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Latest firefox nightlies significantly faster than 3.5
Been playing with the latest nightly builds of firefox, and it looks like the firefox devs are definitely not sitting on their hands regarding firefox performance. So far, I'm seeing a consistent 10% speedup compared to the release of firefox 3.5. The metric used is the Sunspider benchmark released by webkit performance benchmark. All other processes were terminated during this test, and all add-ons were disabled.

The raw data:

Results from 3.5 1851.6ms +/- 0.7%

Results from the trunk builds 1689.2ms +/- 5.5%

Obviously, the nightly isn't anywhere near ready for production, and some of the more fun planned updates like multi-process firefox are still under development, but it's still nice to see that team firefox isn't pulling a microsoft, who completely disbanded their web browser team after IE6 was released.


Ran further benchmarks testing more conditions, by both enabling my normally used extensions -- adblock plus, noscript, and weave, and also by enabling JIT on the browser. The results are as follows:

3.5 Extensions enabled, chrome disabled 1834.8ms +/- 0.5%

3.5 Extensions enabled, chrome JIT enabled 1833.8ms +/- 2.4%

Nightly, Extensions enabled, chrome JIT enabled 1711.0ms +/- 4.5%

Nightly, extensions enabled, chrome JIT disabled 1665.2ms +/- 5.4%

As you can see, enabling chrome JIT doesn't seem to alter performance a significant amount, and add-ons don't seem to do too much for javascript performance, and UI performance doesn't seem to be much different as well. It'll be interesting to see how things change in the coming months as more stuff is landed to trunk.

Update 2:

Decided to extend the test to all other current browsers. Unsurprisingly, IE was dead last. Surprisingly, Opera 10 was very slow. It wasn't that long ago that Opera was known for being a fairly speedy rendering engine. I'm curious as to what happened. Also surprising is how much slower seamonkey's nightly is than firefox's. Going to have to check with my contact there to see why it is such slower. Has Seamonkey not landed the latest javascript tweaks.

IE 8 - 8297.6 MS

Google Chrome - Dev Branch - 829.2

Safari 4 - 1141.4

Seamonkey Nightly - 2336.8

Opera 10 Beta - 5437.8

Firefox 3.5 (No JIT) - 4060.0ms

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granted I'm not even on 3.5 yet...

I miss running trunk nightlies and might try it again now. the problem is that the 3.5 Ubuntu builds I found ran like, well, total ass—at least on startup.

Yeah, there's been a lot of bitching in general about startup times of 3.5. They tweaked how they gather entropy at startup to a more secure, but much slower, method which has been causing great consternation.

Presumably Opera can still render quickly, but Javascript speeds are a different thing altogether.

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