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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The Jambo said,
FF 3.5.7, released today tests at a blistering 820.6ms.

Suck it, Trolls.


You cannot compare tests between different PCs. Only different browsers on the same PC.

As far as I'm aware Electrolysis has nothing to do with the SunSpider test being faster. ATM Electrolysis is only going to allow plugins to run as their own process. The SunSpider improvements the author is seeing is simply because the latest version of firefox has a more developed JS engine in it. Nothing to do with Electrolysis. (And of course, the SunSpider test suite doesn't use any plugins anyway.)

True Firefox did get sluggish and I too went to Chrome for awhile... even subscribed to their dev builds to get early releases.

But Chrome -although being faster- didn't have the plug-ins that I wanted or a lot of web sites didn't support that browser and some of them were Microsofts. Submitted bugs along the way and recieved some comments that I should report compatibilty issues to the web owner etc. (Dont think so! I dont mind reporting bugs but don't expect me to fix them for other people when those people are getting paid to do that). Chrome has a very long way to catch up to Firefox and I'm afraid thats going to take years.

So I'm back with Firefox and happy browsing.

I used to be a Firefox user, since about version 1.5. When it got into version 3, it became slow and sluggish, and in fact, I'm sure it had some kind of memory leak around 3.3/4

Now I use Chrome 4, it's fast, extensions are being made rapidly and so I'm happy. The own pitfall of Chrome is that some websites still don't take it as a usable browser, "This website is only available in Internet Explorer and Firefox". That annoys me.

ArKeYa said,
Welcome to the world of Opera lol. Good thing Opera at least have a 'mask as IE/FF' per site option.

does it just mask or use trident /gecko instead?

James Brooks said,
I used to be a Firefox user, since about version 1.5. When it got into version 3, it became slow and sluggish, and in fact, I'm sure it had some kind of memory leak around 3.3/4

Now I use Chrome 4, it's fast, extensions are being made rapidly and so I'm happy. The own pitfall of Chrome is that some websites still don't take it as a usable browser, "This website is only available in Internet Explorer and Firefox". That annoys me.


Wtf are you talking about; neither 3.3 or 3.4 even existed, and the memory leaks that were a problem were in Firefox 2, and most fixed in Firefox 3. The new memory mgmt in Firefox 3 was a main feature in it, and Firefox 2's ~400 MB's of RAM usage suddenly started hovering around ~150 MB.

I don't know why people are always gushing about Chrome speed. I tried to use it but it seems a tad slower to me. Maybe it's because I have FF tweaked for speed with addons like Memory fox and Greasemonkey. Sure I want the sandboxing of tabs and suport for multi-cores but FF hasn't given me any trouble since day one.

I couldn't care less about firefox taking 2 or 3 seconds to open up the first time, really (mine opens in like 1 or 2 seconds) but I really like about firefox that the browsing is very fast. Nno so fast as Chrome you would say, but really fast for my tastes and needs.

Them came the add on, Firefox let me absolute everything that I need with add on, I have 21 and Firefox still do an impressive job.

So I guess I will really enjoy 3.7 and 4.

Keep going the Browser war, At the end the only beneficed is the end user

I agree. The end user really wins out.

I think Firefox does a pretty job of doing a lot of different things. It's relatively fast (Maybe not the fastest), and it brings more features and customization options to the table than anyone. It's stable, relatively secure, etc. Overall I think it's a great browser.

Where are the IE8 scores? Or did they just want to hide the fact that IE8 is much faster than firefox?

I would of like to seen opera/safari scores in the test as well.

Pretty dumb they only compared it to Chrome.

Cyberkiller said,
Where are the IE8 scores? Or did they just want to hide the fact that IE8 is much faster than firefox?

I would of like to seen opera/safari scores in the test as well.

Pretty dumb they only compared it to Chrome.


Trust me, you don't want to know the IE8 scores... they are horrible. Neowin always ignore Opera, nothing new.

x-byte said,

Trust me, you don't want to know the IE8 scores... they are horrible. Neowin always ignore Opera, nothing new.

