Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Mozilla The Internet Businesses Google

Memory Usage of Chrome, Firefox 3.5, et al. 505

Posted by kdawson
from the gig-here-gig-there-pretty-soon-it-starts-to-add-up dept.
An anonymous reader writes "This experiment graphs the memory usage of Chrome and Firefox 3.5 (along with Safari and Opera) over a series of 150 Web page loads using an automated script. Firefox 3.5 shows the lowest memory usage in all categories, including average memory usage, maximum memory usage, and final memory usage. Chrome uses over 1 GB of memory due to its process architecture. Safari 4 and Opera show memory usage degradation over time, while Chrome and Firefox 3.5 are more reliable in freeing memory to the OS." IE 8 was not included "because the author could not find a way to prevent it from opening a new window on each invocation of the command."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Memory Usage of Chrome, Firefox 3.5, et al.

Comments Filter:
  • IE8, huh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by palegray.net (1195047) <{philip.paradis} {at} {palegray.net}> on Sunday June 21, 2009 @01:23AM (#28408009) Homepage Journal
    I couldn't find a way to keep it from sucking so forcefully all the air was evacuated from my office every time it was run.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Frosty Piss (770223)
      I think you are full of shit.

      On one of my machines, IE8 is slightly faster than FF. But on my old slow machine, IE8 is *much less* of a memory pig, so much so that I had to drop FF simply because after awhile with a few tabs open, it slowed my machine to a crawl and eventually required me to kill it in the Task Manager.

      Some people have tried to tell me that I just don't know how to set FF up to run efficiently. I say that I shouldn't have to.

      I'm not happy about this because *I am not* a "whatever works"
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Seriously? I've never seen IE8 take up less memory than FF, ever, for any combination of pages. Right out of the box, FF is much lighter weight.

        I can't imagine what you were doing wrong.

      • Moving targets (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mcrbids (148650) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @02:06AM (#28408233) Journal

        There's no answer that's always right. If memory usage was paramount, we'd all have browsers that used 1 MB of RAM and took 10 minutes to render a page, with another 2 minutes to scroll down a page.

        But RAM is cheap and developers have to make compromises based on the real-world that they have to compete in. I can get a gig of RAM for about the cost of a burger lunch with my wife.

        Do I really care about memory usage? Only to the extent that it's 'good enough' on my slowest computer - a dual-core Mac Mini with 512MB.

        FF3 is plenty good enough for me to thoroughly enjoy an episode of 'Burn Notice' on Hulu just now on that very computer.

        Sorry you are having probs with memory usage on your (ancient?) computer. Perhaps you should consider forgoing a burger lunch this week?

        • by fuzzix (700457) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @04:16AM (#28408793) Journal

          FF3 is plenty good enough for me to thoroughly enjoy an episode of 'Burn Notice' on Hulu just now on that very computer.

          Wow! FF3 must be a fantastic piece of software if it can make Burn Notice watchable.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Bert64 (520050)

          Memory for modern machines may well be very cheap, but memory for older systems is not because it's no longer mass produced, and many older machines have very low limits on the amount of memory they can accept. For example, i have a dell latitude c610 laptop which is perfectly fast enough for general use, but doesn't support more than 512mb of ram.

        • Re:Moving targets (Score:5, Insightful)

          by walt-sjc (145127) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @09:21AM (#28410099)

          Yes - because in the future, mobile devices will need 16G or RAM just to check email, news, weather, and maps. Your ancient POS 3G iPhone is just totally obsolete because it has so little RAM.

          But seriously, memory usage IS important - because the browser isn't the only thing I run on my machine, yet seems to suck WAY more memory than most other apps.

          Software developers have gotten lazy in not managing memory - they are usually running pretty high-end machines, ignoring the fact that people run OTHER applications too. In the modern economy, people are using older machines longer - and they SHOULD - e-Waste has gotten out of hand, and frankly a 4 year old 2.6G P4 with 512M-1G IS a reasonable machine to use for most business and home (non-gaming) applications. I should not need to upgrade to a quad-core 8G machine just so I can run email, a browser, AND and office app at the same time, when we USED to be able to do that with a 256M machine just fine.

