Firefox 4 beta 7 - Fast, but Chrome and Opera are faster

Firefox 4 beta 7 - Fast, but Chrome and Opera are faster

Summary: Mozilla have managed to up the horsepower of the new Firefox 4 beta 7 JavaScript engine, but it still has a way to go before it can catch up with Chrome and Opera.

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TOPICS: Software, Browser, Google
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Mozilla have managed to up the horsepower of the new Firefox 4 beta 7 JavaScript engine, but it still has a way to go before it can catch up with Chrome and Opera.

Firefox 4 beta 7 offers a vast improvement over the current 3.6.12 offering, with the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark showing an almost three-fold improvement. But despite these leaps, it's still left trailing behind Opera and Chrome.

Note: Just for laughs, I put IE8 into the listing. 

Browsers are getting so fast, that to be honest it's has to see the difference any more.

Here are the raw results if you're into such things:

Topics: Software, Browser, Google

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91 comments
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  • Gahhhhh. How meaningful are these measures really?

    For most people the perceived time difference is negligable.

    For me, Firefox provides the most utility with a rich set of plugins.

    That tips the scale for me--not speed.
    Dietrich T. Schmitz, ~ Your Linux Advocate
    • RE: Firefox 4 beta 7 - Fast, but Chrome and Opera are faster

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate exactly...the broadband speed (the real effective speed I would add) has a greater influence on overall 'speed' that the minute differences of the new breed of browsers. It really comes down to what feature you need and want...as Dietrich correctly observes.
      Bradish@...
      • Minute difference???

        @Bradish@... If you compare IE to any other browser, then yes, we are talking about minute difference.

        But what you see on the benchmark results is more in the ballpark of microsecond area of difference between the latest browsers.
        wackoae
      • RE: Firefox 4 beta 7 - Fast, but Chrome and Opera are faster

        @Bradish@... <br><br>I disagree. Speed comes on several fronts. One of them is JavaScript but another is rendering, i.e. the time it takes for your browser to "paint" a page, "scroll" a page, etc., etc. On my old work desktop which had integrated video, the IE9 beta was <b>significantly</b> faster than Firefox 3.6.x for the plain and simple fact that IE9 was using Direct2D APIs which debuted with Windows 7. IE9 was a noticeably better experience on that hardware given that the GPU (integrated video) was being leveraged to do work. At home today I decided to jettison Firefox 3.6.12 for Firefox 4 Beta 7 simply because I noticed on some pages with a LOT of HTML elements scrolling wasn't as smooth as Chrome or Opera. Yes, even on my Intel Core i7 with a $400 video card I could tell Firefox 3 was slower than the other browsers. I'm talking RENDERING speed here. As for JavaScript speed, you can't tell the difference because you haven't used applications where it matters. If Google had been content where browser speeds were a few years ago, some of the cloud based applications that will come out in the coming years likely wouldn't have been possible. Google's goal has always been to blur the distinction between "native app" & "cloud app".<br><br>I'm still a big Firefox supporter and welcome their improvements in speed.
        betelgeuse68
    • RE: Firefox 4 beta 7 - Fast, but Chrome and Opera are faster

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate
      I just cleaned a machine two days ago that had so many Firrefox add ons it was approaching unusable. The owner said they felt they needed a new computer. I recovered over 300MB of RAM by disabling seldom used add-ons and also set Skype to run on demand instead of being loaded all the time. Now she does not need a new machine.
      mswift@...
      • The whole point of add ons...

        @mswift@... ...in my book anyway is that you can pick and choose which ones you want. But that doesn't mean you should over do it. Also, 300MB of RAM isn't all that much. If RAM is the only issue and this person really uses all those add ons, then cramming a couple of more GB into the system might be a cheap way to go given RAM prices these days.
        cornpie
      • RE: Firefox 4 beta 7 - Fast, but Chrome and Opera are faster

        @mswift@... Sounds like a PEBSAK problem to me. Using Add-ons like RAMback and adjusting settings in about:config would help to some degree. I still use Firefox due to it's broad array of add ons that are available. true that these addons can add much more memory usage to Firefox, I find it to be a good tradeoff. i find that there are too many systems coming into my shop with malware that have only IE installed. I do find that the systems with Firefox seem more secure due to it's lack of support for active x. A blessing i am sure.
        Daschmi
    • RE: Firefox 4 beta 7 - Fast, but Chrome and Opera are faster

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate

      The Firefox betas break my most-used plug-ins, which are the only reason i ever switch from Opera to Firefox.
      fairportfan
    • ZDNet Gravatar

      I fully agree. Firefox 4b7 works beautifully on my MacBook Pro and has the most utility with a rich set of plugins. Chrome 9 works wonderfully, too. I wish I could learn to love Safari 5, but I don't. In all truthfulness, when I want to work fast, I use Camino 2 - It offers all the speed of Firefox, greater reliability, easy access to every function, and a 100% Mac-like interface. It's Mozilla's nicest little secret.
      markomd
    • For once, you and I agree

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate

      I have 3 machines, one of them being a netbook. All 3 run b7 without problems.

