version 80.0.361.109 (Official build) (64-bit)
  • Chrome Version 84.0.4147.89 (Official Build) (64-bit)
  • Safari Version 13.1.2 (13609.3.5.1.5)
  • Mozilla Firefox Quantum 65.0(64-bit)

Browser performance with single tab

Let’s launch the browsers one at a time with a single tab being opened. Resource utilization also depends on the kind of website we open. So to give fair chance to all, we opened Gmail on each single tabs. Also, the browsers don’t run as a single process but as a collection of sub-processes. We have combined the resource utilization of all sub-processes of each browser to arrive at the data:-

Memory(MB)Real Memory(MB)% CPUCPU TimeAvg. Energy ImpactThreadsTotal Process
Chrome370.5717.74.118.453967
Edge345.1661.7128.960.711456
Safari592.4957.40.321.010.34377
Firefox1017.51406.90.664.680.761814

For the memory analysis, we are taking “Real Memory” into consideration as its the RSS(Resident Set Size) and depicts the amount of memory physically taken up by the browser in the memory chips. We can see Safari and Firefox are highly memory intensive with ~1 and 1.5GB consumed respectively. Firefox & Chrome is heavy on CPU. For Chrome the “Avg. Energy Impact” is very high which can drain the battery in no time. Because of high memory, CPU, and energy impact, Chrome & Firefox are out of the competition. Edge does a pretty good job when it comes to memory usage but safari beats Edge in CPU utilization and energy impact.

Safari is better if you are concerned about battery drain but in case of non-apple product or always connected to power then go for Edge as far as casual browsing is concerned.

Best of browser for Video calls

When it comes to video calls then resource requirements of browsers increase multifold. We already have Gmail opened in one tab, so let’s start a hangout video call and check the data usage of each browser:-

Memory(MB)Real Memory(MB)% CPUCPU TimeAvg. Energy ImpactThreadsTotal Process
Chrome497.6928.546.41:96.218.721629
Edge471.5881.844.81:86.043.214548
Safari756.81041.871.61:71.802.08655
Firefox966.41393.783.41:62.791.521904

Here again, Safari and Firefox are consuming maximum memory out of all four. Firefox memory usage didn’t increase much but CPU utilization shoots up. Chrome’s memory usage is 2nd after Edge but again its energy impact is very high, which will drain the battery very fast. Chrome and Firefox are not performing well here because of their memory and energy impacts. Again Edge and Safari come out to be better than rest two. “Avg. Energy Impact” of Edge and Safari is almost the same but in terms of CPU utilization and memory efficiency Edge beats Safari.

For resource-intensive usage like video calling, without any hesitation, Microsoft Edge is the best browser for PC.

Browser performance with multiple tabs

Most users open different tabs for different websites. Resource utilization increases with the number of tabs being opened in the browser. Hence if you are an avid internet surfer who likes to have multiple tabs for different things then you should be conscious of your resource usage. Let’s check the data for each browser with five tabs being opened:-

Memory(MB)Real Memory(MB)% CPUCPU TimeAvg. Energy ImpactThreadsTotal process
Chrome515.81037.10.92:66.367.91369
Edge4999750.62:28:163.341627
Safari685.412430.42:53:372.29509
Firefox977.51414.60.72:47.781.861794

Data says all about itself. Safari and Firebox are again cravings for memory. Chrome joins them too this time with its usual high “Avg. energy Impact”. Edge energy impact is a little high here but its efficient memory consumption gives it an edge over others.

For avid net surfing, either Edge or Safari can be used, but on a non-apple product, Edge is clearly the go-to browser.

Which is the best browser for PC?

So coming back to our question, which is the best browser for PC? After analyzing data for different cases, Edge is indeed the answer. Chrome which is a dominant player in the market really needs to work on its energy and memory impacts to retain no.1 slot. The market share of Microsoft edge doesn’t justify it’s potential. Maybe the reason is legacy Edge browser was not up to mark and Chrome has nice integration with other Google products including its search engine. But for sure new Microsoft Edge deserves a try.

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