Firefox vs Chrome (Speed and Usability)

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Firefox vs Chrome (Speed and Usability)

Postposted on Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:37 pm

I have been a loyal Firefox user since the browsers inception (pre-release). Its security, performance, features and general UI layout just worked for me. Here we are 28 versions later and I find myself grasping at straws to hold onto the once revered and preferred browser. You see, there have been a few plug-in/extensions I've been looking for on Firefox that just did not exist that has pushed me to trying Chrome starting today. I run a small I.T. consulting business and tracking my time and keeping tabs on my to-do list are musts. For those tasks I use HarvestApp (Time tracker) and Asana (To-do list), both of which have Chrome extensions. This alone wasn't enough for me to make the switch. The big push for me was noticing that Firefox as of late (even with plugins disabled) would freeze for a few seconds before finally starting to load a page I requests. This behavior has been noticed on both my home machine (running a 250gb Samsung Evo 840) and multiple machines at work along with client computers running Firefox 26-28. It would seem Firefox has had some serious issues with speed and as of yet has failed to catch up with the snappiness of Chrome.

My other heartbreak with leaving Firefox was bookmark toolbars, which can be enabled in Chrome. The last thing was a download manager similar to Firefox in nature of which I found a stable beta "Downloads Manager" extension to add that functionality. So it would seem that in all reality there is nothing I'm really missing or loosing by going over to Chrome, maybe a bit of my soul. There is also the benefit of having Google Now that was recently added and i'm not sure I would use on my desktop, and the voice API added to chrome a few versions back.

It just seems like people aren't developing plugins for FF anymore, or at least not the ones that I am familiar with and need. There are a few others that I wasn't able to find that I can't recall at the moment that existed on Chrome. I should feel somewhat sad about the jump yet I'm going to try Chrome for a week to make sure I can live without FF.

Anyone else recently made this jump or noticed the issues I have? I'm curious why Mozilla can't seem to get themselves straight performance wise after so many version releases. I still don't like the settings menu for Chrome but I'll deal. It sucks because Firefox just released its beta for a completely re-sizable and even more custom interface, something I was really looking forward to. To anyone working at Mozilla who may come across this, for the sake of Firefox and your fan base, FIX YOUR ISSUES PLEASE. I don't make jumps from things I like very easily, but you guys are making this hard not to.
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Re: Firefox vs Chrome (Speed and Usability)

Postposted on Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:58 pm

I haven't noticed any performance problems associated with Firefox that weren't related to Flash. I have the Flash plugin set to ask to activate, and Ad Block Plus to make doubly sure Flash doesn't get loaded. This is with 14 windows and 70 some odd tabs.

I seem to remember this problem when I had 4GB of RAM and was hitting the swap file pretty hard. That was a while ago.

I jump between the two, and Chrome uses more RAM. It also launches processes for each extension and Chrome app. I tried Chrome out and loaded it up with extensions and apps to get the full effect, and I was surprised to find dozens of Chrome processes were spawned when I started it up. This was with just a blank page.
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Re: Firefox vs Chrome (Speed and Usability)

Postposted on Tue Apr 08, 2014 4:11 pm

I don't get the hiccups but I used to a few versions back.

Frankly, if not for Firefox's Awesomebar, I'd probably be using Chrome a lot more. There are a few idiosyncracies in Chrome that bug me though (for example, if you use the attachment button in Gmail a lot, you'll start noticing Chrome tends to "miss" the click a lot).

For now I still use Firefox as my primary because of the ability to adjust the UI and an extension that lets me adjust the font and page zoom independently for each website
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Re: Firefox vs Chrome (Speed and Usability)

Postposted on Tue Apr 08, 2014 4:24 pm

Flatland_Spider wrote:I haven't noticed any performance problems associated with Firefox that weren't related to Flash. I have the Flash plugin set to ask to activate, and Ad Block Plus to make doubly sure Flash doesn't get loaded. This is with 14 windows and 70 some odd tabs.

