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Firefox 3.5 Benchmarked, Close To Original Chrome 338

Posted by timothy
from the ramping-up-tracking-down dept.
CNETNate writes "The tests prove it: It's the third-fastest browser in the world, and over twice as fast as Firefox 3. In terms of Javascript performance, Firefox 3.5's new rendering engine places it squarely above Opera 10's beta and Internet Explorers 7 and 8 (based on previous benchmarks), plus it's getting on for being almost as quick as the original version of Google Chrome. Also, the new location-awareness feature was testing in central London, and pinpointed yours truly to within a few hundred meters — easily enough for, say, a Starbucks Web site to tell you where your nearest Starbucks is."
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Firefox 3.5 Benchmarked, Close To Original Chrome

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  • by the_humeister (922869) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @02:40PM (#28546821)

    I prefer to read the html code and interpret them myself...

  • by dasuser (1173323) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @02:44PM (#28546875)
    Well, I guess we're in for a thread about how Firefox is still the (greatest|worst) browser in existence because of its (extensions|javascript performance|standards compliance|support for HTML 5). Looks like I need to go and get some snacks and pull up a recliner.
    • by Kjella (173770) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @02:52PM (#28547041) Homepage

      I'm very much looking forward to the <video> element - because every other solution tends to suck bigtime under Linux. There's a huge market for flash to do flash games and whatever but I really look forward to watching embedded video without it. I'll install x264 and not care about the codec wars as long it "just works". Opera is late to the party here, won't even be in 10.0 initial release :/. Too bad, because for various reasons I like it even better than Firefox...

      • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:18PM (#28547477) Homepage

        I'm very much looking forward to the element - because every other solution tends to suck bigtime under Linux.

        I'm looking forward to it because every other solution tends to suck under every OS. Flash is a resource hog and crashes frequently-- and besides, why should I need flash just to view a video? I don't understand that one.

        AFAICT, the only reason we're all using Flash is that it was a stop-gap measure to deal with the fact that normal video support in web browsers wasn't what it should have been. It's like all the various mutli-column HTML/CSS tricks that people use because HTML just doesn't directly support columns. It works well enough for now, but it should be seen as "something to be fixed".

        • by rsborg (111459)

          AFAICT, the only reason we're all using Flash is that it was a stop-gap measure to deal with the fact that normal video support in web browsers wasn't what it should have been.

          Which is why Flash's enemy #1 right now is HTML5. Once flash video becomes unneccessary, flash will become as useful as java applets within two years. Adobe's biggest friend right now is probably Microsoft (really).

        • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @04:48PM (#28549327) Homepage

          Agreed. It's amazing how bad Flash is on the Mac. There is a reason Apple is trying to kill it (beyond lack of control).

          HD video looks very nice. My Mac can play Apple's QuickTime h.264 clips, even those larger than the screen. It's not really a problem. It's a dual core 2.4GHz MBP.

          Yet it drops frames on YouTube's 720p videos, and can do the same some times on other large (high pixel count) web videos (such as the HD 540p clips on GameSpot). There is no excuse for a 540p video not playing back smoothly and need ~85%+ of each core.

          Download the same video in any format, no problem at all.

          Flash video is just horrible. That's not even mentioning all the problems caused by every people on the 'net inventing their own Flash video player (some don't buffer content, some won't let you skip to arbitrary points, etc).

          The video element is fantastic. I hope it catches on fast.

      • by DdJ (10790) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:57PM (#28548273) Homepage Journal

        I'll install x264 and not care about the codec wars as long it "just works".

        So far I haven't been able to get this to just work. If I point Safari at the YouTube HTML5 video demo, it all just works. But Firefox 3.5 doesn't have the x264 code, and fails silently, and I can find no mechanism to install that codec.

        So, any pointers?

      • by evilviper (135110) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @04:17PM (#28548675) Journal

        I'm very much looking forward to the element - because every other solution tends to suck bigtime under Linux.

        Before Flash came along, web video on Linux was a great thing. MPlayer supported the big tree formats very well (Quicktime, Real, and Windows Media) and performed extremely well. Open Source browser plugins didn't disabled the controls, and made it easy to download the source of the video, no matter how obfusticated the web page code.

        In fact, MPlayer supports all types of FLV video as well... The problem being the way its embedded into a page requires a SWF interpreter to even find the URL to the FLV file, and as of yet, nobody has written-up what should be a rather simple bit of code to do that, and pass the URL back to the user, or directly to a video player.