      Also, to those claiming addons slow it down... I have to ask what the frak are you running all those addons for? It's not Mozilla's problem that you're running all that garbage! It's a browser, not iOS!
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • Here are my numbers

    These are the SunSpider numbers I got just now while testing FF4b7 against Chrome 7.0.517.44 and Opera 10.63 running on Ubuntu 10.10 32bit

    Chrome - 277.7ms +/- 0.4%
    FF4b7 - 295.4ms +/- 5.9%
    Opera - 299.4ms +/- 1.2%

    When the numbers are this closely packed together and the confidence interval for FF during the benchmark is as high as +/-6%, I don't think it's fair to say that FF is trailing anyone now. Furthermore, I'm finding that FF4b7 is actually loading some pages faster than Chrome is, so clearly there are other improvements under the hood besides javascript performance that are contributing to its overall speed. Quite frankly, at the moment my ISP, as well as the volume of internet traffic to some of the websites I visit frequently, are having a more significant impact on overall page loading speeds than any individual browser's javascript performance.
    eMJayy
  • RE: Firefox 4 beta 7 - Fast, but Chrome and Opera are faster

    They really need to release FF4 soon or else IE is going to eat right into its marketshare. I'm not worried about Chrome because most people have seen the light and will not use that spyware. And you can forget about Opera after the stink they raised with Microsoft. FF really needs a new PM to get them back on track and release a final build.
    Loverock Davidson
    • Use Chromium Instead

      @Loverock Davidson If people don't wanna use Chrome, they could always use Chromium instead. <img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/wink.gif" alt="wink">

      Personally, I use all three browsers (IE9, FF3, Chrome) and I like all three of them for different reasons.
      statuskwo5
      • RE: Firefox 4 beta 7 - Fast, but Chrome and Opera are faster

        Chromium is an absolute rocket. I don't find it quite as stable as Firefox yet, but it runs like a pocket-rocket.
        markomd
    • RE: Firefox 4 beta 7 - Fast, but Chrome and Opera are faster

      @Loverock Davidson
      Sorry but I think more people are leaving FFox for Chrome rather than IE9. I know if I did leave FFox I would pick Chrome over IE9. Lack of useful addons for IE is the problem.
      bughunter999
      • Given that IE9 is a Beta...

        @bughunter999 ...and no one outside of geek circles knows (or cares) of its existence, then no, people will not be leaving FF in favor of IE 9. So what's the point?
        cornpie
      • RE: Firefox 4 beta 7 - Fast, but Chrome and Opera are faster

        @bughunter999
        I could agree to some extent, but I would use chromium or midori. the problem with these browsers is that they lack the features that set Firefox apart. Although Firefox is a bit more of a midweight browser, it is more secure and gets patches, if neccessary much more faster than Microsoft IE or Google Chrome. I personally do not care 100 percent for Opera and would not choose to have it on my system, but would use it on another system if it were there.
        Daschmi
    • RE: Firefox 4 beta 7 - Fast, but Chrome and Opera are faster

      @Loverock Davidson
      The IE9 user interface is horrible and unalterable. I hate it so I don't care if it's 100 times faster than FireFox, I won't use it. MS forced us to use their stinking ribbon interface on Office with no backward compatibility. Now they want to do it on IE. No thanks!
      JoeFoerster
      • LOL - That bad, huh...

        I feel your pain, @JoeFoerster

        The trade off for simple, lightweight browsers is fewer functions.

        Unless another browser comes up with an ad blocker as good as AdBlock, then there's no looking at anything else.
        ahh so
      • RE: Firefox 4 beta 7 - Fast, but Chrome and Opera are faster

        @Ah so
        right on the money! It is a trade off as i stated earlier in another post. All of the others have very few add ons or the equivilent to make it comparable. It is like comparing apples to oranges, both are browsers, but different species. The Ribbon Interface requires more getting used to (it took me taking a class in college to get to like the newer interface in Office 2007).
        Daschmi