Aurora Firefox 7 Promises Speed

Guest Article By:

Christoph Laumann,
President and Managing Partner,
TuneUp

TuneUp

Mozilla recently pre-released Firefox 7, also known as Aurora, which promises massive performance enhancements for Javascript and significantly lower memory usage. Over the past few years, Mozilla had gained a reputation as a somewhat slow browser, but that’s about to change with Aurora. This version sits right between the stable beta release of Firefox 6.0 and the highly experimental nightly builds currently running at version 8.0.

One of the first major improvements of note is a massive reduction in overall memory consumption. According to the company’s developer blog, memory fragmentation of Javascript objects has been a serious problem. For example, after closing a Javascript applet the memory it previously occupied would not be entirely regained and eventually the browser’s memory usage would grow exponentially, leading to massive slowdowns. This issue has been fixed in Aurora. Additionally, the “garbage collector” runs more frequently to clear up memory occupied by Firefox. Users can also now see how much memory is occupied by individual components of the browser with the new and improved “about : memory” page.

This enhanced memory is good news for serious multi-tab users, who often experience a delay in page loads. Firefox 5 users especially may have found multi-tab loading particularly cumbersome. TuneUp recently conducted a performance intense memory usage benchmark to test how the new browser measured up. With 27 tabs, Firefox 5 claims an astonishing 659 MB of RAM for itself after all tabs have finished loading. Compared to Firefox 7.0a2, loading 27 websites dropped from current memory usage of 670 MB to 496 MB. Firefox.exe peaked at only 658 MB.

To put these results into perspective, Internet Explorer 9 needed a total of 814 MB with a peak at almost 1.3 GB to display the 27 websites which is an incredibly large amount. Google Chrome’s latest beta release consumed 693 MB and peaked at 1.1 GB. It was surprising to see Firefox 7 as the most resource-friendly browser.

This new version of Firefox is optimized for web developers as well. Since optimizing the browser is only one part of the equation, Mozilla also integrated performance monitoring tools to help developers gauge how fast their websites’ navigation works. Firefox logs websites’ responsiveness so that developers can optimize their own websites accordingly.

Overall, Mozilla has done some incredible work improving their performance. Other browsers need to follow suit as users’ move to low-powered devices such as netbooks and tablets, which increases the demand for lean browsers. It will be interesting to see the additional improvements Mozilla has made to the final version and what’s in store for Firefox 8.

For more Windows tips and tricks visit the TuneUp Blog about Windows at http://blog.tune-up.com.

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6 thoughts on “Aurora Firefox 7 Promises Speed

Add yours

  1. To me, each and every firefox new versions get slower and slower to load up, and I’m particularly annoyed by the fact that plugins don’t always work with the newer version. Bigger numbers are not always better.

    Like

    1. myComputer,

      I agree with you that the plugins don’t always work with the newer versions and end up playing catch up. This will especially get more entangled due the mood out there in the browser world is to pump out version after version as quickly as possible.

      Thanks for commenting…

      Rick

      Like

  2. For me, Firefox is the epitome of what a web browser should be. It allows the user to customize it’s interface in any way imaginable, via the customize dialog, about:config, or the many addons. Since I started using Firefox in 2008 I’ve gone from zero addons to 212, to now currently, a more manageable 62. Each one of those 62 addons is essential to my everyday browsing experience. What has amazed me is that after version 3.6, Firefox still is very fast and doesn’t use to much memory on my laptop that has 2GB of ram. Prior to version 4, when I had 200+ addons I could notice a slight decrease in performance. Now with the latest versions (4-6) there is very slight, if any performance loss. I’ve tried Chrome, and I do notice an obvious performance gain over the current version of Firefox. The problem with Chrome is, that after installing 40+ extensions, with 50+ tabs open it becomes unusable. With firefox I can do the same thing and it doesn’t become sluggish. With the releases of Firefox 7,8,9, etc. now firefox will become even faster. I can’t wait til 7 comes out. Then I’ll have the speed of Chrome with the extensibility of Firefox. I’m sorry for this rambling, long winded comment. I just had to share my experience with Firefox:)

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  3. Ben,

    Wow over 200 add-ons… I now have to wonder who out there has the most add-ons installed?

    No problem on the rambling on. Your response is actually one of the best I have had in a long while.

    Rick

    Like

  4. I have it and it sucks! its the biggest memory hog of all time. a complete and utter failure, don’t upgrade to it you will regret it.

    Like

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