I would like to know if it is possible to modify Chrome or Firefox display settings, so that it would only show rectangles of HTML DOM objects? What I want to do is to decrease rendering engine job amount as much as possible, so it would only build layout of the page.
People usually refer to this mode of operation as "headless" (i.e. without UI).
Usually there's an additional requirement - to be able to run it server-side without the usual for client software installed. If you're running it client-side, I wouldn't bother about optimization, it shouldn't give you a big win anyway.
Otherwise, try searching using that term. I've seen it asked for several times, but haven't seen a working out-of-box solution.
 just saw http://hg.mozilla.org/incubator/offscreen, which seems to be a headless version of Mozilla.
However, this will only work on client side. If you want to do this on server-side ( so that it will work on any page a user requests through your own ), my guess is you'll need to grab the page's content in a string, and then modify it using a HTML parser.