    • by Sunshinerat (1114191) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @04:09PM (#28548531)

      You forgot the complaints that FireFox is a memory hog when you have 389 tabs open.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by ThePhilips (752041)

      Looks like I need to go and get some snacks and pull up a recliner.

      Don't bother. Flames will not last long.

      To me personally the whole thing is senseless: benchmarking feature-full browser versus some puny, prototypical, essentially useless thing? Try again next time.

      I understand Opera v. FireFox flames. Both are feature-full and useful. Both have their merits. That can be flamed about.

      But Chrome?? They do not even have usable bookmark!? Who in their right mind would call it a browser? Even Mosaic 10+ years ago was more useful than Chrome is now. It would be forgi

  • We're #3 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @02:45PM (#28546895)
    We're #3 - wow that's something to boast about.

    According to Nike, this means that your the second loser.
  • by Joce640k (829181) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @02:47PM (#28546923) Homepage
    The new benchmark in Javascript performance - slashdot.

    ...and I wonder if it will be powerful enough to get the line breaks right in "plain text" mode so I don't have to insert "br" tags manually.
    • by gfody (514448)
      If the javascript performance were anywhere near chrome's you would be able to tell from running some of the examples here [chromeexperiments.com]
  • pffft (Score:5, Funny)

    by ocularDeathRay (760450) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @02:48PM (#28546945) Journal
    I just did my own test and lynx is faster than firefox and chrome.
  • Big Brother... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dfxm (1586027)
    Why is it when the government can keep tabs about where we are it's "draconian" or "orwellian," but when a web browser does it, it's "cool"?
    • Re:Big Brother... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kurusuki (1049294) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @02:56PM (#28547099)
      For one, the government usually doesn't ask for permission first. Not to mention that the information used to determine your geolocation is also derived from something already passed to the web host, your IP, assuming you're not using the WiFi option. Generally speaking web pages can achieve a similar result already with a little effort. As it stands this new feature isn't making new information available to the public, it's just making old information a bit more friendly.
    • Re:Big Brother... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:00PM (#28547163) Homepage Journal

      You have the option of not using the web browser.

      Beyond that, I tried one of the location demos. A Firefox prompt opened at the top of the window: "${site} wants to know your location: Share Location, Don't Share" with a checkbox to remember the settings for that site. Go ahead and explain how you could possibly be offended by that.

      • An extention that pings a private website every few minutes whenever it has a connection, combined remember sites that I have identified as ok could lead to problems. It would take a bit of work, but if I were say a victim of domestic abuse married to a hacker, I might hesitate to bring the laptop with me when I finally took off.

        • An extention that pings a private website every few minutes whenever it has a connection,

          There are easier ways to implement this, like a cron job (or the Windows equivalent) that does the same thing whether or not a browser is open.

    • Probably because:

      1. You can turn the feature off in the browser. (At least, I'd hope so.)
      2. The browser doesn't have the ability to pass laws that make you a criminal.
      3. You don't pay taxes to your browser, only to have it track you in return.
      4. ????
      5. You get the picture.

    • by owlnation (858981)

      Why is it when the government can keep tabs about where we are it's "draconian" or "orwellian," but when a web browser does it, it's "cool"?

      Yep. This "feature" sounds as welcome as the Awesome Bar. Can it be disabled? Cos it's definitely a deal breaker.

      • by Toonol (1057698)
        I believe it can be, so in that sense it's far better than the 'awesome' bar. It seems that the default option is to pester you with requests until you turn it off, though.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by mdwh2 (535323)

      Mozilla today announced Firefox 3.5, which will be compulsory for all citizens to install on their machines.

      "The public support these plans," claimed the Mozilla spokesperson, "So we have passed legislation that will require Firefox to be installed on all computers, allowing us to keep track of the population, which is essential in the battle against terrorism".

      A copy of Firefox is expected to cost around £100. "Most people keep their computers for about 8 years," claimed the Government, "So it's only

  • by AmigaHeretic (991368) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @02:53PM (#28547047) Journal
    .. I know 92% of time statistics are made up, but if you read the article you'll see they have a pretty graph, so I think the data is good.
    • by Bigby (659157)

      No. 84% of time statistics are made up.