          And yes, as another poster already mentioned, not all older machines can be upgraded (especially notebooks), and memory for older machines is a LOT more expensive than a burger lunch. Try more like a meal at a nice restaurant for 4, with a few drinks. By the way - in this modern economy with unemployment continuing to grow, that is a luxury many people can no longer afford.

          • Yes, you did used to be able to do everything you described in 256MB of RAM. But to attribute the biggest increases in web browser memory usage to programmer laziness is to ignore a drastic change in the way we (and by we, I mean the general internet-using public) use web browsers. It's no longer enough to display static web pages. Web applications are mainstream, JavaScript and Flash are practically inescapable.

            I was curious, so I just checked memory usage of a web browser (Firefox 3) and an office app (Wo

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by AmiMoJo (196126)

            Memory usage is important, but absolute numbers are not. Scalability is the key.

            If a browser can run fine on a phone with very limited memory and processor speed, but then scale up nicely to my desktop machine which has 6GB RAM than to me that seems like the best option.

            BTW, my desktop machine really does have 6GB RAM, and my laptop 2GB. 2GB of DDR2 RAM is less than £20 now, so I'd rather have a browser that can make good use of it and speed up navigation and rendering than have one which leaves 80% o

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by BitZtream (692029)

            Posts like these always amuse me. Yes several years ago we used machines with a lot less ram, they also did a lot less.

            You can call it bloat and whine and moan and bitch but your Desktop PC with a modern browser is far different than your 5 year old PC running a browser from 5 years ago.

            Just because you aren't observant enough to notice this doesn't mean that software today is the same as it was 5 years ago. I'll ignore the OS for the moment as I'm going to assume you use XP, if you're still using a Unix

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by hairyfeet (841228)

        Have you tried Kmeleon [sourceforge.net] or Kmeleon CCF ME [blogspot.com]? Both of those are OSS and from my own experience with older machines both use far less memory than FF3, due to the fact they are coded to run Win32 as opposed to XUL. The Kmeleon CCF ME build uses a little more memory, but that is due to the built in ABP support.

        So if you want to get away from IE but need a browser that is light on RAM I would recommend either of the above. The CCF ME build comes in a zip so it is also quite useful as a flash based browser, if you

  • It doesn't matter (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Sunday June 21, 2009 @01:27AM (#28408027)

    Unless you are talking about a system with severely limited memory, memory usage is probably not the right criteria for deciding which browser to use.

    Something like "it doesn't show weird ass icons and bars when Slashdot decides to change CSS" is probably much more important. Firefox 3 totally screws up Slashdot in Default mode.

    • by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @01:37AM (#28408063) Homepage Journal

      Something like "it doesn't show weird ass icons and bars when Slashdot decides to change CSS" is probably much more important.

      I'm no web developer, but I don't quite believe that those artifacts are Firefox's fault. Why the staff would make broken changes on a live site is anybody's guess. Those artifacts are relatively minor annoyances but they won't serve the people who are considering switching to Linux and getting into open source only to discover that the primary forum for Linux nerds is every bit as broken as the Linux their Microsoft-loving buddies describe.

      • Re:It doesn't matter (Score:4, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 21, 2009 @01:48AM (#28408121)
        It's not just firefox either. Over the last couple weeks /. has been a major pain to read via I.E. 7 (what I'm stuck with at work) Opera (9.6 and 10 beta) and with Firefox.

        The symptoms are not identical on all three browsers but none of the three has been working like it used to do.

        Although it does seem like it's been better the last day or two.

        I usually have /. as one of my always open tabs in Opera, but until the last couple days, I've been choosing otherwise, simply because /. was bogging down the entire browser even while I was off reading other tabs. But today, and now that I think of it yesterday as well it was not nearly as annoying.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by gknoy (899301)

        I have weird-ass artifacts on Firefox here at home, and I'm using Vista. It is very jarring to have the site look better in Opera (and MUCH better in IE) than in Firefox.

