Google's Chrome browser already enjoys something of a reputation for speed, and the most recent stable version to debut--Chrome 18--extended that further by improving graphics performance on both new and older hardware.
On the SunSpider benchmark, in fact--one that focuses on very short-running tests--V8's speed has improved by about 25 percent, as indicated in the chart below.
Two Alternate Compilers
A second, optimizing compiler is available that can generate faster machine code, but it takes much longer and thus must be used selectively, Kummerow explained. Accordingly, V8 is designed to try to predict which functions will benefit most from optimization and use that second, more time-intensive technique only on the most promising candidates.
"In the past, V8 stopped once every millisecond to look at currently running functions, and eventually optimized them," he noted. "For long-running programs, this worked great, but short-running programs often finished before they could benefit much from the optimizing compiler."
Bottom line? The current beta version of Chrome 19 and its successors promise the benefit of an extra shot of speed.
Want to try out the latest beta version? It's available as a free download for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X from the Chrome site.