Move over Chrome, Opera now has the fastest JS engine

Most of us know that Opera has been at the forefront of Browser innovation for the longest time, yet remains at the bottom of pile when it comes to desktop browser market share. Its a sad story and even the best of us have a hard time figuring out why this is so. But this doesn’t stop Opera from making major innovations and changes with each new release.

With Opera 10.5 Alpha (Evenes), released today, comes a brand new JavaScript Engine (Carakan) written from scratch, and some major UI changes.

You can read more about the UI changes from Opera Blog, we will focus on the new JavaScript Engine performance.

Before this release Opera had one of the slowest JavaScript engine, after IE8, by a wide margin. Compare to the last release the JavaScript performance improvements done in this release is quite stunning. Webkit (used by Safari and Chrome) has been, for the longest time, de facto JavaScript engine in terms of performance but the latest Opera Alpha JS even beats the webkit nightly builds. But so does the Chrome dev builds. A lot of users might not know this; even though Chrome uses webkit as their rendering engine they have done a lot of JS performance of their own, which is why Chrome outperforms webkit nightly in the latest builds (read more here and here).

Let’s look at the current standing in JS performance according to SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark:

Note: Your mileage may vary depending on the OS and hardware you are using. The above benchmark was done on Windows 7 64bit.

Edit: . Fixed