      • Re:It doesn't matter (Score:5, Informative)

        by RichiH (749257) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @05:43AM (#28409245) Homepage

        Be glad you are not using Konqueror 3.5.10 or 4.2.4; /. makes a point of breaking rendering on those browsers every few weeks.

        Random buttons and scroll-bars? Check.
        Black text on black background? Check.
        Utterly broken navigation so you can watch the front page and nothing else? Check.
        CSS, Javascript and other crap in _plain text mode_? Check.

        The only reason I keep coming back here for is the friendly discussion style ;)

      • Re:It doesn't matter (Score:5, Informative)

        by dzfoo (772245) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @07:09AM (#28409579)

        I see weird-ass icons and bars on Slashdot comments in Firefox, on Mac OS X 10.5.7 and Windows XP SP2. I don't get those artifacts in any other well constructed site; only on Slashdot.

        What's more, they occurred right after they fixed the white-on-white-comment-title CSS bug. Although it could certainly be a Firefox rendering issue, it seems to me more of a broken CSS issue from Slashdot web developers.

        Just as that other annoying bug, I can work around it by clicking the "CHANGE" button without making any threading changes. Which offers another suspicious clue: why is the page rendered differently at that point?

                -dZ.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Blakey Rat (99501)

        I wrote a blog entry just yesterday about Slashdot's completely ignorance of the term "staging server": http://blakeyrat.com/index.php/2009/06/slashfail/ [blakeyrat.com]

    • by hedwards (940851)
      I don't really agree, that's ram which I could be using for other things, there isn't really any good reason why a browser or any other application should be allowed to take up a lot of unnecessary ram. In order to deal with the spikes, there has to either be enough ram or the OS has to page things over to swap. Neither of which is necessarily what you want. And it's really not acceptable to require people to pay for too much ram simply because the developers are too lazy to worry about the amount of ram th
    • Of course not... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by The Master Control P (655590) <`ejkeever' `at' `nerdshack.com'> on Sunday June 21, 2009 @01:42AM (#28408091)
      Then a few years later we end up wondering how come our software now sucks ten times more ram than before despite no corresponding quantum leap in functionality.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by compro01 (777531)

      Something like "it doesn't show weird ass icons and bars when Slashdot decides to change CSS" is probably much more important. Firefox 3 totally screws up Slashdot in Default mode.

      Being as I get the exact same behavior on firefox (3.0.11), IE (6, 7, and 8), safari, and opera, I somewhat doubt it's firefox's fault.

    • by 1u3hr (530656) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @02:35AM (#28408383)
      Something like "it doesn't show weird ass icons and bars when Slashdot decides to change CSS" is probably much more important. Firefox 3 totally screws up Slashdot in Default mode.

      It's totally fucked up in Opera too. Aside from graphics elements appearing randomly all over the screen, it takes a minute to load the page before I can scroll the damn thing. Then it freezes and jerks around.

      And the fucking front page that decides to load another 10 stories when IT wants to, and again freezes the screen till it's done.

      I can turn off javascript and get a reasonable page that loads quickly and is responsive, or just close the window and go somewhere else.

      How the hell they can unleash this piece of shit on a million users is beyond me.

    • by Kaboom13 (235759) <kaboom108@nOSPAM.bellsouth.net> on Sunday June 21, 2009 @02:47AM (#28408437)

      Have you seen the average corporate america system? They are often running 1 gb max on Windows XP. Add in IT department mandated AV software, management software, business apps coded in a bizarre mixture of visual basic, java, and excel/word macros, auto updaters for 20 different apps, and Outlook or Lotus Notes. I've seen images where just the mandatory software that ran at boot had the workstations paging to disk. In that kind of environment, ram usage matters. 1 app being wasteful with ram is not a big deal, but when all the devs for all the apps you use decide to be lazy, it can be an issue. A web browser should not use excessive ram, and memory leaks are a problem in any app.

    • by kripkenstein (913150) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @02:58AM (#28408491) Homepage

      Unless you are talking about a system with severely limited memory, memory usage is probably not the right criteria for deciding which browser to use.

