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By Christoph Laumann, President and Managing Partner, 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.

About Rich

Rich is the owner and creator of Windows Guides; he spends his time breaking things on his PC so he can write how-to guides to fix them.

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3 thoughts on “Aurora Firefox 7 Promises Speed”

  1. JustinzHereNow says:

    Aurora is slightly faster sometime and chrome is slight faster sometime… can’t decide which is better!

  2. Alexandra Lawrenz says:

    Christoph, I agree with you that this Aurora will change people’s
    previous pre-conceived notions about Firefox being a slow browser. Firefox has certainly
    increased their performance and improved a lot of features. I especially like
    that it can now load multiple tabs faster than before, because I open so many! If
    you’re curious about more updates for Firefox 7, I wrote a blog post on the
    topic: http://bit.ly/smL9KV

  3. Dsadsa says:

     ishoud stick to ie..ahha

Comments are closed.

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