      • In academics: 43.9% of statistic are made up.
        In business: 72.3%, although banks were slightly higher than average.
        In politics: 99.991%, although it's possible the .009% were a sampling error.

        Now if I could just make this a pretty graph.

      • by Abreu (173023)

        Wrong.

        The last study shows that exactly 78.34% of statistics quoted in a casual conversation are made up in the spot.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      (...) but if you read the article you'll see they have a pretty graph, so I think the data is good.

      Yes, because a picture lies more than a thousand words or something like that...

  • by SteelRealm (1363385) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @02:57PM (#28547101)
    "Firefox 3.5's new rendering engine places it squarely above Opera 10's beta and Internet Explorers 7 and 8 (based on previous benchmarks)" Opera 9.6 =! Opera 10 Beta, or am I missing something here?
  • by tnk1 (899206) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @02:57PM (#28547113)

    Having used Chrome now for a little while after becoming irritated with FFX's memory utilization in particular, I'm going to have to admit that while it is quantifiably better than FFX (and Opera) in many ways, I don't find the speed difference compelling. Indeed, I find myself occasionally wondering if Chrome is actually slower than FFX in some ways. I am still using it, as the memory utilization is significantly better, but the little inconsistencies in presentation and the weird sensation that it feels slower makes me really want to switch back to Firefox. If Mozilla can get off their ass and really plug the memory leaks and utilization, I'd probably switch back today.

    That's not to say that Chrome is bad. It's 100% usable, and its much more compatible with sites I use than Opera is. (I tried Opera first after I started looking around). The problem is that it still breaks some sites that aren't broken in IE or Firefox. And whether or not you blame the browser or the non-standards compliant webmasters, the reality is that I cannot switch their sites, but I can switch browsers that I am using. That means I have opened IE 7 windows more while using Chrome, than I have with Firefox.

    • I do occasionally find myself opening FFX windows while using Chrome. Mostly for links that are supposed to go to files for download. Chrome has an odd tendency to not like those. Other than that Chrome has pretty much taken over my browsing experience since within about week of the first launch. So it's nice to know that my back up is almost as fast as the original chrome...
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You might wanna recheck your preconceptions - a lot has changed in the past few releases for Firefox: http://dotnetperls.com/chrome-memory

      It's too bad a lot of people still think Firefox is such a memory hog when really they've refined it to be one of the most quick and efficient browsers available.

      That said, your mileage may vary depending on the add-ons you choose, but as long as you don't go overboard there's no reason your memory usage should be significantly different than those in the benchmark.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by tnk1 (899206)

        You might wanna recheck your preconceptions - a lot has changed in the past few releases for Firefox: http://dotnetperls.com/chrome-memory [dotnetperls.com]

        It's too bad a lot of people still think Firefox is such a memory hog when really they've refined it to be one of the most quick and efficient browsers available.

        That said, your mileage may vary depending on the add-ons you choose, but as long as you don't go overboard there's no reason your memory usage should be significantly different than those in the benchmark.

        I have the latest versions of Firefox and Chrome and my switchover was not all that long ago (a month, maybe two). I tend to use both browsers in the same way, about 6-10 tabs open at the same time, with all of them getting some use, and many of them being used at almost the same time.

        After having stared at the task manager and seen FFX taking up over 400MB of RAM while I see Chrome using 150-170 to do the same things, I can pretty much tell you that there's no preconceptions involved, only data. I am not

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Simetrical (1047518)

        You might wanna recheck your preconceptions - a lot has changed in the past few releases for Firefox: http://dotnetperls.com/chrome-memory [dotnetperls.com]

        That benchmark is worthless. Especially for Chrome. Quote: "When a process with the same name such as 'chrome.exe' is encountered more than once, its total size is accumulated, yielding a total of all the 'chrome.exe' figures together." Apparently the author has never heard of shared memory! See Google Chrome Memory Usage - Good and Bad [chromium.org] on the Chromium blog for some discussion on this.

        The other browsers might not be using multiple processes, but the same flaws apply to a lesser degree. Every library

    • I can run 100+ tabs in FF with no problem. Chrome starts choking after 10-15. At least in my humble experience.

  • I posted a blog about this [blogspot.com] yesterday. I tried Firefox 3.5 in a Windows XP VMware Virtual machine yesterday and quickly web back to Firefox 3.0.

