Firefox easily outperforms Chrome with many tabs open

first_imgWhen the Chrome web browser appeared from Google it was notable for two reasons: the rate of development and the speed of the browser. Chrome continues to see regular releases that push forward with new/better functionality as well as continuing to get faster. It is one of, if not the fastest browser available at the moment.However, when you start to scale that performance Chrome apparently falls flat on its face. What we are talking about here is having multiple tabs open, which is a very common practice today due to the amount of content we like to look at. It’s not uncommon to have a tab open for your email, another for your social network, and another loading a YouTube video or showing your Twitter stream. The list goes on.Chrome is great for general usage up to a certain point, but when you start opening a lot of tabs it can’t cope. It’s closest rival–Firefox, can though, and in fact excels at coping with hundreds of tabs.Gregor Wagner, a PhD student at the University of California, is a part-time contributor to the Firefox browser. He decided to do some performance tests on Chrome compared to Firefox with particular focus on having lots of tabs open and how that is handled in memory.To do this he used a script that opens 150 of the most popular websites in a browser instance automatically. One page is opened in a new tab every 1.5 seconds. On the latest Firefox nightly build that process takes roughly 6 minutes and 14 seconds. On Chrome, it’s a totally different story with the time escalating to 28 minutes and 55 seconds. That’s well over 4x slower than Firefox.Here’s his actual results:In fact, Wagner found that once you get past 70 tabs Chrome really starts to struggle. The reason seems to be down to the different way in which each browser handles data and tabs. Chrome uses a multi-process model where a new process is started on a per tab basis. Firefox takes a different route and has a single process running that handles all tab data.It seems that either through a bug or design issue Chrome doesn’t end up handling every new tab as a new process. Instead some processes can end up having to cope with multiple tabs and it’s also handled unevenly e.g. one process has 2 sites where as another has 20 sites.At 150 tabs open this leads Chrome to stop responding and max out memory use at 5GB. Firefox on the other hand only used 2GB of memory and continued to work under the same conditions.Whatever the reason for this happening in Chrome, if you are someone who always has a lot of tabs open–a researcher or tech blogger, for example, then you are better off using Firefox until Google have this issue fixed. However, up to a certain point, and probably for the majority of users, you aren’t going to experience this problem.Read more at Gregor Wagner’s bloglast_img