Opera 12 arrives and its faster than ever

first_imgFor nearly a year now, Opera has been working away on the next major version of their desktop web browser. That’s an eternity between releases in today’s ultra-competitive browser market, where new versions of Chrome and Firefox pop up every month and a half. So was it worth the wait?My initial reaction is “yes.” Opera 12 is faster than ever, and it’s clear that the company spent a great deal of time honing its performance. On my Windows 8 system, Opera’s Sunspider benchmark scores were nearly identical to Chrome’s — and Opera 12 even came out ahead in a handful of tests. With Opera 12’s support for hardware rendering turned on, it beat Chrome in every category.Solid benchmarks are nice, but they’re not necessarily a great indication of how a browser will fare in real-world use. But with tweaks aimed at crushing network latency and a more efficient rendering process, Opera remains speedy while surfing web pages and running apps like Gmail. Opera 12 also features a number of under-the-hood changes designed to improve the performance of pages served over SSL connections. That’s great news for users, as more and more of the web apps we use are moving to SSL by default.Not only are you getting a faster browser with Opera 12, but you’re getting a more stable one, too. Just as Chrome and Firefox do, Opera 12 now isolates plug-ins in a separate process. Should your favorite Flash-based game lock up while you’re playing, your other tabs will remain responsive as ever.What else is new in Opera 12? There’s a totally revamped theme system, support for Mozilla’s Do Not Track header, improvements to Opera’s browser extension framework, and native 64-bit support for Windows and Mac users. As you’d expect from a company that prides itself on standards compliance, handling of HTML5 has been improved as well.Opera 12 is worth tying out, and if you’re OK with flipping the switch on an experimental feature or two, here’s a tip. Enable hardware acceleration by setting the value here (opera:config#Enable%20Hardware%20Acceleration) to 1 before you kick the tires. It makes an already fast browser that much faster.More at Operalast_img

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