The memory footprint of Firefox 7 (and thus 8) has also been drastically reduced, along with much-needed improvements to garbage collection. they claim that the difference between FF5 and FF8 is very noticeable.
On the 2D canvas front, the huge 20% speed-up is due to the addition of a new graphics backend in Firefox 7 called Azure, which is a unified 2D graphics API that Firefox can use across every platform. At the moment, Cairo handles the interface between Firefox and the host OS’s 2D rendering libraries. Cairo’s performance on top of Direct2D (Windows 7/Vista) is excellent, but it’s not great on either XP or Mac OS X. Azure removes the Direct2D and Quartz (OS X) go-between and allows Firefox to write directly to the underlying 3D subsystems (Direct3D and OpenGL). [Azure – Implement Direct2D Azure Backend]
Firefox 8 = Chrome 14
The only real difference now between Chrome and Firefox (and Internet Explorer 9) is the fancy, Googlesque speculative pre-resolution of DNS and pre-loading of websites. Mozilla can spend the next year improving Firefox’s rendering speeds, but the negotiation and downloading of websites is always going to be the slowest part of surfing the web, and that’s where Google Chrome truly excels.
Firefox might be fast, but Chrome feels fast.
Post author: Daniel Semper