      Chrome used over 1 GB in this test. Safari and Opera passed the 500 MB mark. That is an issue for far more machines than 'systems with severely limited memory'.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Tweenk (1274968)

        I think the Chrome processes share a lot of their virtual space, so their actual memory usage is a lower.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by BitZtream (692029)

        Perhaps someone should consider the fact that the test is inducing non-standard memory usage in these browsers. The test is in no way an indication of standard browsing habits.

        Throwing 1000 urls at a browser as fast as it can load them is very little like loading a page, letting the JS on it run for a few minutes, doing something on the page, waiting a few more minutes and moving on to some other page. In this benchmark is a joke. I've seen a chart for 'memory usage' ... windows has at least 3 different

    • Re:It doesn't matter (Score:4, Interesting)

      by amirulbahr (1216502) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @03:09AM (#28408549)
      It matters a lot in thin client scenarios. You want as many users as possible on the same server. Importantly, you want idle sessions to be friendly to the system by releasing as much memory as possible.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        For idle sessions, what you want is a sensible OS, lots of swap space and apps which do not tick a lot.
  • We all know that the thing that hogs the most memory in Firefox is all the extensions that people use to immitate other browsers... Who actually uses Firefox without a single extension and brags about how good it is anyway?
    • by siddesu (698447)

      Because I can't use a browser without the vimperator extension anymore :)
      Being able to surf the web without a mouse has been a big relief for my shoulder pain.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by zullnero (833754)
      I've never used an extension that "attempts to imitate other browsers". That's interesting, though. There's a string in the about:config where you can set your browser's id string, why install an extension that "imitates other browsers"?

      I have some alternative download UI elements and forecastfox, a couple other plugins, but only an idiot would install anything and not expect SOME cost.

      I think basically, my question is, how the hell does the GP get modded up past 1? And how is that insightful when
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by cbhacking (979169)

        He was probably referring to things like the plugins that make Firefox's tabbed browsing not suck. It's a sad state of affairs when the browser that introduced tabs to the masses (not the first, but the first with more than about 5% market share) now has one of the worst tabbed interfaces by default. No tab groupings, no jumping back-and-forth using Ctrl-Tab (it cycles through the whole list instead), etc.

  • Pfft. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by solios (53048) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @01:38AM (#28408069) Homepage

    I use Firefox and Safari regularly. I use two web browsers because each one does something vastly better than the other. Firefox for porn and online transactions, Safari for basic day-to-day anything that might include bookmark management (long story short, every browser I've used EXCEPT safari still does bookmark management using some variant of the horrific Netscape method - this includes IE, Mozilla, Firefox, etc - whereas Safari is the first browser I've used that does it in a non-bullshit fashion). However, useable as it is for bookmarks, Safari's a dick when it comes to password management and a few other things - most notably, how the browser handles while the system is paging out or otherwise shot in the ass with RAM overuse from other applications.

    Long story short, under ANY kind of system load - we're talking ANYTHING above IDLE - Firefox is more responsive than Safari. When the system is shitting gold plated bricks trying to deal with the demands After Effects or Photoshop or Final Cut Pro is putting on it, Safari is beyond useless... and Firefox is responsive.

    It all boils down to memory usage. Specifically, Swap/pagefile useage. On the Mac, firefox seems to be more responsive under load while safari is LESS responsive under the same conditions - it has ultimately has nothing to do with RAM usage and everything to do with how the respective applications use swap/pagefile.

    Eat as much ram as you like... but until Apple does something about disk I/O, stay the HELL away from swap - or I'll use the application that does. (namely, Firefox.)

  • ... and is the difference between Firefox, Opera and Safari basically how efficient they are at freeing memory that's no longer used?

    • by Aurisor (932566)

      I'll try to explain this in a way that makes sense to a non-programmer (at the expense of a little correctness).

      Process architecture, very generally, is how programmers deal with the task of getting lots of things to happen at once. It's important to browsers, because you might have a youtube video playing in one tab, and be typing text into a form on another.

