The web browser Thorium claims to improve upon Chromium's (and by extension, Chrome's) browser performance significantly. I think Thorium's a really neat browser, & I commend their continued support for the fantastic JPEG-XL codec when most seem to have abandoned it. This isn't to disprove or undermine their browser benchmark results in any way, I simply wanted to do my own testing & report back my results as a means of letting myself know how my different browsers perform. I am a Firefox user right now, but that's always subject to change, although right now I'm not particularly partial to Chromium-based browsers.
I currently use the Firefox Flatpak on my desktop & laptop, Firefox on my iPad (being WebKit based, I didn't feel it was useful to test it), & I just recently switched from Bromite to Firefox Nightly on my Pixel 7 for its JPEG-XL support & timely updates (where Bromite hasn't been updated since Chromium 108). For this test, I benchmarked:
And, here are my system specs:
➜ ~ inxi -v
CPU: 16-core (8-mt/8-st) 13th Gen Intel Core i7-13700K (-MST AMCP-)
speed/min/max: 1041/800/5400 MHz Kernel: 6.1.12-zen1-1-zen x86_64
Up: 4d 17h 40m Mem: 8923.9/31871.1 MiB (28.0%) Storage: 6.83 TiB (19.2% used)
Procs: 557 Shell: Zsh inxi: 3.3.25
Although I was on the previous kernel release when these tests were completed, a version of kernel 6.1. I don't think that matters too much here, but I thought it may be important to note. I didn't enable any flags for any of the browsers except one to enable JXL support on Firefox Nightly, so all were kept almost completely stock. Anyhow, let's get into the results:
Here are my Speedometer 2.1 results:
Via browserbench.org: "Speedometer is a browser benchmark that measures the responsiveness of Web applications. It uses demo web applications to simulate user actions such as adding to-do items."
Here are my MotionMark 1.2 results:
Via browserbench.org: "MotionMark is a graphics benchmark that measures a browser’s capability to animate complex scenes at a target frame rate. More details about the benchmark are available. Bigger scores are better. For accurate results, please take your browser window full screen, or rotate your device to landscape orientation."
This is where we see Firefox take the lead for once on my desktop, but it is negated by my iPad, which somehow obliterates my desktop-class Radeon GPU. I'm not entirely sure how to interpret these results, but I guess Firefox's WebRender really uses the GPU well & Safari does even better.
Here are my JetStream 2 results:
Once again, the iPad has a fantastic showing. The Pixel surprisingly gained a lot of ground here on Chromium, & Thorium continues to show steady & consistent gains over Chromium.
Here are my BaseMark Web 3.0 results:
Via basemark.com: "Basemark Web 3.0 is a comprehensive web browser performance benchmark that tests how well your mobile or desktop system can use web based applications. This benchmark includes various system and graphic tests that use the web recommendations and features. After running the benchmark you will see how your system performed compared to other systems and browsers in Basemark Power Board. Basemark Web 3.0 measures real-world client-side performance to detect browser bottlenecks."
This basically shows the same results as before, with Firefox falling further behind that I'd expect. I don't think that in everyday use it feels much slower, and actually I think the "feeling" of speed is more pronounced going from Chromium to Thorium versus Firefox to Chromium. The iPad once again kills it, which is also not consistent with my "feeling" when it comes to browsing the web on that device. The Pixel's results are relatively in line with how I've tangibly experienced the device's web performance.
Here are my WebXPRT 4 results:
My interpretation of WebXPRT is that it is a more applicable (albeit more complex) indicator of web performance, and doesn't necessarily mean anything relative to the "snappy" feeling you get when loading simple web pages. I'm surprised to see Firefox pull ahead here, even if it's just by a tiny bit, while the iPad's results finally feel more realistic to me. The Pixel's results are basically the same as always, although Firefox Nightly actually ekes out a win here.
Here are my Mozilla Kraken results (important that I be thorough in saying lower is better here):
Ultimately, this feels very similar to Speedometer & I honestly kind of doubt Firefox's win is very noteworthy here. The iPad continues to perform really well, & the Pixel's Firefox & Chromium results feel closer to one another. Maybe Mozilla is optimizing JS performance to score well on this benchmark, as it is their benchmark, after all.
Here's the geometric mean of all the test results:
I calculated the geometric mean using the reciprocal of each Kraken benchmark result because for that test lower was better, and apparently the geometric mean is sensitive to values close to zero, so keep that in mind. If there's a better way to do this (like normalizing the values with min-max or median normalization) let me know.
Here's the geometric mean of all the test results besides MotionMark:
Just because I really doubt the iPad is that performant. I'm open to being corrected, though.
Here's the number of first place finishes each browser recieved:
I will leave you, the audience, to come to your own conclusions here. Overall, I really like Thorium. Let me know if you'd like another one of these with certain special flags, different benchmarks, browser compatibility, or different versions of the same browser. This took me around 3 days to put together. Thanks for reading!