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Early Chrome Gets New Garbage Collector, Boosts Speed

By - Source: Google | B 12 comments

Google just added an incremental garbage collector (GC) to the nightly and developer builds of its Chromium and Chrome web browsers.

The company says that the new version cuts down GC pause times and adds to the web app peak performance upgrade previously achieved by the Chrome JavaScript Crankshaft update.

According to a brief blog post, Google promises that the reduced pause times, which drop from a peak of 272 ms to just 50 ms, will result in notably better performing web apps, such as the WebGL versions of Google Maps or browser games. Subjectively, this writer found the WebGL version of Maps to be performing slightly better with a Chrome 17 nightly build rather than the stable Chrome 15, but I would not necessarily pin those marginal and very subjective impressions of improvements down on the change of the GC just yet. I am not convinced that the effect is as substantial as Google's data suggests

However, for those of us who believe benchmarks, there is a "stress test" that measures the effect of the new GC. Chrome 15 finished the (10 second) test with a score of 6, and Chrome 17 with a score of 34 on my test system. However, Chrome was beaten by the current Opera 11 stable build with 46, by the nightly build of Firefox 11 with 48 and, most dramatically, by the current Firefox 8 stable build with 126, which was able to paint more than twice the number of frames than Chrome 15 did - 617 frames versus 278 frames.

You can download the current developer version of Chrome here.

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  • 10 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , November 24, 2011 5:50 AM
    Wait... something wrong here. A Gruener article without Apple advertisement praise? :heink: 
Other Comments
  • 10 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , November 24, 2011 5:50 AM
    Wait... something wrong here. A Gruener article without Apple advertisement praise? :heink: 
  • 0 Hide
    Goldengoose , November 24, 2011 8:04 AM
    Don't stare at that stress test for too long... you just can't look away...
  • 2 Hide
    alyoshka , November 24, 2011 8:24 AM
    Talk about being fast.............
  • 3 Hide
    mihaimm , November 24, 2011 9:56 AM
    That particular benchmark is focused on 1 (and only 1) aspect of the JS vm: garbage collection. Ch17 is overall faster than Ch15 in certain areas and small incremental improvements across the board made this possible. The benefits of the new GC will be visible (as Google mentions it) only in certain types of applications and not across the board (some of the other V8 benchmarks yeld virtually identical scores between Ch15 and Ch17).

    And... BTW... I see Firefox and Opera but where are the comparisons with the other major browsers? IE & Safari?
  • 4 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , November 24, 2011 10:20 AM
    Quote:
    And... BTW... I see Firefox and Opera but where are the comparisons with the other major browsers? IE & Safari?


    Safari is major? :lol:  Even the Mac users I know prefer FF or Chrome.
  • 1 Hide
    mihaimm , November 24, 2011 10:58 AM
    phantom, there are 100+ millions of active iOS devices all running Safari (and ONLY Safari). That is a major browser, no matter how you put it. Also, according to http://www.netmarketshare.com, Safari is the 4th most popular browser with ~8% of computer market share. Depending on your country/region/site, that 8% may vary dramatically.

    You can ignore reality or wish it was different, but that does not change it. Safari is a major browser and it's market share will continue to grow. IE is also a major browser even if it's market share is declining. I'd rather see those compared than the relatively obscure (even though very good) Opera.
  • 6 Hide
    tanjo , November 24, 2011 12:41 PM
    amk-aka-phantomWait... something wrong here. A Gruener article without Apple advertisement praise?

    Not much fruity news lately... at least it's not "why PC is dead (or not)".


    @mihaimm: But don't they(iOS users) usually use site specific apps for access?
  • 0 Hide
    cookoy , November 24, 2011 12:59 PM
    i'm tired of downloading every new incremental version that comes out. if they update only the version number, i'd probably download that too.
  • 1 Hide
    mihaimm , November 24, 2011 1:16 PM
    tanjo.@mihaimm: But don't they(iOS users) usually use site specific apps for access?

    If it's an HTML5 based app, that's gonna use the same Safari browser. More and more apps become HTML5 today as it makes little sense to develop completely different ones for Android, iOS, BBOS, bada, WM, webOS and Symbian. Instead we're using the underlying browser and the HTML5 capabilities to develop stuff that works reasonably well an all platforms and then we optimize for each in particular. But at least there's a common code base that can be reused. As such, the performance of the browser is crucial for the performance of the application.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 24, 2011 1:53 PM
    Just scored a 401 with Firefox 8. :)  3493 frames on the 60 second test.
    Time for a new test system Wolfgang.
  • 3 Hide
    Thunderfox , November 24, 2011 9:06 PM
    At least this article explains what 'GC' is, unlike that Linux story a while back...
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , November 26, 2011 8:39 AM
    The next version of Chrome should do better in terms of tab memory usage, probably.