Which web browser handles 150 open tabs better, Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome? That's what Gregor Wagner wanted to find out in a scalability test. The test setup was the following: Open the 150 most popular web sites in both web browsers and see which performs better memory and performance wise. Gregor automated the process with a script that opened a new web page every 1.5 seconds in both browsers until all 150 web pages had been opened. The test system was a dual-core MacBook Pro with 8 Gigabytes of RAM.
The script that was used in the test is linked on Gregor's site so that users can try the test on their systems as well.
A recent Firefox Nightly and a Google Chrome Canary version where used in the test. How did the two browser's perform? The time command returned the following values:
Gregor noticed a significant slow-down at the 70 open pages mark in the Chrome browser. At 150 pages open, it was not possible to scroll on a page. Firefox on the other hand was "still pretty snappy and scrolling is like there is no other open tab".
Gregor then looked at the memory usage of the browser. Turned out that Firefox used 27 threads and total of 2.02 Gigabytes of RAM for all 150 open tabs. The Chrome browser, with its multi-process architecture used "a little bit" over 5 Gigabytes of memory with 150 tabs open.
One could argue that the test is not really replicating real world browser usage, and that's definitely correct. It is however still remarkable that Chrome does not really scale that well despite its multi-process rendering architecture.
Firefox was able to complete the V8 benchmark test with 150 tabs open, while Chrome stopped rendering while staying at a 100% cpu performance.
Has anyone ever opened more than 70 tabs in the Chrome browser? If so, what was your experience?
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.