I seem to remember this problem when I had 4GB of RAM and was hitting the swap file pretty hard. That was a while ago.

I jump between the two, and Chrome uses more RAM. It also launches processes for each extension and Chrome app. I tried Chrome out and loaded it up with extensions and apps to get the full effect, and I was surprised to find dozens of Chrome processes were spawned when I started it up. This was with just a blank page.


I've noticed the issue on multiple machines, my home machine is the one in my signature, so 16gb of ram with an i5-2500k, its not the system causing issues :P.
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Re: Firefox vs Chrome (Speed and Usability)

Postposted on Tue Apr 08, 2014 4:42 pm

I recently switched to Firefox. Since v32, Chrome has run noticeably slower on my older (core 2 and Athlon X2) machines. I've also been receiving the "Aw Snap" errors more frequently.

One other thing I've noticed with Chrome is that YouTube won't use hardware-accelerated video decoding, no matter if the machine has an old GeForce 8600GT or a GTX 670. Firefox (and IE) both switch on hardware decoding. While hardware acceleration doesn't seem to matter at all on the Core i7 desktop, it does makes 1080p Flash video completely smooth on the old X2-4600.
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Re: Firefox vs Chrome (Speed and Usability)

Postposted on Tue Apr 08, 2014 9:43 pm

jackbomb wrote:I recently switched to Firefox. Since v32, Chrome has run noticeably slower on my older (core 2 and Athlon X2) machines. I've also been receiving the "Aw Snap" errors more frequently.

One other thing I've noticed with Chrome is that YouTube won't use hardware-accelerated video decoding, no matter if the machine has an old GeForce 8600GT or a GTX 670. Firefox (and IE) both switch on hardware decoding. While hardware acceleration doesn't seem to matter at all on the Core i7 desktop, it does makes 1080p Flash video completely smooth on the old X2-4600.


Very interesting that Google's own Youtube does not interact in a way you'd expect to make it run better. Odd, I'm curious if the symptoms you had (and myself with FF) aren't just a matter of long term use/installs. I'd believe that if it weren't an issue I have on every single machine I install FF on though... strange indeed.

It seems that the consensus is still out then.... I'd love to see TechReport do one of their famous in-depth tests to see which is faster (perceivably) and WHY!~? Perhaps it would bring to light the short comings of both browsers for their respective companies to fix up. Another frame-rate latency like article ;). After all, browsers are our portal to the internet that we rely so heavily on. For the best experience you should be using the best browser possible.
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Re: Firefox vs Chrome (Speed and Usability)

Postposted on Tue Apr 08, 2014 10:08 pm

I use a mix of Firefox, Firefox Nightly and Aurora across Ubuntu/OS X/Windows. I've not experienced freezing pages.

Chrome/Safari are my primary browsers and Firefox performs just as well as them (well enough that I don't notice a difference).

The oldest CPU I run on is an 2.8GHz i5 quad core from 2010. This is my work machine and I do a ton of QA on our website. Performance issues related to Firefox alone have never come up.
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Re: Firefox vs Chrome (Speed and Usability)

Postposted on Tue Apr 08, 2014 10:09 pm

Welch wrote:Very interesting that Google's own Youtube does not interact in a way you'd expect to make it run better. Odd, I'm curious if the symptoms you had (and myself with FF) aren't just a matter of long term use/installs. I'd believe that if it weren't an issue I have on every single machine I install FF on though... strange indeed.

Interesting idea. Does the cruft accumulate in the browser, the OS, or a combination?

As one waiting for the 14.04 LTS to drop to replace XP (last patched today) I have noticed a recent tendency to brick with lots of tabs. The XP install (C2D6600@3.2/4GB/XP32) is at least 2 years old and mighty crufty while FF has been updated all along.

