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Is Firefox causing laptops to overheat through CPU overuse?

Those of you that are fortunate enough to primarily surf the web on a desktop machine, you probably won't notice just how much of a resource hog web browsers can be. But if you use a laptop -- or any kind of portable really -- you have probably experienced the full 100%-CPU-ow-ow-my-thighs-are-burning-and-my-fingertips-are-sweating experience. It turns out that the issue is so pronounced in some cases -- generally ultra-lights/netbooks with less heat dissipation -- that laptops are overheating and shutting down!

For whatever reason, web browsers and portable computers just don't go well together. Whether it's the constant hard-disk swapping or the heavy use of Flash, something causes laptop CPU usage to spike -- a lot.

Fortunately, there's a neat support page on the Mozilla site that details a few ways to reduce CPU usage, if you're one of the few that has an overheating laptop.

Over on CNET they're suggesting that Firefox suffers more than other browsers. Whether that's true or not might be anecdotal, but a support bod at Mozilla did say that 'Safari is possibly better at optmizing Flash-based sites compared to Firefox.'

And I'll pipe in and say that I get CPU spikes using every browser on my laptop. But I'd love to know if Firefox actually munches up more resources than other browsers, or if it's simply a matter of configuring your browser correctly. Perhaps we can expect to see a 'performance version' of Firefox that looks uncomfortably like Safari...?

Tags: laptop, netbook, overheating, portable