Mozilla recently released a new version of their Firefox browser – Firefox Quantum. According to Mozilla, Firefox Quantum offers “A powerful, new engine that’s built for rapidfire performance” and “Better, faster page loading that uses less computer memory.” Mozilla also states Firefox Quantum is 2x faster, 30% lighter than Chrome (uses less memory) and offers smooth browsing with the new engine.
I’ve had the opportunity to test Firefox Quantum over the past few days and I’m pretty impressed with the improved performance and memory usage. While you should certainly see noticeable improvement over prior versions of Firefox, it’ll be quite noticeable if you’re running Firefox Quantum on older supported computers.
As a test, I streamed live radio using both Firefox and Firefox Quantum on a 7+ year old computer with an Intel Core i5 3.2GHz dual-core processor, 4GB RAM, SATA II hard drive, running Windows 7 Professional (32-bit). The computer streamed live radio over the course of a consecutive six-hour period (minimum) while other tasks were performed on the computer (ex: web browsing, sending/receiving e-mail, working in Word & Excel, etc.)
While streaming, I frequently noticed that Firefox would hang, crash, or become unresponsive after streaming for a period of time. After a crash, there would still be several Firefox processes running in the background consuming large amounts of memory. It was necessary to go into the Task Manager to end the processes. In addition, if I toggled to the Firefox page or tab that was running the streaming site, the page would frequently display a black page requiring several minutes to refresh. Sometimes the page would refresh and other times I might get a warning message that Firefox had become unresponsive, it would outright crash or I’d have to end the process in Task Manager. Launching another Firefox page or tab and going to a site with media content that would auto-play while simultaneously streaming would result in Firefox becoming unresponsive, crashing or require ending any Firefox processes running in Task Manager.
With Firefox Quantum under the same conditions, the performance was literally day and night. Firefox Quantum was speedier in terms of loading pages but it was also more memory efficient and the performance was quite impressive. I did not experience any Firefox Quantum crashes while streaming live radio. I was able to toggle to the page or tab running the streaming site and easily switch between different live stations. I was also able to close out of Firefox Quantum and confirm all Firefox background processes had ended in Task Manager. Opening other sites with media content that would auto-play while simultaneously streaming live radio worked flawlessly.
Now this does not mean that everyone who uses Firefox Quantum will necessarily experience similar results. Different hardware, software and operating conditions can impact the results. However, based on testing thus far, Firefox Quantum looks quite promising and shows noticeable improvement over its predecessor.
Firefox Quantum is currently available through Firefox Updates or can be downloaded from Mozilla’s website.