Chrome simply isn't happening. I can make FF28 look just like FF3 and that makes me happy. Yes, I'm odd. I'm also patient.
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Re: Firefox vs Chrome (Speed and Usability)

Postposted on Tue Apr 08, 2014 10:47 pm

Some versions of LastPass make FireFox extremely slow to start. Additionally FireFox seems to get slower as time goes on from the initial install, would be nice if they did some optimization/clean up work on it.
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Re: Firefox vs Chrome (Speed and Usability)

Postposted on Wed Apr 09, 2014 7:54 am

Captain Ned wrote:As one waiting for the 14.04 LTS to drop to replace XP (last patched today) I have noticed a recent tendency to brick with lots of tabs.


I've noticed this too. However, I'm running the beta, and I kind of expect this to happen. I still think Flash is the culprit.
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Re: Firefox vs Chrome (Speed and Usability)

Postposted on Wed Apr 09, 2014 8:32 am

Firefox user here.

Between the two I can't really see a difference in speed. I've definitely had some weird flash issues in the last couple versions on firefox but other than I haven't had any issues. I do seem to see a lot more chrome users with malware related issues at work. Hell, it's starting to seem like some of these malware companies are even targeting chrome.
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Re: Firefox vs Chrome (Speed and Usability)

Postposted on Wed Apr 09, 2014 8:38 am

There isn't really much difference any more. Flash sucks, period. Doesn't matter what machine you have or what browser. There will always be niggling issues with Flash.

I use Chrome primarily, and FF sometimes. Both do the job just fine.

FWIW, in my experience, Chrome(Chromium) tends to run better on Linux than FF does on Linux.
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Re: Firefox vs Chrome (Speed and Usability)

Postposted on Wed Apr 09, 2014 9:17 am

Flash is actually quite good, it's the developers who suck, cut corners, don't understand fully what they're doing, and generally give Flash a bad name.
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Re: Firefox vs Chrome (Speed and Usability)

Postposted on Wed Apr 09, 2014 9:35 am

If it's accumulating over time it might be some sort of stutter from disk access to the history file?

I used the Vacuum Places Improved extension to keep places.sqlite quick and tidy.
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Re: Firefox vs Chrome (Speed and Usability)

Postposted on Wed Apr 09, 2014 9:35 am

I still use Firefox, mainly for a couple of key extensions. One is a script blocker (which I now see as a requirement), and the other is DownThemAll, which really saves me time at work. I'm sure Chrome has similar extensions available, but I'm comfortable with the functionality of these. I will admit that I've been getting very annoyed with the changes to the Firefox download manager and the way certain types of files are handled by default. I can more or less tweak it back to an acceptable functionality, but I still don't like it.

I would've preferred to use the interface from 3.6.xx indefinitely, with the security patches and improvements under the hood. I don't think there has been a single interface change that I've cared for since then.
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Re: Firefox vs Chrome (Speed and Usability)

Postposted on Wed Apr 09, 2014 9:56 am

steelcity_ballin wrote:Flash is actually quite good, it's the developers who suck, cut corners, don't understand fully what they're doing, and generally give Flash a bad name.


I suppose that's what I meant. But it doesn't really matter whether the actual api/language/whatever is good or not if someone doesn't implement it correctly.
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Re: Firefox vs Chrome (Speed and Usability)

Postposted on Wed Apr 09, 2014 10:10 am

I prefer chrome, it's been my main browser for years.

Lately, Firefox crashes pretty consistently while typing in comments on facebook, when the autotag mechanism tags somebody's name as I type, the entire browser locks up and I have to close FF in task manager.
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Re: Firefox vs Chrome (Speed and Usability)

Postposted on Wed Apr 09, 2014 10:57 am

I've recently started getting low memory errors and crashes running chrome with only a few tabs open on one of my machines, guess I'll try reinstalling.
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Re: Firefox vs Chrome (Speed and Usability)

Postposted on Wed Apr 09, 2014 11:19 am

DancinJack wrote:I use Chrome primarily, and FF sometimes. Both do the job just fine.

