…It could be, based on reports over at the Mozilla support site. In a post on Nanotech, CNet’s Brooke Crothers talks about his own experiences with Firefox on a Macbook Air. Crothers notes that when opening multimedia-heavy pages (which typically include Flash elements) Firefox tends to cause a greater rise in temperature than Safari.

While it’s not quite as big a problem on larger notebook systems which sport beefier heatpipe coolers and fans capable of moving greater volumes of air, netbooks are more likely to feel the heat.

It’s a simple enough test to try yourself. Find a page with some Flash multimedia content – Cnet’s front page, for example – and fire it up on your netbook. Try first in Firefox and listen for your fan to kick in – then time how long it takes to cut out. Now try again with a different browser, say Internet Explorer or Chrome.

Crothers found Firefox logged up to 6 times the CPU utilization of Safari on the same page. Now, this could be OsX specific – being that Crothers’ own machine is a Macbook Air and his other mention is of a Dell Mini 9 user’s complaint about Firefox on a Hackintosh install.

On my Windows 7 system, however, the story is about the same. Firefox measures about double the CPU utilization of Google Chrome on the same page. With so many websites using so much Flash, it’s not hard to see how a prolonged browsing session on a cooling-challenged netbook could lead to an overheating problem.

What’s your experience? Is Firefox causing a bit too much fire on your netbook?

Support Liliputing

Liliputing's primary sources of revenue are advertising and affiliate links (if you click the "Shop" button at the top of the page and buy something on Amazon, for example, we'll get a small commission).

But there are several ways you can support the site directly even if you're using an ad blocker* and hate online shopping.

Contribute to our Patreon campaign


Contribute via PayPal

* If you are using an ad blocker like uBlock Origin and seeing a pop-up message at the bottom of the screen, we have a guide that may help you disable it.

Subscribe to Liliputing via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 16,210 other subscribers

Lee Mathews

Computer tech, blogger, husband, father, and avid MSI U100 user.

9 replies on “Is Firefox to blame for netbook overheating?”

  1. Actually had the opposite experience on my notebook — Chrome ran much hotter than Chrome.

  2. anandtech published a huge browser review a couple of weeks ago. Safari was by far the most power consuming browser. And i really mean by far.
    This has to be a Mac OS problem, cause the real heater is Safari.

  3. firefox definately plays things alot better than safari does as far as flash on osx is concerned. I had an atom netbook running osx and safari couldn’t even play SD youtube without it chopping like crazy but firefox could play sd pretty well. Likely something in safari is limiting its resource utilization because it should be as fast as firefox imo

    1. On Internet explorer, youtube HD plays definitely fine on some videos. But on firefox, it messes up with choppy and laggy fps.


Comments are closed.