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Opera 9.5 Beats Firefox and IE7 As Fastest Browser 510

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the internet-races dept.
Abhinav Peddada writes "Ars Technica takes Opera 9.5, the latest from Opera's stable, for a test run and finds some interesting results, including it being a 'solid improvement to an already very strong browser.' On the performance front, Ars Technica reports 'Opera 9.5 scored slightly higher (281ms) than the previous released version, 9.23 (546ms). And Opera 9.x, let it be known, smacks silly the likes of Firefox and Internet Explorer, which tend to have results in the 900-1500ms range on this test machine (a 1.8 GHz Core 2 Duo with 2GB RAM). Opera was 50 percent faster on average than Firefox, and 100 percent faster than IE7 on Windows Vista, for instance.'"
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Opera 9.5 Beats Firefox and IE7 As Fastest Browser

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  • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Friday September 07, 2007 @03:52AM (#20504655)
    The article links to a Javascript benchmark only. There are many many more variables involved in determining how fast a given browser is, although certainly Javascript plays it's part. Variables like how soon does the browser start processing incoming, but yet incomplete data, etc. influence the browser's snappiness a lot aswell.

    Basically, the speed of the browser depends upon the speed of the html parsing engine, available bandwidth, browser settings, speed of the cache and Javascript, just to mention the main variables.

    Still, I'm interested how comes Opera's Javascript is so fast compared to the other browsers.
  • by IBBoard (1128019) on Friday September 07, 2007 @03:53AM (#20504659) Homepage
    Okay, so Opera is probably a bit faster than Firefox in page rendering as well if they're faster at JavaScript, but the actual quote (emphasis mine) is:

    When running various JavaScript speed tests, Opera 9.5 scored slightly higher (281ms) than the previous released version, 9.23 (546ms)

    So Opera is much faster than FF when running JavaScript tests, according to Ars Technica.

    Numbers are meaningless without context ;)
  • by mikelieman (35628) on Friday September 07, 2007 @03:53AM (#20504663) Homepage
    Does it choke rendering Digg's Sucky Comment system, like FF?
  • by Max Romantschuk (132276) <max@romantschuk.fi> on Friday September 07, 2007 @04:00AM (#20504699) Homepage
    Right now, the biggest issues with both IE and Firefox is a huge memory footprint. If Opera wants to bring something valuable to the table, make sure it can run smoothly on XP with 256 megs of memory. That would be valuable for a lot of people with aging hardware.
  • by luvirini (753157) on Friday September 07, 2007 @04:14AM (#20504771)
    Is that overall time to get and display an average page has gone up for me atleast in the last 10 years.

    This despite the fact that the computer speeds have increased and the connection speeds even more.

    The bigest fault lies ofcourse with maers of those silly pages with 100 different elements that have to be loaded and displayed separately, but also both IE and Firefox have become more and more bloated with functionality making them slower and bigger memory hogs.
  • by ForumTroll (900233) on Friday September 07, 2007 @04:36AM (#20504885)
    Exactly. I won't even consider switching browsers unless it has the same functionality that's provided by those three add-ons. I know that some of the other browsers have similar features, but the way those features are implemented isn't nearly as convenient. I use a couple of other add-ons as well, but AdBlock Plus, FlashBlock and NoScript are the only ones I refuse to live without.
  • by AaronLawrence (600990) * on Friday September 07, 2007 @04:42AM (#20504905)
    Indeed. Aside from ambitious Ajax applications doing client side calculation, does the speed of Javascript matter much?

    In addition to that - something I just thought of - I would much rather that the Javascript engine be VERY secure and reliable, rather than fast.
  • by atlep (36041) on Friday September 07, 2007 @04:53AM (#20504947)
    I can't believe they left out Konqueror!
  • by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Friday September 07, 2007 @05:04AM (#20504995) Journal
    Opera is faster than Firefox across the board. Always has been, and probably always will be. Put that into context whatever way you want. So what's the point of your emphasis again?

    At the same time, Opera is also smaller, lighter, more stable, more innovative, better integrated, and comes from a company that behaves ethically towards the rest of the software community (eg, it does not engage in patent warfare to pummel the competition).

    Yet because it's not open source (it's been "free as in beer" for quite some time now, but even that's news to some people here) it's practically awarded pariah status by many Firefox zealots who typically use nothing more than ignorance and FUD to put it down.

    Seriously, the amount of anti-Opera, pro-Firefox propaganda (for want of a better word) here on Slashdot is ridiculous. Opera is, and always has been, a top-notch product.

