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Try the optimized builds once and see for yourself the handling of tab browsing and compare the overall operation between the 2 browsers. I think it will surprise you very much. I was in awe when I first did, as I used Opera because of the tabs over IE for along time.
superb tab handling of Opera
Admittedly I haven't been near Opera for some time, but for Firefox the Tabbrowser Extension has an array of options that would surely satisfy the most obsessive tweaker on the planet. A killer-app for a killer-app.
These builds are at 4.9mb total and optimized for speed as Opera is a superb tab browser with the exception of the added weight that comes with the initial download.
Problem is simple little things, like in Opera the tabs have a sensible minimum width so you can recognise their titles still. Also middle clicking opens in a tab adjacent to the current, NOT either all the way left or all the way right like on FF. It's these little specifics that keep bringing me back to opera and rather buying a bigger CPU and more RAM to compensate for its bulkishness...