Google engineers claimed that Crankshaft raised Chrome's scores in the V8 benchmark by 50%. "This is the biggest performance improvement since we launched Chrome in 2008," said Kevin Millikin and Florian Schneider, in a post to the Chromium blog Tuesday.
Computerworld ran several versions of Chrome three times each through V8 on a Windows Vista PC, then averaged the three scores.
Chrome's "canary" build -- the least stable and most advanced version of the browser -- was 40.5% faster than the "dev" edition and 43.5% faster than the current "stable" version.
Chrome's canary build is marked as version 10, while the dev and stable editions are versions 9 and 8, respectively. The canary edition is the only currently-available version of Chrome that incorporates Crankshaft.
In a third benchmark suite, however, the Crankshaft-equipped canary build proved only marginally faster than other versions of Google's browser. SunSpider scores showed that the canary edition was just 2.2% faster than the dev build and only 3.5% faster than the stable version of Chrome.
Google's Millikin and Schneider explained the small gains in SunSpider in their blog post Tuesday.
"The idea [in Crankshaft] is to heavily optimize code that is frequently executed and not waste time optimizing code that is not," the two engineers said. "Because of this, benchmarks that finish in just a few milliseconds, such as SunSpider, will show little improvement with Crankshaft. The more work an application does, the bigger the gains will be."
In the V8 tests, Chrome's canary build was over twice as fast as Firefox 4 current beta and Opera Software's Opera 11 preview. When pitted against Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) beta, Chrome was more than five times faster.
Users can switch to Chrome canary, which is available only for Windows, by downloading that edition from Google's site.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is email@example.com .
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This story, "How Fast Is Google Chrome, Really?" was originally published by Computerworld.