FWIW, in my experience, Chrome(Chromium) tends to run better on Linux than FF does on Linux.


When I install lots of Apps and Extensions in Chrome, it cripples my systems. Aside from that, they both do what they're supposed to do.

steelcity_ballin wrote:Flash is actually quite good, it's the developers who suck, cut corners, don't understand fully what they're doing, and generally give Flash a bad name.


Can you provide links to good flash developers?
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Re: Firefox vs Chrome (Speed and Usability)

Postposted on Wed Apr 09, 2014 11:21 am

I use both Windows and Linux. I have never had any stability issues with either browser.

Firefox advantages over Chrome:

* I usually prefer Firefox because I prefer the UI slightly over Chrome, in particular the AwesomeBar is a lot more awesome than Chrome's omnibar.
* I am also not too happy with some Google policies. For instance, I am not happy that in Chrome you can now only install extensions from the Chrome store which smells a lot like a appstore like walled garden. Firefox is also a bit more privacy friendly.
* Chrome also appears to mess up some fonts on Windows 7 on some of my machines.

Chrome advantages over Firefox:

* On Linux, I concede that Firefox appears to render webpages a bit slower than Chrome. On Windows, both appear to work equally well and I prefer Firefox.
* Flash is another issue on Linux. Chrome is the only browser on Linux that supports the latest version of Flash. So on Linux, I sometimes switch to Chrome.
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Re: Firefox vs Chrome (Speed and Usability)

Postposted on Wed Apr 09, 2014 2:21 pm

c1arity wrote:Firefox user here.

Between the two I can't really see a difference in speed. I've definitely had some weird flash issues in the last couple versions on firefox but other than I haven't had any issues. I do seem to see a lot more chrome users with malware related issues at work. Hell, it's starting to seem like some of these malware companies are even targeting chrome.


This was exactly why I prevented myself from using Chrome, because I too noticed out of all the customer systems landing on my work bench, Chrome was the most infected. More so than IE, but my assumption was that people had actually been using Chrome whereas IE had been abandoned, pretty apparent from the lack of favorites and such. Of those who come in with FF, it appears that they aren't immune to attacks either, but the type of attacks aren't nearly as bad. Chrome especially has been having issues from my experience with Proxy related malware. FF used to have this issues prior to v24 IIRC.

@Chrono - I don't think in my case it searching the disk for any sort of history or cache file would slow it down this much. I've got a Samsung 840 Evo (250g) on a SATA 6gb/s port. Things are ultra snappy.

I'd imagine that both of the browser and OS are stashing away junk that could potentially be slowing the browser(s) down over time. I don't want to be like some of my customers and assume that if something is slow that it needs to be replaced. You don't sell your car because it gets a bit sluggish, you tune it up. It does seem just like me some people are switching from one browser to the other when things get slow. For me, regardless of the speed (assuming all things are equal) Chrome still has 2+ extensions that I've waited to have released on FF. Those extensions make my life easier at work all around.

As for the policy thing, I plain out don't care. Do I really think the big guys like Google give a damn about any deep down personal data? No, but they do care about using that data to try to sell me stuff and giving a big overall statistic to other companies. The truth of it is everyone wants your data, regardless of who you use or whatever you use someone will gather stats on you, get used to it or get off the internet.
Last edited by Welch on Wed Apr 09, 2014 2:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Firefox vs Chrome (Speed and Usability)

Postposted on Wed Apr 09, 2014 2:21 pm

steelcity_ballin wrote:Flash is actually quite good, it's the developers who suck, cut corners, don't understand fully what they're doing, and generally give Flash a bad name.


NotSureIfSeriousOrTroll wrote:Can you provide links to good flash developers?


