Fan noise irritates me. When I am only running essential programs, there is no reason for me to hear my fan.
What constitutes an essential program: a web browser.
On my Mac, I have two major options: 1. Firefox, 2. Safari. Due to all of the extensions and add-ons, I prefer Firefox.
However, after months of attempting to ignore the fact, I came to the conclusion that Firefox is main reason for my “overheating” computer. Since a web browser is an essential program, I did a simple test.
I turned on Firefox and Safari. I opened the exact same web pages on both (3 pages/tabs per browser). I only had one add-on running (1Password). Using iStat pro, I was able to watch which processes were using what percentage of my processor (lots of p’s in that sentence, phew).
Firefox consistently used 5-20% more processor power than Safari. My fans were running ~1000rpm faster with Firefox.
I still do not like Safari but I prefer a quiet computer over Firefox. The choice is simple — Safari is my web browser of choice from now on.
As a side note, here are some details about my web use: normal pages that are open: New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Google Reader, Pandora. Some of these might not play nice with one or the other web browser although it is more likely they would not work well with Safari rather than Firefox since FF has a larger user base.
I also have 4GB of Ram, so that is not the problem.