Google Chrome 64-bit - Is It Better Than The 32-bit Version?

A few weeks ago, Google released the 64-bit version of the popular Chrome browser and promised increased stability, security, and speed. We were curious to learn how many of these promises are true, and share what you gain and lose when using the 64-bit version of this browser. We have used this browser for a couple of days and ran several benchmarks. Here's what you get when using the 64-bit version of Google Chrome instead of the 32-bit version.

Google Chrome 64-bit vs. 32-bit - Performance in Benchmarks

We started by testing the new browser in several benchmarks: Peacekeepers, SunSpider, HTML5 test and Rightware Browsermark. Each benchmark except the HTML5 test were run three times and we recorded the average score.

The HTML5 test score is an indication of how well your browser supports the HTML5 standard and its related specifications. As you can see from this graph, the 64-bit version of Google Chrome offers the same level of support for the HTML5 standard as the 32-bit version.

The SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark measures JavaScript performance on tasks relevant to the current and near future use of JavaScript in the real world, such as encryption and text manipulation. This is one of the few benchmarks where it is important to receive a lower mark. The lowest results mean faster speed and better performance. As you can see, the differences are insignificant. The 32-bit version of Google Chrome was 7% faster than 64-bit version.

Next, we used the Peacekeeper benchmark which measures the browser's performance by testing its JavaScript functionality and its ability to handle commonly used JavaScript functions.This time the 64-bit version was the winner, but the difference between scores was of only 1%.

The next test we used was Rightware. It measures the ability to render objects in 2D and 3D and crunch multiple CSS operations at a time. It also tells how well the browser supports CSS3, HTML5, Flash and Silverlight and how fast the browser loads pages and send requests. In this test, the 32-bit version of Google Chrome was the winner with a margin of only 1%.

Google Chrome 64-bit vs. 32-bit in Terms of Speed, Security & Stability

Google says that the new version offers other advantages that cannot be measured with existing benchmarks:

  • Improved speed when dealing with graphics and video - the 64-bit version of Google Chrome improves the speed of graphics and video including High Definition YouTube videos. For example the VP9 codec used in High Definition YouTube videos shows a 15% improvement in decoding performance. As a result, speed is improved and the performance increases by 25%, especially in graphics and multimedia content.
  • Better security - the 64-bit version of Google Chrome can take advantage of the new security features that are included in Windows 8.1. For example, it adds support for High Entropy ASLR (Address Space Layout Randomization), which provides an extra protection layer and a better defense against exploitation techniques. ASLR is based upon the low chance of an attacker guessing the locations of randomly placed areas. Security is increased by increasing the search space. Thus, address space randomization is more effective when more entropy (disorder) is present in the random offsets. This will prevent an attacker from reliably jumping to a particular exploited function in memory. The extra bits force the software to use all the resources to obtain maximum defense, improving existing security features.
  • Improved stability - 64-bit rendering engines are almost twice as stable as the 32-bit engines, when handling web content. In particular, the crash rate for the rendering process is almost 50% smaller than that of the 32-bit version of Google Chrome.

Plugins: Which Ones Work and Which Don't

When it comes to plugin support, the 64-bit version of Google Chrome is missing one feature that is found in the 32-bit version: support for NPAPI plugins (a cross platform plugin architecture used by many browsers). This means some plugins will not work.
Current versions of Java and Silverlight will work fine because they have 64-bit support, but some, such as the Google Earth plugin will not. Google intends to remove 32-bit NPAPI support at some point in the future. It's not necessary to install Adobe Flash and the Shockwave Player and as they come built into Chrome.

Conclusion - Google Chrome 64-bit is Worth Using

This recent release makes Google Chrome the second browser that has a stable 64-bit version, after Internet Explorer. When using it, most users will not feel any difference in their browsing experience. Performance-wise, our tests have shown that the differences are too small to be felt in daily use. However, the additional benefits like improved stability, security and speed make this upgrade worthwhile. This is especially true if you watch lots of high-definition videos or you play games in your web browser. If you want to switch to the 64-bit version of Google Chrome today, go to this page and download it from there.