fast firefox




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 (each one is hyperlinked to the full stats):

  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!