    The problem is that FF 3.5 freezes while loading a background tab. In Firefox 3.0, I have no problem clicking on some link that looks interesting, loading the link in a new tab, and continue reading the article I'm reading or what not.

    This doesn't work in 3.5. When I load a page in a background tab, the entire Firefox client freezes up when it's processing Ja

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by kaiser423 (828989)
      I don't see that problem here...neither do about a half dozen of my coworkers. Are you sure that your install wasn't boinked in some way?

      Because for me at least, it's blazing fast and one tab does not bring the other tabs down like it did sometimes in the past...
    • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:40PM (#28547939) Homepage Journal

      I suspect some configuration problem on your end, to be honest. I'm running FF3.5 on XP SP3 inside of VirtualBox. I do not see that behaviour. Using snaplinks, I just opened six tabs, and the current tab remained responsive while they loaded in the background.

      Whether the configuration problem is in your VM, within Windows, or in Firefox, I couldn't even begin to guess. In my case, I have 1 gig of memory allocated to the VM - if you have less memory, that might be something to look at.

      Of course it's possible that my FF is different than yours in some subtle way. I upgraded from FF 3.5 b4 to FF 3.5 RC1 and then to FF 3.5 final. I really wouldn't EXPECT there to be any real difference, but crap happens, right?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      VMware is probably swapping to free memory. You can disable the swapping of memory by VMware which will significantly improve performance (as long as you do not run out of memory).

      Basically it sounds like you're waiting for the hdd to load something while at the same time writing out swap data.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by cbhacking (979169)

      ClearType is optional in IE, has been for years. No idea where you got the idea it was forcing you to do anything. Tools -> Internet Options -> Advanced -> First item under Multimedia. It does default to true in IE8, since most people are using flat panels by now and find antialiased text less readable, but it's still optional.

      To set IE8's default fonts, click Fonts at the bottom of the General tab in Internet Options.
      To override page-specified fonts, open Internet Options, click Accessibility (und

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I ran the SunSpider [webkit.org] JavaScript benchmark on Chrome 2.0.172.33, Firefox 3.5, and IE8. Firefox was almost 7x faster than IE, and Chrome almost 8x faster. Of particular interest are the contraflow and recursive tests. Chrome: 4.4ms. Firefox: 55.4ms. IE...? 218.4ms. Chrome is fifty times faster than IE in those benchmarks. Embarassing!

    • by Bert64 (520050)

      IE has always had a really lousy javascript engine...
      http://pentestmonkey.net/jsbm/index.html [pentestmonkey.net]

      Safari 4 seems very fast when its freshly started, but slows down a lot when it's been open a while...

    • Not embarassing at all - to Microsoft, at least. They just don't care. So long as they have the lion's share of the market, they are perfectly happy with any sad performance that people are willing to settle for.

      Spread the word far and wide. Tell your family, tell your freind, tell your enemies, IE sucks. When they stop using it, everyone will benefit, including MS. If MS wants to keep market share, they'll invest time and money into making a better browser. If they don't want to keep market share, th

    • by BZ (40346) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @05:57PM (#28550511)

      As with any benchmark, important questions to ask:

      1) Does this measure things that are actually relevant? (For sunspider the answer is
              "maybe".)
      2) Does it do a good job of measuring them? (For sunspider the answer is "maybe".)
      3) Do the scores on the subtests of the benchmark mean anything? (For sunspider, as for
              any benchmark, the answer is "only if you're doing that exact thing that the subtest is
              doing").

      None of which makes V8 slower than what IE is using, of course, across a broad range of loads. But it's pretty easy to write script that's 4x slower in V8 than in Firefox... or 10x faster (as the benchmark above). What really matters to a web page developer is how fast the different browsers run his code, not how fast they run benchmarks. What matters to a user is how fast the different browsers run the code of the sites he visits, not how fast they run benchmarks. Benchmarks are a poor proxy for both, especially when dealing with these early-stage JITs. It's pretty easy to tweak the code just a bit and have it jit a lot worse (or a lot better). It's also pretty easy to tweak the JIT to make particular tests faster, since so much of the game is various heuristics.

      All of which is to say that better sunspider performance may or may not translate into better performance on _your_ code, and in fact improving sunspider performance may regress performance on your code if the JIT is seriously being tuned for sunspider...

