As you may be aware, Chrome has something of a reputation for being a resource hog, and rival Firefox is aiming to hit Google’s browser in this potential Achilles heel with news that it has hugely streamlined memory usage when lots of tabs are open.
And we mean lots of tabs. As Mozilla developer Dietrich Ayala explains, he did some testing (opens in new tab) with Firefox having 1,691 tabs open – yes, 1,691 – and found that while the current version of the browser (54) was very sluggish to start up and used a lot of system memory (unsurprisingly), Firefox 55 (currently in beta testing) and 56 make massive strides on both these fronts.
According to Ayala’s benchmarking, Firefox 54 took over four minutes to start up with this massive-multi-tab configuration open in the browser, but with Firefox 55 that time has been reduced to just 15 seconds.
Perhaps even more importantly, with all these tabs open Firefox 54 used up just over 2GB of system memory, whereas with Firefox 55, memory usage is less than 0.5GB. That’s obviously a startling improvement at just a quarter of the previous figure.
All this is down to the new ‘quantum flow’ project in which Firefox engineers are seriously trying to optimize the browser’s level of responsiveness, clearly with a good deal of success.
As mentioned, Chrome has something of a reputation for using up a lot of system resources, particularly with a lot of tabs active, and we’ve certainly experienced our PC having serious issues with large numbers of tabs open.
Mozilla will be hoping to attract power users with this freshly streamlined operation and added nippiness, although it isn’t just those of us who have hundreds of tabs open simultaneously who will benefit.
Obviously, the overall leanness of memory usage will be a good thing for everyone, even folks who only operate with a small collection of tabs.
Firefox does, however, have a lot of ground to make up, only having a 12% slice of the desktop browser market according to Netmarketshare’s figures for June. That’s behind Internet Explorer which is on 16.8%, and Chrome is by far the dominant force with 59.5% of the market.
Via: On MSFT (opens in new tab)
- For even more computing power, check out the best gaming PC