We used an Asus laptop for every test. It features an Intel Core 2 Duo T9600 processor at 2.80GHz, 4GB of DDR2 800 RAM, a 320GB SATA hard drive (7200 RPM), an Nvidia GT 240M graphics card with 1GB of DDR3 VRAM, and a 15.6-inch HD LCD display (1366 x768).
The first thing we did was add a brand new 50GB partition for a fresh copy of Windows 7 64-bit Ultimate. Then we let the hundred or so patches come through Windows Update. We made sure all the drivers were up-to-date, especially the graphics card's, and then we went out and downloaded all of IE8's best friends: Firefox 3, Chrome 6, Safari 5, and Opera 10. After running all the tests, we went out and grabbed the IE9 beta, Firefox 4 beta 6, Chrome 7 dev, a WebKit nightly, and Opera 10.70.
As a side note, we tried using the latest Minefield build instead of the latest Firefox build, but we couldn't get a single test to run without a crash. Also, when these tests were run, Chrome 8 was not yet available... but as you'll soon see, that didn't hurt Google's results.