New Chrome is more than polish | The Download Blog - CNET Download.com

New Chrome is more than polish

Google said the new Chrome was 30 percent faster at loading JavaScript than the previous version, and they weren't kidding.

Yesterday's introduction of Chrome version 2.0.172.28 was touted by Google as being up to 30 percent faster for handling JavaScript. After using the update to the stable release extensively for the past day and running it through two JavaScript tests on two computers, it's conclusively faster than the previous stable version of Chrome.

In addition to being faster, the new Chrome now has a full screen mode.

(Credit: Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

The two computers I used were a Windows Vista Service Pack 1 desktop with a Pentium 4 processor running at 3.00 GHz and 2 GB of RAM, and a Windows XP Pro Service Pack 3 laptop with a Core Duo T9400 processor running at 2.53 GHz and 3 GB of RAM. Chrome was benchmarked by the Webkit test, SunSpider, and the JavaScript-only sections of the Mozilla test Dromaeo. Chrome was tested with no other tabs open and no other programs running on the computer.

When testing SunSpider, Chrome v1.0.154.65 scored 919.2ms on the laptop, and 1864.2ms on the desktop. Chrome v2.0.172.28 scored 583.6ms on the laptop, and 1323.4ms on the desktop. The laptop score was 36.6 percent faster, and the desktop was 29 percent faster.

Running both versions of Chrome through Dromaeo came up with similar results. Keeping in mind that the higher number is better for Dromaeo's tests, the older Chrome scored an overall 113.25 runs/s on the laptop. The newer one hit 139.90 runs/s, an improvement of 23.5 percent. The desktop results were the inverse of the laptop's.

Where the SunSpider results showed greater gains for the new Chrome on the laptop, the Dromaeo desktop tests showed an improvement of 33.8 percent. Chrome v1.0.154.65 hit 146.63 runs/s while v2.0.172.28 scored 196.29 runs/s.

Also new: Users can set forms to autofill in the Options menu (foreground, right), and selectively remove thumbnails on the New Tab landing page (background, left).

(Credit: Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

Actual results will vary based on your hardware and other program running simultaneously, but it's irrefutable that the new version of Chrome, with its updates to the WebKit rendering engine and Google's V8 JavaScript engine, is significantly faster than its predecessor. I strongly recommend that you upgrade if you've been using Chrome for script-intensive Web apps.

Also new in this version of Chrome is the F11 hot key to toggle full screen mode, which drops all hints of the browser frame except for the scroll bars--but only if they're appearing on that site in standard mode. There's also a new form autofill under Options in the Tools menu, and users can selectively remove thumbnails from the New Tab landing page.

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