Mozilla Firefox 3.6 (Release Candidate)
The Web browsing world is exciting again. Google's Chrome browser is faster than fast and there's serious thought that Internet Explorer may actually lose its top spot in the browser market-share wars.
- Improved performance, better memory use
I'm very impressed by Firefox 3.6. While I still really like Chrome's speed and recently introduced support for extensions, this new version of Firefox is so much better than the last iteration that I've decided I'm going to keep using Firefox as my main browser on Linux and start using it again on Windows. Internet Explorer? Chrome? Look out. Firefox is back in the game again.
The release of Firefox 3.6 will see Mozilla take the fight back to Google's upstart Chrome. This review is of a Release Candidate version (January 2010).
The Web browsing world is exciting again. Google's Chrome browser is faster than fast and there's serious thought that Internet Explorer may actually lose its top spot in the browser market-share wars. But for all the excitement, it would be a real mistake to overlook Firefox; with the forthcoming release of Firefox 3.6, which is now available as a release candidate, Mozilla's flagship browser is looking better than ever.
As soon as the release candidate came out on January 9, I started putting it through its paces, using two Dell 530S desktop PCs.
These older computers are powered by a 2.2GHz Intel Pentium E2200 dual-core processor with an 800MHz front-side bus. Each has 4GB of RAM, a 500GB SATA (Serial ATA) drive, and an Integrated Intel 3100 GMA (Graphics Media Accelerator) chipset. One was loaded with Windows XP SP3 and the other used MEPIS 8 desktop Linux.
Firefox 3.6 improved performance
To my delight, I found that Firefox uses considerably less memory after prolonged use than its predecessor, Firefox 3.5.6.
Better memory use may not strike you as the most exciting thing about a Web browser, but if you're a serious Web user, with multiple tabs open at once for hours at a time, it's a big deal.
I, and other users, have noticed memory issues with Firefox 3.5.6 that slowed a PC's overall performance.
In my testing of 3.6, these memory problems appear to have been fixed, and that alone makes it a "must upgrade" in my book.
I also noticed that the new Firefox is much faster than the last version. Part of this speed boost comes from Firefox's new ability to run scripts asynchronously.
In the past, Firefox waited for the first script on the page to download completely before running the next script, no matter how long it took to download.
Now, Firefox runs whichever script downloads first, no matter where it's placed on the page. It's one of those small changes that make a big practical difference on pages with multiple scripts.
On the Windows XP system, Firefox 3.5.6 came in at a poky 3034.4 milliseconds, while Firefox 3.6 zipped by it at 1007.0 milliseconds.
That's great, but it still leaves Firefox lagging behind Chrome, which easily lapped the field with a time of 553.0 milliseconds.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Sonos Arc review: The Main Event
- 2 Samsung Galaxy Z Flip review: Killer form-factor, lethal price-tag
- 3 Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 4 Panasonic Blu-ray recorder PVR set-top box review
- 5 Xiro Drone Xplorer V by Rapoo review
Latest News Articles
- Echo family reimagined, inside and out
- Google smart displays now let you take charge of multi-room audio
- Recently squashed Alexa bug could have allowed hackers access to voice histories, researchers say
- Affinity offers Photo, Designer & Publisher for Free for 3 Months
- Parallels 15 lets you turn an iPad into a Surface tablet
PCW Evaluation Team
Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.
This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.
It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.
As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.
The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.
This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.
- Sonos Arc review: The Main Event
- Soundbars: Why they’re worth it and which one should you buy
- Buying a laptop this EOFY? Here's a cheat sheet
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies