Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Hold on to your seats

After reading Jesse Ruderman’s Burning Edge FAQ, which explains what the various acronyms used to describe custom builds of Firefox are, I decided to have a look at one of these custom builds.
First thing to do was to find out what my processor could handle. I have a Mobile Intel Celeron, which could be based on either a Pentium 2, 3 or 4, so I needed to do a bit of further investigation. For this, I used AIDA 32, which reported that the chip supported SSE2, a set of instructions that was introduced with the Pentium 4 – therefore, I have a P4-based Celeron. This means I can download builds marked as SSE2, which requires a P4, and builds marked as G7, which doesn’t require a P4 but is optimised for it.
The build I went for was mmoy’s O2 G7 SSE2, which is based on trunk code from Thursday. It’s about the same size as Firefox 0.8 but doesn’t have a formal installer, just an SFX unpacker, but it does include many of the new features that will go into version 0.9 (a list of the big changes is also available from The Burning Edge). The only other difference between this and the 0.8 release is that this includes alternative artwork – the Firefox logos are trademarked so they only appear in the official releases and nightly builds.
Still with me? Good, because if you follow the above you may make yourself very, very happy. This optimised build is insanely fast – probably the fastest browser I’ve ever used. New tabs open instantly, menus appear as soon as you click on them, and page rendering is noticably faster. If you’re willing to spend a few minutes trying to find a build that works best with your computer, then you’ll be thanking yourself in future.


  1. How about some real numbers for how much faster it is?

  2. I reckon that FAQ is going to be pushing a few more peopel towards the unofficial builds, it worked for me.
    alanjstr: how does a person get real numbers?
    I did a ‘second count’ in my head for a page on my intranet, 3s for IE6, 1s for BlueFyre’s O2 G7 SSE.
    Now that’s hard data

  3. This build is a similar version of Mozilla. –

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