    In the eyes of this humble observer, it's a far better browser than any other, but regardless of our personal preferences, isn't it time that people gave it due respect? Or is good software engineering only to be appreciated if it comes from the open source community?
  • by Chrisq (894406) on Friday September 07, 2007 @05:14AM (#20505029)
    Konqueror (sp?) feels very fast too (though I have no objective measurements), especially compared to firefox. It would be nice to see a comparison.
  • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bert64 (520050) <bertNO@SPAMslashdot.firenzee.com> on Friday September 07, 2007 @05:19AM (#20505053) Homepage
    I'd like a multi threaded browser, where something heavy in one tab doesnt drag the rest of the browser down to a crawl...
  • by Ilgaz (86384) * on Friday September 07, 2007 @05:42AM (#20505155) Homepage

    From what I've seen the speed rankings in all tests always have Opera and Safari leading with IE and FF being behind.


    Opera aims at different market -- small gadgets. This is where the speed is really critical. For IE and FF good enough is enough, since performance on modern desktops is not that critical.

    From what I've seen the speed rankings in all tests always have Opera and Safari leading with IE and FF being behind.


    Opera aims at different market -- small gadgets. This is where the speed is really critical. For IE and FF good enough is enough, since performance on modern desktops is not that critical.

    As a Quad G5 (4x 2500) Mac owner with lots of RAM, I really don't want a browser choking up an entire CPU and flooding my memory. I didn't pay money to cover amateur programming mistakes by other people. As same guy, I flamed Opera guys about not fixing a bug happens on Slashdot beta, first thing I checked was that after getting that awesome 9.5 alpha and yes it is fixed.

    I have used a Xeon Video workstation lately and poor AVID was acting like it is on 80386 because a stupid "free" antivirus was taking whole CPU cycles trying to "scan" gigabyte level raw videos while it was asked to ignore them.

    It is common getting replies as "get more RAM" or "upgrade your CPU" from various browser fans but when I see a browser using 100% CPU , I get alerted about what kind of security issues it may have and why I should be wasting my CPU to it.

    Opera's power comes from managing to code and sell full feature browsers which would even run on Nokia 7650 with 2 MB of RAM. Don't let the Desktop versions memory usage fool you, it is mostly RAM Cache, not memory "flood". Instead of flooding memory, they use it for a good reason and release immediately when another app needs it.
  • by ForeverFaithless (894809) on Friday September 07, 2007 @05:47AM (#20505187) Homepage

    From what I've seen the speed rankings in all tests always have Opera and Safari leading with IE and FF being behind.

    Opera aims at different market -- small gadgets. This is where the speed is really critical. For IE and FF good enough is enough, since performance on modern desktops is not that critical.

    I really wouldn't say that. Once you've used a browser that renders pages considerably faster than your old browser, there's no going back. It makes a *big* difference.

    With Opera 9.5, I can browse my API docs on the web just as fast as if the data were local. It's incredibly comfortable, and for me definitely worth the switch. (I had been using Firefox for a while before going back to Opera)

  • by Shivetya (243324) on Friday September 07, 2007 @05:51AM (#20505213) Homepage Journal
    Its not like I actually notice the speed of my browser on a daily basis. I have 3 browsers to choose from between my laptop and iMac. Those are Firefox, IE, and Safari. I tend to use FireFox on both machines as it provides a consistent experience regardless of platform. I also find many of the plug ins to be very useful.

    Should I care? With today's machines the only performance issue I ever encounter is my connection. Frankly, if someone wants to sell me on a new browser then speed isn't the way to do it. Provide some convienence or functionality I can't live without. You are probably going to have to work hard at it and it will have to be something most of us haven't thought of. Sorry, but browsers are not rocket science and in this day they really aren't viable commercial products - you just have to have one and its expected your OS provider will have one for you.
  • Opera rocks (Score:1, Insightful)

    by stdazi (1128281) on Friday September 07, 2007 @06:22AM (#20505345)
    Indeed, opera rocks - at last on Linux, it's waay faster. It's starts in a about a second , while i'm waiting ~30s for firefox. Firefox spawns some zombie "netstat" processes, opera doesn't. Firefox is FUL of memory leaks. It eats as much as 400mb of ram if i keep using the same firefox instance for three days. Let's just face it - Firefox SUCKS and working software has precedence over free software!
  • by SolitaryMan (538416) on Friday September 07, 2007 @06:33AM (#20505393) Homepage Journal

    I really wouldn't say that. Once you've used a browser that renders pages considerably faster than your old browser, there's no going back. It makes a *big* difference.