Yes and so does the rest of the world. Opera complained to the EU to try and get increase browser share and in the meantime they're their still in last place and Chrome has soared right by them. The browser checklist isn't going to help either, Opera is garbage. As soon as I open it I want to pull my hair out. Chrome is much better IMO.

Cyberkiller said,
Where are the IE8 scores? Or did they just want to hide the fact that IE8 is much faster than firefox?

I would of like to seen opera/safari scores in the test as well.

Pretty dumb they only compared it to Chrome.

IE8 is not fast at all... It's by far the slowest browser I've used. Firefox easily beats that. No browser is going to bring everything to the table though. Firefox I think does a pretty good job of it as it's relatively fast and very feature rich. With this build they are trying to improve stability and speed, which I think is absolutely wonderful.

danielsmi said,
Yes and so does the rest of the world. Opera complained to the EU to try and get increase browser share and in the meantime they're their still in last place and Chrome has soared right by them. The browser checklist isn't going to help either, Opera is garbage. As soon as I open it I want to pull my hair out. Chrome is much better IMO.

Opera is actually very popular in Europe. And I don't care about your opinion of Opera as a browser. It's blazing fast and have always been. With 10.5 it will once again kill the competition in terms of speed. Too bad such a browser is ignored by so many.

x-byte said,
Trust me, you don't want to know the IE8 scores... they are horrible. Neowin always ignore Opera, nothing new.

I'm actually a big fan of Opera. I was using it back before Firefox even existed. It's sad that it never made it as big (never understood why it didn't become what FF is now). Unfortunately, it just doesn't have the add-ons that I need, making Firefox my browser of choice. I do miss full history search though :(

I decided not to run my own tests on all the browsers because I didn't feel it necessary, not because I feel the need to "ignore Opera." Plus, Opera rules the mobile browser world. I love it. How can you ignore that?

Chrome just happens to be the fastest browser with a decent market share. It make sense to use it as the browser of comparison.

Benjamin Rubenstein said,
I decided not to run my own tests on all the browsers because I didn't feel it necessary, not because I feel the need to "ignore Opera." Plus, Opera rules the mobile browser world. I love it. How can you ignore that?

Chrome just happens to be the fastest browser with a decent market share. It make sense to use it as the browser of comparison.


Opera 10.5 is the fastest browser now. It should be reason enough.

x-byte said,
Opera 10.5 is the fastest browser now. It should be reason enough.

LoL... Very true. But sadly, the rest of the world doesn't see it as a threat in the desktop browser wars.

Benjamin Rubenstein said,
LoL... Very true. But sadly, the rest of the world doesn't see it as a threat in the desktop browser wars.

I'm not sure you got my point.

A benchmark should always be compared to the fastest product out there. So I should ignore a faster computer just because just a few use it? Or should I ignore a faster car for the reason few buys it?

x-byte said,
I'm not sure you got my point.

A benchmark should always be compared to the fastest product out there. So I should ignore a faster computer just because just a few use it? Or should I ignore a faster car for the reason few buys it?

I hear you. You're point is a good one and very valid. But think about it... Just because a computer is the fastest (take a Cray Supercomputer, for example), does that mean we should benchmark the latest and most powerful quad core desktop gaming rig against it?

I'm not saying you're wrong. Not at all. But I feel that the argument can be made either way.

Benjamin Rubenstein said,
(never understood why it didn't become what FF is now).

Short answer, many many website major compatibility issues for a looong time.

Don't be silly now. You know that's not how it works with benchmarks. If a user base is so important to you, then why test under Linux?

x-byte said,
Don't be silly now. You know that's not how it works with benchmarks. If a user base is so important to you, then why test under Linux?

LoL, touché

Cyberkiller said,
Where are the IE8 scores? Or did they just want to hide the fact that IE8 is much faster than firefox?

lmao... I'd guess 6000+ ms on Sunspider and their setup there.

x-byte said,
Slow compared to Opera 10.5 alpha.

edit: Did a new test with the latest build:
308.4ms +/- 0.8%


FF will always be slow compared to Opera.

