Does Firefox 3 support 4 or more cores?

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Post Posted February 7th, 2009, 12:19 pm



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Post Posted February 7th, 2009, 12:52 pm

Firefox doesn't need to, that's a function of the Operating System. Keep in mind that Firefox doesn't have any official 64-bit builds and probably won't offer an official 64-build for a few years, so you will need to run Firefox in a "compatibility mode" of the OS.

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Post Posted February 7th, 2009, 11:04 pm

I think Advice Pro is talking about multithreading.
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Post Posted February 8th, 2009, 1:59 am

Yes, Firefox is multi-threaded. The OS will manage these as it sees fit.
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Post Posted February 9th, 2009, 9:27 pm

Not as well as you might like, Advice Pro. Although Firefox is multi-threaded. it's not designed to run the threads concurrently. For example I'm running Firefox 3.0.6 on Win XP Pro with dual 600 MHz PIII CPUs. Although the OS switches Firefox between the CPUs as it sees fit, I never see more than a total 50% usage by it, i.e. it can't take advantage of both processors full capability simultaneously.

But maybe this isn't what you were asking. As the previous posters said, Firefox will indeed run just fine on a multi-core CPU. It doesn't care how many CPUs or cores you have.

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Post Posted February 10th, 2009, 12:49 am

Alan, that's not a Firefox problem. It is the OS that has to be able to do that. A lot of OS assign a process to one single core only (it is simpler to do that, the cache at the core level can be used for example).


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Post Posted February 10th, 2009, 3:52 am

teoli2003 wrote:Alan, that's not a Firefox problem.

Ahh yes it is.
Or rather, you could say it's not a "problem", but whatever it is, it's Mozilla's. Every time two threads can run in parallel, modern OSes will run them in parallel.

There's some confusion in this thread. It's one thing to "support" multiple cores. It's another thing to have many threads. And it's yet another thing to run some kind of calculations in parallel with multiple threads.

Supporting multiple cores is OS' job and mozilla obviously doesn't mind.

Having multiple threads is a software design decision, and mozilla does have mutiple threads. There's a main thread where most of the stuff happens and there are other threads with specific tasks, such as a thread per network connection.

Splitting some kind of calculation into multiple parallel threads is what mozilla doesn't do. I'd say there's a lot of discussion into which calculation extactly could be split, and if it could, should it be split. No, it's not obvious. Threads and parallelism are a solution to some problem, they are not a problem by itself.

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Post Posted February 10th, 2009, 9:16 am

Yes, that's exactly what I meant, so thank you, sysKin, for expanding on it. I knew about some of the various developer discussions regarding this issue, but didn't take the time to dig any of them up. Thanks for doing that too.

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