    Yes, it does makes difference, but on desktop feature set is much more important and there is no way I'm trading NoScript + CookieSafe + Firebug + Foxmarks + Slashdotter for a slight increase in speed.

  • by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Friday September 07, 2007 @06:47AM (#20505467) Journal
    If security is what concerns you then, unless I'm very much mistaken, Firefox has had more vulnerabilities than Opera.

    The whole "rigorously security audited" argument is a fallacy, unless you truly believe that Opera is somehow doing something that it shouldn't be doing. And that fallacy is blown out of the water when you realise that there isn't a single demonstrable example of Opera doing something as unethical as "phoning home" with your browsing habits, etc.

    Look around. The minute that something like that happens, whether it's Microsoft, Real, Sony or whoever, it's exposed almost immediately. Why, then, do people maintain this "ooh, they could be doing something naughty" line about Opera, when the company has gone out of its way to be a positive member of the software community? It's FUD, pure and simple.

    Look elsewhere on this story. You have people claiming that it's not "free as in beer". That's ignorance. You have people claiming it's not as fast as Firefox. That's ignorance again. You have people claiming that it might
    be useful if only it would perform well on machines that are only equipped with 256MB. That's... well, do you want to guess what that is? Go on, guess. You have people bleating "big deal, speed doesn't matter". Yet these are the same people who bleat about how Firefox is better than MSIE because it's faster and less bloated.

    It's all FUD and ignorance, FUD and ignorace. What happened to fair judgement and common sense?

    Opera is a great product from a great company. Pure and simple.
  • by Ash-Fox (726320) on Friday September 07, 2007 @06:49AM (#20505483)

    You've clearly never used Opera if you're attempting to spin this article by claiming that we just plain don't know that Opera renders stuff in general near the top of the pack already, and also is perhaps the most standards compliant browser.
    Just remember, w3c just makes recommendations, not standards. Anything that is a standard usually has "ISO/IEEE" on it, such as one of the HTML4 specifications. So far, I don't know of anything beyond HTML4 being a standard in the web world.

    I get a kick out of FF fans on this site. FF is by no means bad, but Opera clearly has areas where it consistently outshines the open-source browser.
    I have no problem with what browser people use. I use Firefox though, main reason is that it runs on all the modern platforms and I can synchronize cookies, bookmarks, passwords while keeping my privacy despite storing it on Google's servers (the content is encrypted) thanks to Google Browser Sync. So far I have no real alternative to Firefox.

    Before, people used to say "I don't like ads in my browser" as an excuse for not using it.
    It's a legitimate complaint.

    hen when it became free, it was "I use lots of GreaseMonkey scripts", despite the fact that you can use most GM scripts in Opera too.
    Haha, I didn't know that one. The most common one I hear though from people is that it doesn't work with many sites (I've experienced this one myself, it doesn't work when you login into www.online.citibank.pl since it doesn't handle something with javascript correctly there).

    Opera leads the way for most browsing achievements, and they show no signs of stopping.
    Not that I would know what those achievements are.

    and to top it off I'm a web developer by trade. I code for Opera, then break it for FF and IE.
    What? No Konqueror/Safari support? :(
  • by kestasjk (933987) on Friday September 07, 2007 @07:55AM (#20505879) Homepage

    If you're going to complain about something, please try and make it relevant.
    A relevant complaint, like having to wait longer for webpages to render?

    Maybe I just don't have spiderman senses or Clint Eastwood style reflexes that most web users have, but the wait of less than half a second for a webpage to render doesn't really bother me that much.

    I'm not saying this because I'm a Firefox fanboy, or because I don't like Opera, I just don't get why it matters. Even on MySpace it doesn't take so long to render a webpage that it bothers you, and if a webpage takes a long time to load it'll almost certainly be because of your network connection or the server and not rendering time.
  • by jones_supa (887896) on Friday September 07, 2007 @07:56AM (#20505895)

    Don't let the Desktop versions memory usage fool you, it is mostly RAM Cache, not memory "flood". Instead of flooding memory, they use it for a good reason and release immediately when another app needs it.

    That is not possible. Opera cannot know when another app needs memory.