Now run it in the other browsers on the same system, because comparing it with results from another system doesn't make any sense.

Menthix said,
Now run it in the other browsers on the same system, because comparing it with results from another system doesn't make any sense.

Happy?

FF 3.6b5: 663.8ms +/- 1.6%
FF 3.7 Minefield: 618.6ms +/- 25.8%

Opera 10.5 alpha is twice as fast..

i'll stick with opera. i can't wait for the 10.5 non-alpha release. i've already replaced all of my opera 10.10 version with 10.5 alpha version. :D

browser usage percentage:

opera 99%
srware iron 0.7%
ie8 0.3%

safari 0%
firefox 0%

x-byte said,
Slow compared to Opera 10.5 alpha.

edit: Did a new test with the latest build:
308.4ms +/- 0.8%


But less crash-prone. ;)

Let's wait for a stable Opera 10.50 final release, and see what Firefox has then, for a more fair comparison.

Electrolysis comes in two flavors.

1. Separate process for plugins like Flash. This is already included in 3.7 but buggy. It can be turned off however. Also, it does not increase your sunspider score.

2. Separate Process for tabs. Coming with FF 4.0

I've been running 3.7 aka Minefield for months. It is very stable and I use it exclusively. Besides Electrolysis problems there are also Window 7 issues pertaining to things like jump lists but these will be fixed.


Cool. I can't wait to see what Mozilla brings in the next few versions of Firefox. I am really excited about 4.0, but 3.7 is beginning to sound pretty cool as well.

It's weird how, on the same day, both Slashdot and Neowin run this story, when it is based on a blog post from two months ago. Did *nobody* notice it until now? What's going on here? This is The Internet®, where stories usually spread in a matter of minutes, not months.

Isn't what, fast? I'm sure it will be. Mozilla is clearly focusing on speed in this release... They've said it enough times...

shame they didn't add 3.6 b5 in the benchmarks to compare against. 3.7 is shaping up to look good though. Lets hope we can get a stable RC of 3.6 sometime soon.

hardgiant said,
Firefox is bloated and launches slowly but surfing speed is fast and the features are second to none!

Eh? My Firefox takes less than a second to load and it has no bloat.

Maybe you've bloated it with too many add-ons and plugins, hmm?

hardgiant said,
Firefox is bloated and launches slowly;

you have something wrong then, my firefox loads faster than other browsers from scratch.

Exosphere said,
you have something wrong then, my firefox loads faster than other browsers from scratch.

Compared to IE8, Firefox 3.6 launches slower...not a big factor for me though since I just leave it open most of the time. I have 29 add-ons so that does slow things down some.

hardgiant said,
Compared to IE8, Firefox 3.6 launches slower...not a big factor for me though since I just leave it open most of the time. I have 29 add-ons so that does slow things down some.

Odd. I have 31 Add ons and my Firefox opens MUCH faster than IE8... Chrome opens faster than Firefox, but doesn't have any of the features, so Firefox is still tops for me.

hardgiant said,
Firefox is bloated and launches slowly but surfing speed is fast and the features are second to none!

Mine doesn't launch slowly. You might have an issue with an add on. I had one add on a couple years ago that slowed Firefox to a CRAWL at startup... So it can happen...

M_Lyons10 said,
Mine doesn't launch slowly. You might have an issue with an add on. I had one add on a couple years ago that slowed Firefox to a CRAWL at startup... So it can happen...

I have no add-ons and it's really slow. Especially with multiple tabs. It got a little better with 3.5 but it's still too slow.

Honestly, if I'm not making use of Firefox's addons, I really don't see the damn point in using it. It's one of the greatest features of the browser, imo. Also, I have a few addons on Chrome and it's still very much faster than a fresh install of Firefox, including the 3.6 beta I'm running.

