Odd Firefox vs. Chrome observation

In a meeting room in London this week, on battery on my little Acer 1410 netbook.

I have noticed that, on battery power on this system, FF is very sluggish compared to Chrome. Example: when I hit the pulldown menu in these forums to select “mark forum read” the menu very slowly drops down. I even notice sluggishness in gmail (typing, etc.)

I switch over to Chrome, same tabs open, etc. and there seems to be no sluggishness at all.

Is this to be expected? I assume the Acer cuts the process speed when on battery (and the sluggishness in FF goes away when I plug the netbook in.) Is there something about FF that takes more “power” or resources than Chrome? This is latest release build of both.


Chrome has a really stinking fast javascript engine. Firefox lags a bit in that department.

Although interestingly, for the versions I have on my work laptop (Firefox 6, Chromium 12-- which is a few months out of date), Firefox is significantly faster. I wonder if real-Chrome has Google’s own stuff in it.

At this point, all major browsers are, generally speaking, pretty fast. Big differences in performance like you are seeing tend to be the result of things like wonky plugins, fragmented profiles, buggy addons, etc. (or different workloads, though that’s not the case here). A surprising number of programs will dump crap into Firefox (I’m not sure if that’s true or not with Chrome) which can really ruin your performance.

Pretty interesting that Firefox is slow when unplugged but about as good otherwise!

Maybe you have an old version of Flash installed? Once nice thing about Chrome is that it autoupdates Flash. Firefox requires that you do it manually, so if you have an old version you may be getting worse performance. A friend of mine updated his Flash, and it dropped his memory usage by about half a gig!

Isn’t another thing that helps make Chrome speedy is that each tab is its own process?

In terms of raw performance, there are some tradeoffs with process-per-tab. Processes are fairly heavy weight, but on the other hand they give you good isolation, so if one tab goes berserk then it won’t kill your entire browser.

My understanding is that real-Chrome is very similar to Chromium. It is just some auxiliary stuff like the built-in PDF reader and maybe the built-in flash, along with branding, that are missing.

Chrome slightly has me won over, due to the whole browser not crashing if one of my Tabs goes crazy.

Only real negative about Chrome is if flash crashes it crashes in every tab. Maybe that’s because of plugins but still meh.

No. On the contrary, this particular feature decreases performance since starting up and communicating between processes takes time than doing everything in a single process. Additional processes use more memory, too.

Yes and no. More memory, yes. Slower? Probably not. While there may be a small cost for inter-process communication and memory overhead there are a number of big performance wins. Here’s an article on why Firefox has also been moving towards a multi-process model.

Interesting. So the total load of a web browser with multiple pages open is large enough that assigning each page to a separate process actually makes it more efficient, at least on a multicore system.

Yep, it’s Flash and not Chrome that’s causing that.

Yeah, the same thing will happen on Firefox.

I wish it was just Firefox that crashed whenever Flash shit the bed. As it stands, my entire system hard locks forcing me to cold boot it. I never had the problem before “upgrading” to Flash 10, though, so I think I’ll revert and see if that solves the issue.

Flash crashes generally don’t crash Firefox, since, like in Chrome, they are in a separate process. If it is locking up your entire system, that sounds like something horribly wrong with Flash itself. The latest version of Flash is 11, so you could try upgrading and see if that helps.

I updated to 11 a few days ago and the problem persists. A quick Google search leads me to believe that a lot of people have the same issue. It really only happens with Youtube videos, and even then it’s usually only when I close a tab when the video isn’t completely done loading.

The solutions I’ve seen so far include disabling hardware acceleration for Flash and reverting to Flash 9. I’ve just tried the former so I’ll wait and see if that works before reverting.