Sure, https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=27888711

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Re: Firefox vs Chrome (Speed and Usability)

Postposted on Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:23 pm

Welch wrote:As for the policy thing, I plain out don't care. Do I really think the big guys like Google give a damn about any deep down personal data?

Sounds like Chrome shilling. I find it odd that every time a "browser comparison" thread pops up, it's usually about how chrome is faster than firefox and you should switch, google's privacy policy or security be damned. Plus, where's Opera/IE in this discussion?

I use FF for it's functionality, and it works. I don't like walled gardens or poor privacy policies, so a 5% speed improvement isn't going to make me switch. If I do use another browser, it's usually IE if I want to load a single page quickly or watch video, and I'll recommend Opera for people with slow computers, because it's less resource intensive and runs faster on their hardware. Chrome is the last browser I'd consider using, and even then I'd be using SRWare Iron, and not Chrome. Speaking of alternatives, I don't know why you wouldn't try waterfox, cyberfox, or palemoon if you actually wanted to get a perf boost out of FF, but then again this probably isn't a real comparison thread anyway.
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Re: Firefox vs Chrome (Speed and Usability)

Postposted on Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:44 pm

I prefer INTERNET EXPLORER. It has great features like being able to browser the internet and Bing.
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Re: Firefox vs Chrome (Speed and Usability)

Postposted on Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:59 pm

Welch wrote:@Chrono - I don't think in my case it searching the disk for any sort of history or cache file would slow it down this much. I've got a Samsung 840 Evo (250g) on a SATA 6gb/s port. Things are ultra snappy.

It's not necessarily a disk thrash issue. It could simply be some sort of locking issue where the system is waiting when it doesn't need to. Vacuum places is trivial to run though so you might as well try it.
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Re: Firefox vs Chrome (Speed and Usability)

Postposted on Wed Apr 09, 2014 6:09 pm

l33t-g4m3r wrote:
Welch wrote:As for the policy thing, I plain out don't care. Do I really think the big guys like Google give a damn about any deep down personal data?

Sounds like Chrome shilling. I find it odd that every time a "browser comparison" thread pops up, it's usually about how chrome is faster than firefox and you should switch, google's privacy policy or security be damned. Plus, where's Opera/IE in this discussion?

I use FF for it's functionality, and it works. I don't like walled gardens or poor privacy policies, so a 5% speed improvement isn't going to make me switch. If I do use another browser, it's usually IE if I want to load a single page quickly or watch video, and I'll recommend Opera for people with slow computers, because it's less resource intensive and runs faster on their hardware. Chrome is the last browser I'd consider using, and even then I'd be using SRWare Iron, and not Chrome. Speaking of alternatives, I don't know why you wouldn't try waterfox, cyberfox, or palemoon if you actually wanted to get a perf boost out of FF, but then again this probably isn't a real comparison thread anyway.


Funny, I start a thread to get opinions and your going to suggest that I am pushing Chrome on people because of my comments. Sorry, but that is BS. Please read any of my 2500+ posts and comments dating back to 2004 and note how much of a Firefox fan I am. I simply wanted to see what all of the fuss is about with Chrome and get >opinions< from other TR gerbils. Its not like I didn't state that Chrome was the most infected browser that I've come across while working on customer machines. I don't factor that into my decision to try Chrome because I consider myself intelligent enough to prevent myself from being infected 99% of the time.

As for the privacy policy thing, I said it before that >I DON'T CARE<. Short of them selling photo's, my credit card numbers or any of my actual raw data, I don't care if they have statistical information about "Hey company A, according to our data males from this geological location between these ages like to watch these YouTube videos". Seriously, its the "cost" of using their free browser and it does not effect me negatively in any perceived manner, so why do I care? Its always been apart of Google's business model to sell statistical information to keep their company afloat. I remember having this argument with my dad who didn't think their business model would last. Funny as hell because everybody and their brother is trying to mimic it now, take a look at Microsoft and Apple and their privacy policies, they aren't much if any different. If your on the internet and using any number of online services including email (living out of it like most people), then your information is there for someone. You just have to draw a line and make sure that the big guys don't cross it, if they do then stop using their stuff. My line hasn't been crossed.

