Swiftfox is broken on the latest Ubuntu (10.04), and the forums are ghost towns. To run it you essentially have to run Firefox first every time. So I figured I’d reassess my browser usage with a simple test: benchmarks. I had gone to Swiftfox out of frustration with Firefox’s noticeable sluggishness. Now that it was a pain to use and my favorite distro had rendered a once functional program annoying, it was time to look further afield.
This fellow had a few benchmarks to try, and I gave the only one still up a go. Here are my results by browser (key: I ran the test three times, with the format “first render” | “refresh” | “close browser and render again”):
Chrome: 1.6070001125335693 | 1.3510000705718994 | 1.5179998874664307
Opera: 2.129999876022339 | 2.1589999198913574 | 2.301999807357788
Firefox: 7.715000152587891 | 5.833999872207642 | 5.708000183105469
Swiftfox: 4.740999937057495 | 4.521000146865845 | 5.492000102996826
An important note, during each render the entire Firefox interface would freeze until the page finished rendering.
As you can see, Firefox lags significantly behind the others. Swiftfox makes up the difference, but not reliably. (I was occasionally getting results of up to 8 seconds for both Firefox and Swiftfox).
The point is, Firefox and Swiftfox even at their best can’t hold a candle in speed to Chrome or Opera. Further, the way they freeze the entire ui while rendering makes browsing multiple pages a chore if any one of them takes a while to load. How useful does that leave tabbed browsing?
Using Chrome and Opera more regularly, I’m struck by how snappy the interface is, and how I can open new tabs without having to wait for the browser to finish thinking.