Just because you have a 64-bit version of Windows doesn’t necessarily mean you have a 64-bit browser. Moreover, just because you have a 64-bit browser doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll see a dramatic performance boost either but that’s still not a cogent reason to avoid it.
In 2011, Sabastian Anthony of ExtremeTech published a comprehensive article on the 64-bit version of Firefox 8. He executed a Peacekeeper benchmark test pitting the 64-bit version of Firefox 8 against it’s 32-bit peer and noticed a 10% performance lift.
But I’m not being fair to you if I didn’t tell you the disadvantages of 64-bit browsers. Yes, speed is in the limelight and is a huge reason to go 64-bit but there are a few things you should be aware of as you consider WaterFox.
Browser plugin developers are either loathe to develop 64-bit plug-ins or the plug-ins that exist are beset with so many bugs that they’re either virtually unusable or beleaguered with vulnerabilities. This isn’t the case for all 64-bit plugins but it certainly apply to most of the major ones.
You can download the 64-bit version of Flash but it’s only available on Windows 7 and newer; Vista and XP fans will have to upgrade; however, despite these limitations 64-bit browsing is the future. So if you have a 64-bit computer you definitely should explore WaterFox.
The Bottom Line
Computers are inexorably moving toward 64-bit processing and using 64-bit browsers such as Waterfox can improve browser performance. These browsers usually have improved multitasking and handle resource stresses better.
Almost every PC shipped today has a 64-bit processor yet there’s still a paucity of 64-bit browsers on the market. Yes, Internet Explorer 9 comes in 64-bit, but I don’t recommend it since it’s still light-years behind Waterfox.
Have you seen substantive speed improvements with your 64-bit browser? Let me know in the comments.