Firefox 3.1

I am amazed by Firefox 3.1 beta 2. Just look at the results of running the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark:

  • Firefox 3.0.5 gave a total time of 7974.0ms ± 2.4%
  • Firefox 3.1b2 gives a total time of 2867.0ms ± 4.3%

That’s an astounding speed increase. The browser feels snappier, especially with JavaScript-intensive sites like Gmail, which I usually keep open all day. That’s thanks to Mozilla’s new JavaScript engine, Tracemonkey.

There are many new features in Firefox 3.1, but I haven’t explored them. The only thing I care about right now is speed, and am happy with what I see so far. The beta version is good enough to use full-time.

Another ‘experiment’ I did try was to test memory usage; by starting a fresh browser instance and opened five tabs (two Gmail pages, Google Calendar, Google Reader, Google Docs). The results:

  • Firefox 3.0.5 used 195Mb of RAM and 369Mb of Virtual Memory
  • Firefox 3.1b2 used 132Mb of RAM and 373Mb of Virtual Memory

Firefox is a memory hog, and I usually have to kill it a few times each day as it slowly but surely takes up all my available memory (my laptop just has 1Gb of RAM). This test was pretty much inconclusive; I’ll use the beta for a few days to get a feel for its stability before making any judgements on its memory performance.