Many different Web browsers are built on Mozilla's open-source Firefox project, including Waterfox, a 64-bit version of Firefox. Waterfox takes advantage of a variety of speed-boosting technologies found in most current Intel CPUs and the latest AMD processors, too, such as SSE3, AVX, and Jemalloc. Of course, while your Internet connection's speed and reliability will have a much greater impact on your day-to-day browsing speed than your browser will, a 64-bit browser offers some advantages in 64-bit Windows, such as increased speed and improved stress handling. The 64-bit Waterfox is also available in a fully portable version for users who prefer portable programs or who want a portable 64-bit Web browser for their USB drive. We pitted it against top-ranked browsers in two separate 64-bit Windows installations, Home Premium and Ultimate. We also tried Waterfox Portable with and without standard Firefox installed.
The biggest difference most users will see between Firefox and Waterfox (installed or portable) is the deep-blue Waterfox Start button and blue logo. Waterfox automatically imported our user data from our existing Firefox installation. If you open Waterfox and then open Firefox, the pages will open in Waterfox, and vice versa: If we had Firefox open, clicking the Waterfox icon opened a new page in Firefox (which is why we tried Waterfox with and without Firefox installed). Other than that, Waterfox looks and behaves exactly like what it is, Firefox with some fancy tuning under the hood.
We ran numerous bandwidth speed tests on Waterfox Portable, the installed Waterfox, Firefox 18, Internet Explorer 9 32-bit and 64-bit, Opera, and Google Chrome. Both the installed and portable versions of Waterfox loaded quickly and were very similar to the others in performance, though none dethroned the reigning speed champ, Chrome. The installed Waterfox clearly bested the portable version, which has been our experience with portable browsers. But both Waterfox versions seemed fast and stable in actual browsing. Of course, all the major Web browsers perform quite well in most conditions; we suggest trying each of them since they're all free. But if you want an up-to-date, fully portable 64-bit browser, Waterfox Portable is the obvious choice.
Waterfox is a 64-Bit version of Firefox. The Firefox source code is taken and compiled to run specifically for 64-Bit Windows computers. To make Waterfox stand out a bit more, it's compiled with optimizations so that it will run more efficiently and faster than just compiling Firefox as a 64-Bit program. Waterfox was the first community Firefox builds to release a 64-Bit version of Firefox 4 when it first came out. Features include streaming SIMD extensions 3, advanced vector extensions, Jemalloc, and profile-guided optimization.
Releases of FireFox later than 5.x (full install or portable) left me with a maddening delay whenever I was loading new web pages. Usually the the loading process would hang (often with a spinning circle icon) for over a minute and sometimes I needed to hit reload to get the page to load at all. Not all web sites, but too many web pages. It was maddening. Shedding extensions and plug-ins didn't help. It finally drove me to Chrome.
Still there were things I liked about FireFox and I hated giving it up. So I installed FF Portable and kept it up to date hoping it would eventually be fixed. I has not been fixed. Then I heard about WaterFox Portable 64x. They say it isn't all that different from FireFox but it certainly runs differently on my computer. The latest version 18.0.1 loads quickly and runs like the old FireFox used to run when it was at its prime. Web pages load instantly in WaterFox. My favorite extensions install and run without issue. There is nothing bad to say about it.
None WaterFox is, to me, simply the best example of what FireFox used to when everything was working very quickly and perfectly. I start WaterFox Portable and still just sit there stunned at how nice it looks and runs and wonder why I didn't discover it earlier before I beat myself to death with the the later versions of FireFox. I probably would not have switched to Chrome a year ago if I had found WaterFox in time.
Yes, I know that there are many if not most of the FireFox users that are not experiencing the awful web page loading slowdowns / hang ups that plague some of us ex-loyal FireFox fans. But you can still try WaterFox at no risk. Just download and install the portable version on another HD or external device. Let it import bookmarks, etc. from other browsers you may have set up on your computer (I imported bookmarks from Chrome). Set WaterFox up like you wish and give it a trial run. You may find you never go back to the "OEM FireFox". If WaterFox isn't a new refreshing experience for you, just delete the directory into which you installed WaterFox Portable (yes - really - it is just that easy) and you are back where you began. No risk. No potential downside.