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Firefox 3 Performance Gets a Boost

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Now that Firefox 3 is approaching the home stretch it is important that Mozilla starts to throw in performance improvements to really make the browser purr. Over in our forum xpgeek pointed out that a Profile-Guided Optimization (PGO) build of Firefox 3 had been created which greatly improved the performance of JavaScript in the browser. While PGO itself hasn’t yet landed in the nightly builds there have been some significant improvements to the JavaScript engine.

I’m sure what most of you care the most about are the facts, and so I’ve compiled the results of the SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark test for each of the different browsers. All of the tests below were performed on the same Windows machine, and the Firefox 3 nightly builds definitely came out on top. Here are the results sorted from best to worst. Read more to see the SunSpider results.

  1. Firefox 3 Nightly (PGO Optimized): 7263.8ms
  2. Firefox 3 Nightly (02/25/2008 build): 8219.4ms
  3. Opera 9.5.9807 Beta: 10824.0ms
  4. Firefox 3 Beta 3: 16080.6ms
  5. Safari 3.0.4 Beta: 18012.6ms
  6. Firefox 2.0.0.12: 29376.4ms
  7. Internet Explorer 7: 72375.0ms
It’s important to know that every time you run the SunSpider Benchmark it conducts each test five times, and the result is the average of the five tests. So it is a rather thorough test, and definitely shows off the speed improvements that Firefox 3 is going to be bringing to the table.

What does this all mean for you? Depending on what browser you typically use you may not notice a huge speed difference, but the change will be the most noticeable on sites that use JavaScript heavily. With the Web 2.0 era upon us all JavaScript speed enhancements are welcomed with open arms.

Firefox 3 Beta 4 is expected to be released in the next few weeks, and you can expect to see these (and many more) improvements shining through!

Source: CyberNetNews

Link: Lunarsoft Frontpage

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Good that they are improving the engine and the core.

Too bad they changed the theme, and the new theme is so horribly ugly. :)

If you use the small icons option, it's not as bad.

Though I usually use an add-on compact theme anyway...but, for testing purposes, I'm using the default one in the nightly builds of Fx 3 (Minefield) right now.

Back on the original topic - note that Fx 3 is quite a bit faster than other browsers, with or without PGO.

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This is all fine and dandy for the actual page loading times - how is it for startup? FF2 takes ages to load on my desktop compared to Opera 9.26 or IE7.

I thought you have Linux?

You're right, he does have Linux. He uses Fedora 8 (Linux).

But that does not mean he cant have Windows too.

He can have more than one computer, or more than one operating system on the same computer.

I have a dual-boot configuration on my computer that let me use Windows XP or Ubuntu 8.04 (alpha) at choice.

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This is all fine and dandy for the actual page loading times - how is it for startup? FF2 takes ages to load on my desktop compared to Opera 9.26 or IE7.
I checked the loading times for the latest nightly build and Fx 3 beta 3 versus Fx 2, it's now improved quite a bit. Both the beta and the nightly took about 9 seconds from launch to "done" loading my home page, versus 16 seconds for Fx 2 with the same extensions.

Earlier nightlies were actually slower to load than Fx 2, clearly there's been some serious work done on the problem.

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This is all fine and dandy for the actual page loading times - how is it for startup? FF2 takes ages to load on my desktop compared to Opera 9.26 or IE7.
I checked the loading times for the latest nightly build and Fx 3 beta 3 versus Fx 2, it's now improved quite a bit. Both the beta and the nightly took about 9 seconds from launch to "done" loading my home page, versus 16 seconds for Fx 2 with the same extensions.

Earlier nightlies were actually slower to load than Fx 2, clearly there's been some serious work done on the problem.

It can be quite difficult to make a scientifically correct test of loading times.

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It can be quite difficult to make a scientifically correct test of loading times.
Didn't claim it was scientific or precise, I said about - as in approximate. I did do several repetitions, and the results were consistent.

Tried it again, loading a blank page at startup to eliminate the rendering speed as a factor. Then I got - Fx 3: 6 seconds, Fx 2: 9 seconds. Not as much difference, but still a significant advantage to Fx 3. Your mileage may vary, however. :)

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You're right, he does have Linux. He uses Fedora 8 (Linux).

But that does not mean he cant have Windows too.

Yup - I've got Fedora on my workstation at my university, but Windows on all my other computers. Opera starts faster than FF2 on my Fedora, Windows XP, and Server 2003 systems.

Tried it again, loading a blank page at startup to eliminate the rendering speed as a factor. Then I got - Fx 3: 6 seconds, Fx 2: 9 seconds. Not as much difference, but still a significant advantage to Fx 3. Your mileage may vary, however. :)

Just a word of caution - you really should be restarting your computer between tests. Windows and Linux will cache the program in memory even after you've closed it, so subsequent starts will be much quicker. :)

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Tried it again, loading a blank page at startup to eliminate the rendering speed as a factor. Then I got - Fx 3: 6 seconds, Fx 2: 9 seconds. Not as much difference, but still a significant advantage to Fx 3. Your mileage may vary, however. :)

Just a word of caution - you really should be restarting your computer between tests. Windows and Linux will cache the program in memory even after you've closed it, so subsequent starts will be much quicker. :)

I'm well aware of that; I just forgot to mention that this was with both versions already having been run during that session. Times from a cold start would be much higher.

This was just a quick and dirty test to give a rough idea of relative startup speeds between the two versions. I'm confident that cold start times would be proportionately similar, but I haven't taken the time to do that test - and I don't know if I ever will. I don't have the facilities to do a scientifically accurate test, so why bother?

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