Firefox 3.7 will be fast, really fast

Chrome and IE8 both support multiple processors. In addition, both browsers run each tab as a separate process, thereby isolating crashes and improving overall speed. Firefox, unfortunately is lacking in these departments, but fear not: it's in the pipes and looking very promising. My Outsourced Brain put up a post called "Firefox in Parallel - A Pre-Release Version," where an un-released version of Firefox 3.7 was put through its paces. Keep in mind, this is still a very unstable and early version of Mozilla's upcoming browser.

The pre-release version contains the first stages of what Mozilla calls, Electrolysis. In essence, it's multicore support, yet not to the same degree that Chrome and IE8 currently embody (individual tabs won't be individual processes until Firefox 4). In short, the results showed that Firefox 3.7a1 was about 3 times faster than Firefox 3.5.6pre in the SunSpider javascript performance test. Chrome 4.0.221.1 still clocked in around 50% faster, which is a relatively small amount when you consider that Chrome outperforms current versions of Firefox by about 300%.

All the testing was done on the same Linux system. While performance may vary depending on the OS, the testing was done just to get an idea of what kind of speed improvements we can expect from Mozilla with its upcoming release. It's fast, and will only get faster before its final release. Very promising indeed.

Here are the overall SunSpider scores:

  • Firefox 3.5.6pre - 4554.4ms +/- 2.0 %
  • Firefox 3.7a1 (with Electrolysis) - 1849.2ms +/- 4.5 %
  • Chrome 4.0.221.1 - 1211.6ms +/- 3.9 %

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