Firefox 7 is out, and the release has prompted the folks at Lifehacker to run some performance tests on the current crop of browsers. The latest version of Firefox is pitted against Chrome 14, Internet Explorer 9, and Opera 11.51 in a battery of tests that probes everything from load times to memory usage. Somewhat surprisingly given its history, Firefox 7 has a smaller memory footprint than its competitors when multiple tabs are open.
That said, Firefox isn't the fastest kid on the block. Opera launches faster than any of the other browsers, and it's quicker to load a collection of nine tabs and crunch Lifehacker's CSS tests. Be careful when reading Lifehacker's graphs, though; the x-axis doesn't always start at zero, giving the impression of larger gaps in performance. Firefox 7 is still the second-quickest browser overall.
I just installed Firefox 7, and the ugly font rendering of the last release seems to be somewhat improved. Whether the browser feels fast enough to tear me away from Chrome for the bulk of my web surfing remains to be seen, however.