Firefox 10 has just been released and Mozilla is raving on the new improved add-on compatibility, UI tweaks and other minor enhancements. Is it worth all the noise? We will compare the latest Firefox iteration to its predecessor and latest stable versions of other major browsers to check out the performance improvements.
This time we have also included Internet Explorer 9 along with the rest of browsers.
Prerequisites for the test
- All the browsers were updated to their latest stable versions, that is Chrome 16.0.912.77, Firefox 10.0, Opera 11.61 and Internet Explorer 9.0.8.
- All browsers were 32 bit.
- Hardware Acceleration was enabled on all browsers except Opera where the support was missing
- The tests were performed on a HP G42-478TX laptop with Core i3-370M processor, 6 GB DDR3 RAM and AMD Mobility Radeon 6370 Graphics.
The benchmarks we performed were
With the inclusion of IE 9, the equation has changed and surprisingly it has managed to beat even Firefox 10 in this benchmark. Chrome 16 lags significantly.
Chrome 16 managed to beat Firefox 10 in this test by a slight margin. Firefox 10 has made massive improvements when compared to Firefox 9. IE 9 was trailing by biblical proportions in this intensive benchmark.
Chrome leads here too, this time by a significant margin of around 2000. Firefox 10 despite its improvements fails to inch closer in this benchmark. Other major browsers do not even come closer to Firefox 10, with Internet Explorer 9 being the slowest of all.
Hardware Stress Test
Due to the absence of hardware accelerated browsing, Opera 11.61 lagged significantly compared to all other browsers. The next major version of the browser though is touted to feature Hardware Acceleration finally.
Real World Metrics: Memory Consumption
The above benchmarks make little sense from a common user’s perspective, as the difference is barely in milliseconds. So we decided to aggressively benchmark the Memory and the CPU consumption of these browsers. For this test , we opened in total 10 tabs with the following sites which users would commonly browse.
- YouTube, playing a 360p Video : Flash performance
- OMGUbuntu! and Phoronix (Linux Blog Sites) : for static content
- Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Google Reader , Google Plus Home page. : chosen due to heavy and very dynamic content.
- TechSplurge Home Page and an article page : WordPress Performance
The results were really astonishing
Firefox 10 left every other browser far behind in the cold with an amazingly low memory consumption of 380 MB, with Firefox 9 and Opera 11 trailing closely. Chrome was the real monster, consuming nearly 1.15 GB of RAM, followed by Internet Explorer 9 at 845 MB. Mozilla definitely deserves the kudos once again for bringing down the memory consumption by massive margins. Chrome despite being really fast, is clearly not the preferred browser when you want your browser to use your limited resources judiciously.
All the browsers featured here, pleasingly did well on this front with barely 0.5% CPU consumption. Though on Chrome there were occasional spikes, possibly due to buggy Flash integration.
Firefox 10 has delivered on many fronts, but it still lags behind Chrome in few benchmarks.
With the browsers improving in performance everyday, it is going to be really interesting to see how Mozilla devs manage to cope up with Google Chrome. While the real challenge for Google Chrome developers would be to bring down the insane levels of memory consumption without the stability and performance taking a hit.
The latter part would be definitely anticipated in the upcoming Chrome 17 release.