  • by aaaurgh (455697) on Friday September 07, 2007 @08:10AM (#20505999)
    Right click | Edit site preferences... | Cookies tab

    Maintain away, including setting site specific cookies to delete upon exit.
  • by NeilTheStupidHead (963719) on Friday September 07, 2007 @08:43AM (#20506273) Journal
    Just tried the alpha and it almost instantly became my primary browser. IE and FF are hideously slow on my system and no amount of tweaking can fix them, they seem to 'hang' when downloading pages, like they disconnect and have to re-establish. Safari is faster but takes a bit longer to load, but Opera loads in under a second (excusing the prompt that just popped up to tell me it wasn't my primary browser at the moment) and draws complete pages noticably faster (easily 3-4 seconds faster for the Slashdot main page). I'm keeping all these browsers on my system for testing my own sites, but Opera has easily become my browser of choice.
  • by Cal Paterson (881180) * on Friday September 07, 2007 @08:45AM (#20506293)

    Why? You have all that hardware, why not use it? I mean unless it starts to intefere with your real work, and there is no evidence that it is doing that, then you are fine.
    Perhaps because he bought the hardware with something else in mind (graphics/video) andd objects to it being used by a web browser? Even I occasionally have cause to object to Firefox's use of resources, and I really am overpowered (this is a high end machine that I use, basically, for emacs)

    The Rule of Economy [faqs.org] is fine when applied sensibly (for example, GNOME do the right thing writing many end user applications in python). However, Firefox is currently at the level where it's computational burden is increasing almost as fast as Moore's Law.
  • by CastrTroy (595695) on Friday September 07, 2007 @09:24AM (#20506707) Homepage
    I would also like to say 2 words. "Web Developer". That's all. As a web developer, the web developer plugin makes web development so much easier. If there's a rendering bug, or something else on Firefox, then I don't worry about it too much, because I know it will be easy to fix. Change a cookie value, see hidden form values, edit HTML and CSS and see the results instantly, without reloading the page. I know that there's "web developer" plugins for IE and such, but I have yet to see one with the functionality and ease of use of the firefox one. And that is the reason I'll continue to use Firefox as my main browser, until something beats them on this front.
  • by FatAlb3rt (533682) on Friday September 07, 2007 @09:54AM (#20507075) Homepage
    You may or may not have noticed, but many websites, including this one, are using more and more javascript, which are what the speed tests were measuring (sue me, I RTFA'd). So it's not so much the initial load time, as it is how fast other things happen once the page has been displayed.
  • by Macthorpe (960048) on Friday September 07, 2007 @10:05AM (#20507191) Journal

    Opera has an ugly history- it used to suck, and it used to be ad supported.
    Well, neither of those things are true now.

    I don't care if it's cleaned up its act, I have too many problems with opera to embrace it.
    May I ask what problems you have with Opera, or is this the traditional "I don't trust it because I can't see the source" thing?
  • by swillden (191260) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Friday September 07, 2007 @10:22AM (#20507421) Homepage Journal

    They allocate the memory in a way that OS takes the memory when needed. Non blocking way or something. It was discussed when they came with "memory cache" idea back in 6.x days.

    I don't know of any OS that provides such a facility. The app could monitor free physical RAM, or could (as you mention about the Mac version) choose to dump cache when hidden/minimized, but I don't believe there is any way to allocate memory such that the OS will simply take it back when needed. All non-locked memory allocations on modern OSes are subject to being paged out to free up memory when other apps need it, but that is very different from saying the OS "takes the memory when needed", because it involves the (slow) process of writing the memory contents out to the disk.

    It's an interesting idea, though. Perhaps operating systems should provide such a feature, a way to allocate memory "weakly", such that the OS can reallocate it as-needed. There would have to be some mechanism by which the OS could notify the app that the memory was being taken away (I suppose it could just be a SIGSEGV).

  • by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Friday September 07, 2007 @11:48AM (#20508671)
    Opera makes its money from selling its browser to run on small devices, so a small resource footprint is one of its strong points and likely contributes to its rendering speed.
  • by Ksevio (865461) on Friday September 07, 2007 @01:20PM (#20510587) Homepage
    You should try the Opera developer tools built into the console (under tools>advanced). Combined with the ability to modify source on a loaded webpage (right click>hit view source and edit what you want) makes Opera very nice to work on for web development.
  • by scot4875 (542869) on Friday September 07, 2007 @02:17PM (#20511623) Homepage
    I used Firefox for about 4 years, and installed Opera this summer to do some testing on it.

    Since then, I've used Opera for browsing and Firefox for web development. There's just no comparison between the two. And now that one of the other responses to this post has pointed me at this [opera.com], I may not use Firefox for anything other than testing in Firefox.

    Of course, I'm one of those sufferers of the Firefox bug that causes it to use ridiculous amounts of memory. I've got a Firefox window open with Gmail (alas, Gmail breaks in Opera for me when composing mail), and it's consuming 180MB. I've got 2 opera windows open with about 15 tabs in one, including a few large Slashdot discussions, and it's consuming 120MB. So for me, there was no question when choosing between the two for everyday use.

    --Jeremy

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