That said, I'm very much hoping Mozilla catches up in terms of speed. As an old Firefox user, it's certainly something I've been wanting for a while now.

Firefox 3.6 loads in around 3 secs here on MacBook Pro 2 GB RAM. I fail to see the issue... It's not as if it's a program I keep restarting either.

Good grief people, whether it's faster or not is it going to kill anyone to wait a few seconds for their browser to launch?

Bhav said,
It might be catching up on speed but it's miles ahead in most other areas...

The ONLY thing Firefox has going for it are an extensive addon library and a much bigger addon API compared to Chrome.

Bhav said,
It might be catching up on speed but it's miles ahead in most other areas...

Absolutely. Other browsers don't touch what Firefox can do in any other area.

TCLN Ryster said,
Version numbers mean nothing, that's how.

Apparently that's the case for Google. I've continued to be confused by Chrome's version numbers...

M_Lyons10 said,
Apparently that's the case for Google. I've continued to be confused by Chrome's version numbers...

Yet nVidia is on driver version 195 or 196 something xD

Glendi said,
Some might wonder how Chrome jumped to version 4 in such short time and Firefox is still at 3.

Google has invested a great deal in Chrome because of Chrome OS.

Bhav said,
It might be catching up on speed but it's miles ahead in most other areas...

Which ones?

Webkit already supports more HTML5 than any other engine, WebGL, the most advanced developer console ever made, the fastest javascript engine (or maybe Google's javascript engine is better, but they put it in their WebKit and the original Webkit is damn close) and is the most standards compliant engine out there. So it cannot be the engine that is miles ahead, it has to be the UI elements, but which ones?

I can only see plug-ins support, and I will admit that this is a really big one.

Xilo said,
The ONLY thing Firefox has going for it are an extensive addon library and a much bigger addon API compared to Chrome.

The only thing?! You make it sound like that's insignificant. Of course it's the add on library that's miles ahead. I'll happily put up with a dip in speed for the extra functionality/customisation/tweaks I get with Firefox.

Xilo said,
The ONLY thing Firefox has going for it are an extensive addon library and a much bigger addon API compared to Chrome.

Firefox in general is more compatible with websites. Especially university websites.

Intelman said,
Firefox in general is more compatible with websites. Especially university websites.

Whilst I like Firefox more, so don't take this as anti-Firefox, I think "compatibility with existing websites" is one of the worst reasons to choose a browser. You should rather choose "Closest to the specification set by w3c" and let the website developers learn how to code properly, otherwise we'll fall back to how it was, and sometimes still is, with IE6.

Fred 69 said,
hahaha that's a pretty good joke

Firefox's extensions compared to Chrome's, or Opera's restricted feature set, are definitely no joke.

shhac said,
Whilst I like Firefox more, so don't take this as anti-Firefox, I think "compatibility with existing websites" is one of the worst reasons to choose a browser. You should rather choose "Closest to the specification set by w3c" and let the website developers learn how to code properly, otherwise we'll fall back to how it was, and sometimes still is, with IE6.

And not be able to do your online banking work, or do your online studies properly?

Are you supposed to mail the responsible admins and sit and wait in those cases?
While you wait for your landlord to knock on your door, and fail your studies?

Geekdom rarely has a place in the real world. It's unfortunate, but an unfortunate truth.

IE is the absolute best in this case. Firefox is next best.

Extensions currently installed in Chrome:

"Extensions (53)"

I have about half disabled because I don't need all of them active at all times.

But isn't that a pain for me? Not at all. With Chrome, you can install, uninstall, disable, and enable extensions all with no restart at all.

Say you like FlashBlock for Firefox.

Well, there are already 3 different versions of FlashBlock for Chrome, with other extensions being released every day.

https://chrome.google.com/extensions/list/newest
https://chrome.google.com/extensions/list/popular

It seems a lot of people aren't up to date on Chrome's extension abilities.
Yes, it's a dev build, but still - Chrome is doing amazingly well in the extensions department.