As for Opera, I tried it years ago and never really cared for it, Firefox beat it out for me in every way. I did use Opera on my Motorola Backflip, Atrix 4G and even my current Atrix HD up until Chrome mobile got to where it is now. Opera to me is just another small project that just never took off like Firefox. I need things to work and I'd rather not deal with possible incompatibilities with websites and the lack of extensions/plug-ins for services I do use. I also can't recommend something that uncommon to customers who sometimes have a hard time using IE. Its all about the out of box experience which FF and Chrome both provide with little to no setup needed by me or my customers. Bare in mind the last time I tried Opera was close to 2 years ago, perhaps it would be worth a re-visit. My comparing Chrome and Firefox is simply due to the magnitude at which they are used. If I do a comparison of McDonald's and Burger King do I need to mention Bob's Burger Shack down the road... no.

As for speed comparisons, I'm not talking about 5% performance increase, it seems much faster than that thus far (all 2 days of my using it). This coming from a guy who is patient enough to use an aged Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 500gb drive for my OS up until about 2 weeks ago.

So the last thing I expect from anyone here is a BS claim saying that I am "Chrome Shilling"
Last edited by Welch on Wed Apr 09, 2014 6:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Firefox vs Chrome (Speed and Usability)

Postposted on Wed Apr 09, 2014 6:16 pm

ChronoReverse wrote:
Welch wrote:@Chrono - I don't think in my case it searching the disk for any sort of history or cache file would slow it down this much. I've got a Samsung 840 Evo (250g) on a SATA 6gb/s port. Things are ultra snappy.

It's not necessarily a disk thrash issue. It could simply be some sort of locking issue where the system is waiting when it doesn't need to. Vacuum places is trivial to run though so you might as well try it.


I'm all eyes, what are you suggesting I look for to remedy that issue? The browser has that 3-4+ second pause on initial load up. Opening additional empty tabs isn't affected, however loading a website is. I'm curious what file could possibly be locked? Its odd because the same issue is apparent on multiple machines, possibly some bad coding?
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Re: Firefox vs Chrome (Speed and Usability)

Postposted on Wed Apr 09, 2014 6:26 pm

Entirely possible it's bad coding. Might be some combination that not everyone encounters as well.

In any case, Vacuum Places Improved is a Firefox extension you can install and then run (don't need to keep the extension around afterward unless you want scheduled running). Might take longer on the first time. It may or may not help but you but it's easy enough to try.
ChronoReverse
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Re: Firefox vs Chrome (Speed and Usability)

Postposted on Wed Apr 09, 2014 7:44 pm

Welch wrote:I'm all eyes, what are you suggesting I look for to remedy that issue? The browser has that 3-4+ second pause on initial load up. Opening additional empty tabs isn't affected, however loading a website is. I'm curious what file could possibly be locked? Its odd because the same issue is apparent on multiple machines, possibly some bad coding?

Hmm....... I had the same sort of issue on a work machine about a year ago. It was a lower spec machine than what you're using (Core2Duo with a magnetic drive), but still should have been fast enough to not encounter that type of problem.

I think I eventually nailed it down to the website being used for the home page. Whatever scripts/plugins it used were causing the delay. I remedied it by opening with about:blank
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The Egg
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Re: Firefox vs Chrome (Speed and Usability)

Postposted on Wed Apr 09, 2014 7:59 pm

I use Portable Firefox with noscript, https-everywhere & Ghostery. But I also keep a copy of Portable Chrome so I can access some google services, since it seems to be 'tuned' for them.
In fact I like using as many 'portable' apps as I can...feels like good old DOS/win3.1 days when you could just click the ********* executable and it would run...install shminstall!!!!


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