  • by Ark42 (522144) <slashdot@nosPaM.morpheussoftware.net> on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:06PM (#28547291) Homepage

    I tried to do something pretty seemingly simple [ark42.com] with Javascript (1 draggable line to redraw the background colors of the table), and it drags its ass on IE8. It is fast and smooth in FF/Opera/etc, but with so many people using IE still, it hardly matters.

  • If you want to install the new Firefox 3.5, you are well advised to remove all traces of previous versions. Otherwise your new install will have bizarre behavior like failing to open up links from websites like digg [slashdot.org] and being slow.

    What I did was to uninstall it through the Windows XP control panel and delete all instances of Mozilla and Firefox in the registry. This is one bit of info developers should have informed us about.

    Does anyone know how to use its geo-location feature?

    By the way, it does not scor

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Roman Coder (413112)

      Your experience was not mine. I installed 3.5 over the older version, and have had no problems at all so far. I've visited Digg, Facebook, plus many other sites, no worries (so far?). /shrug

  • I don't care... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cyberjock1980 (1131059) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:14PM (#28547409)

    I don't care how fast it loads webpages. What I want to see is a browser that isn't riddled with bugs and easy ways for badware to end up infecting my machine. I'll gladly surf on the slowest browser in the world if it really is proven to be the most secure. So what if I save a few seconds surfing web pages. That is nothing compared to the hours spent trying to get rid of a virus/trojan/keylogger/etc.

  • From just poking around the web with gecko and webkit browsers I found a bunch of pages that looked fine rendered by gecko, but had elements in the wrong place or other visual problems rendered with webkit. The majority of sites render fine in both, but not all and other then acid tests I haven't visited any that rendered better in webkit.

    I'd rather have the page look good than be super fast, so I'll stick with firefox until sites render as well in webkit or firefox becomes unusable slow.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Colonel Korn (1258968)

      From just poking around the web with gecko and webkit browsers I found a bunch of pages that looked fine rendered by gecko, but had elements in the wrong place or other visual problems rendered with webkit. The majority of sites render fine in both, but not all and other then acid tests I haven't visited any that rendered better in webkit.

      I'd rather have the page look good than be super fast, so I'll stick with firefox until sites render as well in webkit or firefox becomes unusable slow.

      Yes, but the Acid3 scores and JS benchmarks show that webkit is better. Now just stop using the internet and switch to using Acid3 and JS benchmarks for all your computer needs and you'll be fixed.

  • The downside is... that almost nothing works with it; hardly any code has been ported for themes, plug-ins or add-ons, so you're basically starting back at square one again.

    I tried it here on 64-bit Linux, using the Adobe flash plugin and got dozens of crashes/hangs (even the bug-reporting feature hung, and had to be xkill'd off). It's faster, but it crashes a LOT more than 3.0.11 for me, given my current use of the browser as a productivity tool.

    Those crashes were with no plugins installed at all. My 3

    • Did you

      rm -R ~/.mozilla

      or

      mv ~/.mozilla ~/.old_mozilla

      If not, that could be your problem right there.

      • by hacker (14635)

        No, nor do I have to. I was starting with a clean profile, as I do with every Firefox version I test.

        The problem isn't the profile itself, it's that the plug-ins and add-ons literally do not install, because they query the browser version and refuse to do so, unless I mangle them and force it... and that's not going to be met with success, if the code in the plug-in itself needs to be updated for the new Firefox codebase.

        It'll take a few months before everything coalesces back to a place where 3.0.x plu

  • I'm sorry, but Lynx is still faster than all of the above. When will we see fair treatment of all browsers? That's racist.
  • Seattle (Score:4, Funny)

    by verloren (523497) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:36PM (#28547821)

    Presumably in Seattle it could tell you where your nearest 100 Starbucks are...

  • Compared to the current Chrome 2, Firefox 3.5 with JIT enabled gets 1/2 the speed here [jupiter909.com], 7/8th the speed here [jupiter909.com], but about 2x the speed here [jupiter909.com]. That's a much better result than ff3.1!

    Well done, guys.

  • by zoips (576749) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:58PM (#28548289) Homepage
    The Tracemonkey JIT doesn't work on x86_64 [mozilla.org] in the Firefox 3.5 release. Apparently it works in trunk, but for those on x86_64 machines, you either have to run the 32 bit version or just deal with no JIT.
  • I thought Safari was the fastest. http://crave.cnet.co.uk/software/0,39029471,49301219,00.htm [cnet.co.uk]

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