Firefox 6 Rocks Safari 5.1 on Mac OS X Lion

I’m trying out Firefox 6 as a replacement for Safari 5.1 on Mac OS X Lion today.

The first thing that I love about the new Firefox is that it rocks Safari in responsiveness and memory usage.

Visiting big sites with loads of images and video launch with a bam! on Firefox as opposed to the laggy wimper on the new Safari. Also, the sites that I regularly login to and keep open like Gmail and WordPress.com don’t suffer the constant loading problem on Firefox 6 that has plagued Safari since its inception.

As you can see from the screenshot above, you can see that Firefox also uses less memory. For this comparison, I loaded six tabs on both browsers with the same sites that I normally load during my browsing sessions. Safari and Safari Web Content use a combined total of 748.7 MB while Firefox and Firefox Plugin Process use a combined total of 512.6 MB for a difference of 236.1 MB! I have documented Safari’s web hogging status previously here.

Having seen no glitches or problems so far today, I will keep rolling with Firefox for awhile.

If you haven’t downloaded the latest version of Firefox, you can find it here.

Safari Web Content Hogging RAM and CPU Time, Thread on Apple Support Communities

I have noticed on my MacBook 5,1 with 4 GB of RAM that Safari gets sluggish in full screen mode with twelve tabs open. I also noticed that Safari 5.1, which ships with Mac OS X Lion, spins two processes: Safari (currently using 294 MB RAM and 6.2% of CPU utilization) and Safari Web Content (currently using 1.33 GB RAM and 41% of CPU utilization). If I drop out of full screen mode, the RAM allocation remains the same, but the CPU utilization drops to about 1.4% and 8% respectively. Now, I am back into full screen mode, but I have not yet seen the spike in CPU utilization. I currently have three Safari Extensions installed: AdBlock, Awesome Screenshot, and Click to Flash. I also have the latest version of Adobe Flash installed, but I do not have any active Flash content loaded.

I searched online to see if anyone else is having similar issues. I found a thread started by scryedz on the Apple Support Communities, who began the discussion by writing:

Hi everyone! Safari become very lag when I open a new tab or pages, and when I checked Activity Monitor, the one that made my mac lag is Safari Web Content, it can eats 80-90% of CPU.However, it only happened if I open new tab/pages. I never experienced lag with other browser such as Firefox before. Anyone ever experienced this? Any suggestion or solution will be appreciated. Thanks.

via Safari Web Content high CPU usage: Apple Support Communities.

Following the thread, it sounds like others are experiencing Safari’s resource hogging and system sluggishness. Some suggestions to fix the problem include deleting Safari’s cache files manually (~User/Library/Cache/com.Apple.Safari) and uninstalling all Safari Extensions.

Hopefully, Apple will address this problem more assertively with a software update to Safari.

Recent Apple Software Updates

If you don’t religiously follow MacUpdate.com or refresh Apple’s Software Update once a day, you may have missed some of the recent software updates for Mac OS X and iPhone/iPad:

Remember to backup your files (manually or with a backup solution like Apple’s Time Machine), and then apply updates. It is also good practice to repair your disk permissions on Mac OS X after updates are completed with Disk Utility (located in /Applications/Utilities).

Happy Updating!