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This is the end of Opera

I've predicted previously that Javascript perfomance will be a decisive criterion for the acceptance of browsers in the near future. I erred in the time frame for the future, however.

Javascript performance is of relevance here and now. Yesterday, I went shopping for my new gaming rig. Most online shops heavily rely on Javascript for their PC configurators -- as an example, see the configurator of Alternate. When configuring a system, I often switch between the actual configurator, the product overview and the users ratings. Using Opera 10.01 on my Core 2 Duo E6600 with 8 GB of RAM, the resulting browsing experience was unbearably slow.

I then switched to Midori and could hardly believe my eyes ... with or without Javascript seems to make no difference for this browser. See, that's how it's done! Yippie-ka-yay, Opera :D

Midori 0.2.0
native
586.4 ms +/- 17.2%
Safari 4.0.4 531.21.10
Windows 7, VirtualBox 3.0.12
613.0 ms +/- 57.7%
Iron 3.0.197.0
Windows XP SP3, VirtualBox 3.0.12
819.4 ms +/- 16.3%
Midori 0.2.1
ArchLinux 2.6.31 x86_64, VirtualBox 3.0.12
880.8 ms +/- 4.5%
FF 3.7 alpha
native 1580.4ms +/- 3.5%
Konqueror 4.3
native
2214.2 ms +/- 2.8%
FF 3.5.5
native 2274.8ms +/- 2.9%
FF 3.7 alpha
ArchLinux 2.6.31 x86_64, VirtualBox 3.0.12
3579.2 +/- 5.9%
Opera 10.10 1893
native 4428.8ms +/- 4.3%
Opera 10.01 1844
Windows 7, VirtualBox 3.0.12
4761.4 ms +/- 9.6%
Opera 10.01 1844
Windows NT 4 SP 6, VMWare Player 2.5.3 5015.0 ms +/- 1.4%
FF 3.5.5 (Arch build)
ArchLinux 2.6.31 x86_64, VirtualBox 3.0.12
5828.0 ms +/- 16.1%
FF 3.5.4 (Suse build)
OpenSuse 11.2, VirtualBox 3.0.12
5872.0 ms +/- 7.4%
Opera 10.01 4682
native
6229.8ms +/- 4.7%
FF 3.5.5 (Mandriva build)
native 6238.4ms +/- 1.1%
IE 8.0 6001.18702
Windows XP SP3, VirtualBox 3.0.12
6418.4 ms +/- 6.9%
IE 8.0 7100
Windows 7, VirtualBox 3.0.12
6999.8 ms +/- 14.4%
Seamonkey 1.1.17
native
11945.2 ms +/- 12.0%
IE 6.0
Windows NT 4 SP6, VMWare Player 2.5.3
62990.4 ms +/- 1.8%

Native means: Mandriva 2010.0 x86_64 on a Core 2 Duo E6600 and 8 GB RAM. For comparison: Chromium 4.0.252 on my Mini (Ubuntu Karmic on an Atom N270) needs 2216.8 ms to complete the test. Faster than all non-Webkit browsers on my main machine ...

Webkit-based browsers are by far the fastest, beating Gecko by a factor of three and Presto almost by an order of magnitude. This performance difference is quite perceptible in everyday applications as outlined above. What's more: in comparison to my last browser snapshot, both Webkit and Gecko improved their Javascript performance. Opera, instead, is getting worse.

For years Opera talked about a JIT for Javascript in the 'next' version. Now, Opera is the only browser (besides IE) to not have this feature. "The fastest browser on earth" is a long time ago ...

On a sidenote: Mandriva seems to provide particularly slow builds (see FF 3.5.5, Mandriva build). That, of course, makes me particularly happy. :(

Update: I forgot to switch off adsweep (wich costs a lot of perfomance, since it is a Javascript ;) ) in the native Opera test. The new values are consistent with those obtained in the virtual machine, but don't change any of the statements above.

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