Opera 10.50 Pre-Alpha Beats Firefox, Closes Gap To Google Chrome Speedwise

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 22, 2009
Updated • Feb 14, 2017

The Opera development team told us recently that they would release a pre-alpha of Opera 10.50 on December 22 and that this release would all be about speed. No one but the inner circle of developers knew what they meant at that time, but speculations centered around Opera's new JavaScript engine Carakan.

Opera 10.50 pre-alpha was released today and the developer's have kept word. Included in this release is the JavaScript engine Carakan, the layout engine Presto 2.5 and a new graphics library called Vega.

Carakan speeds up JavaScript execution by a factor of 7 when compared to Opera's latest stable release Opera 10.10. A quick run of the Sunspider JavaScript benchmark yields astonishing speed improvements (may vary depending on test computer).

Firefox 3.6 Beta 5

Google Chrome

Opera 10.10

Opera 10.50 pre-alpha

Opera 10.50 beats Google Chrome by about 100ms and Firefox 3.6 by almost 2000ms. That's an impressive speed improvement considering that Opera 10.10 was about 300ms slower than Firefox 3.6 in the same test.

Google's V8 Benchmark shows a slightly different picture as Google Chrome manages to land before Opera 10.50 in that test with both web browsers beating Firefox 3.6 by a large margin. Again a huge improvement in Opera 10.50 that climbed from a performance similar to that of Firefox near to that of the Google browser.

Firefox 3.6 Beta 5

Google Chrome

Opera 10.10

Opera 10.50 pre-alpha

But JavaScript performance is just one aspect that has changed. Presto 2.5 and Vega do their part in rendering pages faster. The speed improvements are visible, not only on pages that use lots of JavaScript but also on regular pages.

Other changes in Opera 10.50 pre-alpha

  • Platform integration - On Windows 7/Vista, you will notice a lot of visual changes and use of APIs which allow the UI to display the Aero Glass effect. For Windows 7, we also added Aero Peek and Jump List support to easily access your Speed Dials, Tabs, etc. from the Taskbar.For Mac, a complete rewrite in Cocoa brings an Unified Toolbar, native buttons and scrollbars, multi-touch gestures (try 3-Finger Swipe Left/Right or Pinch to zoom) and a bunch of other small details. We also added Growl notification support.
  • “Private tab” and “Private window” - You can open a new Private tab or Private window that forgets everything that happened on it once closed.
  • Non-modal dialogs - Dialog boxes (JavaScript alerts, HTTP authentication, etc.) are now non-modal and are displayed as a page overlay. This allows you to switch tabs or windows while the dialog is still displayed. Similarly, the Password Manager dialog is now anchored at the top of the page won’t block any content as it loads a new page.
  • Address field and Search field improvements - Both fields have been upgraded in looks and functionality. They can now remember searches, support removing items from history and show results in a better layout.

The pre-alpha release of Opera 10.50 shows Opera's dedication to compete with their web browser in the browser wars. The recent speed improvements could convince more users to try out the latest version of Opera, something that they might not have considered otherwise.

Opera 10.50 pre-alpha can be downloaded from the official announcement over at the Opera blog.

Opera 10.50 Pre-Alpha Beats Firefox, Closes Gap To Google Chrome Speedwise
Article Name
Opera 10.50 Pre-Alpha Beats Firefox, Closes Gap To Google Chrome Speedwise
A first look at the Opera 10.50 pre-alpha release that features a new JavaScript engine, update to the Presto layout engine and a new graphics library Vega.
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  1. multimolti said on February 15, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    You should also check out the benchmark I did on my computer:
    I created a nice chart showing exactly the comparison between all four browsers and how my results compare to the ones opera got… quite interesting!

  2. Lorin said on January 2, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    downloaded it, tested it, liked it. It works fine so far, I can’t wait for the final version :)

  3. Dan said on December 30, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    The v8 benchmark is deigned to make Chrome look good. It is biased and you should not use it as a source, instead use Peackeeper.

  4. Mike J said on December 23, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    Firefox must be optimized in about:config for its fastest speed.

    1. Dan said on December 30, 2009 at 7:34 pm

      If you do that it will still lag behind others. And with extensions it will lag even more. Good old Firefox. ;p

  5. MarkG said on December 22, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    Opera beats Chrome4 for me, and obliterates Firefox3.5 scores.

    the Starup time of 10.50 is REAL quick. Right now it’s a tad unstable, but now it’s out, and the crashlogs gettting sent it, it should step up in relability pretty quickly.

    It’s also worth noting that almost ALL tests are substantially quicker than all the other browsers, and it’s just one test: binary-trees

    Once they fix that one up, it’s not just going to be slightly faster than Chrome, it’s going to be significantly faster.

    Remember, this is a first hit, there is plenty of work to do still at getting even better speeds.

  6. Mike Beltzner said on December 22, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    I’m unable to reproduce your results. Is there a chance that you’re running Firefox 3.6 with Firebug installed, or with the JIT turned off? On my machine, Firefox 3.6 nightly is closer to 1000ms to Chrome’s 500ms, than 2300ms to Chrome’s 400ms.

  7. tareq said on December 22, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    people whinned a lot about Javascript test. Lets see what they do now.
    in the end, we OperaGeek’s knows, thought being a little company, Opera will win always.

  8. Kai said on December 22, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    Opera 10.5 sure brings massive speed improvements. I’ve run the benchmarks on my PC and it gives me similar results to Martin’s. Opera 10.5 definitely beats Chrome 4 in Sunspider.

    The Windows 7 integration is also very nice. And one of the best things about Opera is its scrolling, which is very smooth.

    That said, as expected, the pre-alpha still has a lot of bugs, and some areas are under heavy development (i.e. the UI). It’s too early to use it as a primary browser, but it’s fun to play with.

  9. Didider said on December 22, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    I very like use Opera. Opera is the best browser

  10. HNicolai said on December 22, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    How do they cheat in a JS benchmark?

    On topic:
    Do you know when Opera 10.50 Pre-Alpha will be released to Linux? Because FF is way to slow and Chrome is kinda unstable.

    1. opera singer said on December 22, 2009 at 1:51 pm

      They wrote V8 benchmark themselves and as they have good garbage collector their benchmark tests it intensively. Carakan beats V8 in V8 benchmark in some areas but it’s not included in final results – so that’s cheating. If Opera wrote their benchmark focusing on arithmetics Carakan is very good at it would beat all other browsers as well…

      So in general – yes Google is cheating

    2. Saurabh said on December 22, 2009 at 1:27 pm

      Though not cheating, some browsers do optimize their code for best performance on individual benchmarks.
      Linux version should be here soon. It will have native gtk/kde integration .

  11. WhatIsThis said on December 22, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Of course Chrome is wining at the V8 benchmark. THEY ARE CHEATING AFTER ALL.

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