      Traditionally, browsers like Firefox share threads between tabs. This saves memory because different tabs can share resources better, but if one tab

      • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Sunday June 21, 2009 @02:15AM (#28408295)

        If you are trying to explain the mechanism to a layman, you need to steer clear of terms like "processes" and "threads" as part of the explanation.

        Imagine the memory in your computer is like a housing development. At first, there is a lot of open space. The open space can be partitioned so that houses can be built. Each of those houses represents a process. As long as you have more space, you can build more houses.

        Inside each house, you have rooms. In computer terms, these would be threads. Each room has a specific job - kitchen, bedroom, bathroom. Sometimes you need more rooms, so you have to build them. This may mean that the size of the house needs to grow, and the amount of acreage the house needs must grow with it.

        As long as a house exists, it will continue to occupy the space it is on. In computer terms, the process will hold on to the memory it has already claimed. However, the corollary to this is that when the house is torn down, all the land it occupied is returned to the "free acreage".

        If a room is remodeled, it will not result in a change to the actual house size. Adding more rooms will always take up more land, but removing those rooms doesn't change the occupied land size at all.

        In the same way, a process can grow and grow, but as soon as it completes (you close a tab in the browser), the memory will go back to the operating system so other processes can use it. But if the process does not complete because it uses threads to build those same tabs, then the process will continue to take up that memory.

        Also consider that a house may burn down. If a problem happens in one room, a house-wide emergency may erupt. A fire in the kitchen may engulf the entire house and bring it down.

        In a perfect world, what happens in one house should not affect other surrounding houses. If one house burns down, the other houses around it should be fine. Same with processes. If a thread in one process crashes, it may bring down the whole process. However, since processes are separated from each other, other processes should not be affected.

        Then why use threads at all? Why not use processes all the time, since they are clearly safer. Well, why don't we only have one room in our house? Threads are needed within processes to perform important roles. Also, since they all exist in the same process, they can share information (like using light switches downstairs to control lights in the foyer). So a careful combination of threads and processes are necessary to create any kind of meaningful application. There is no right or wrong answer, but Google seems to think that isolating each browsing experience from another is the right way. Firefox thinks that putting all the rooms in one house and simply growing the house is the right way. Everyone is different.

  • by l00sr (266426) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @01:40AM (#28408083)

    Summing the memory usage of all the Chrome processes is probably not the correct thing to do, as the memory usage indicated most likely includes shared libraries. I can't say this for sure about Vista, but on all sane operating systems, each shared library is loaded only once into memory, and then shared among different running programs.

    • by Sowbug (16204) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @02:23AM (#28408333) Homepage

      The Chromium Blog [chromium.org] says:

      If you're measuring memory in a multi-process application like Google Chrome, don't forget to take into account shared memory. If you add the size of each process via the Windows XP task manager, you'll be double counting the shared memory for each process. If there are a large number of processes, double-counting can account for 30-40% extra memory size.

      To make it easy to summarize multi-process memory usage, Google Chrome provides the "about:memory" page which includes a detailed breakdown of Google Chrome's memory usage and also provides basic comparisons to other browsers that are running.

      • by something_wicked_thi (918168) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @02:33AM (#28408373)

        For 30 tabs, you can actually get a lot more than that. If the base libraries and the shared code for chrome itself are counted 30 times, then that can easily double the amount of memory, or more. I also looked for that in the article and the author states he summed the memory for all processes, which is to say that the stats for Chrome are wrong. This would also apply to IE, had he been successful at collecting any.

        Also, the Firefox memory, and most likely all the others, are wrong, too, because Firefox ends up using up memory that never gets released normally when you use JavaScript applications. Simply opening tabs and summing memory usage is an idiotic way to measure memory usage of a browser.

        In short, you should try to find someone competent to run your memory benchmarks.

  • Opera Unite! To help free the Iranian strangle hold on information!! ;-)
  • IIRC its possible to instruct Chrome to not use its process-per-tab model via a command line option. Can't remember what it is, but I remember reading it existed. It seems likely that Chrome would have used less memory when running in that mode.
    • by IceFox (18179)
      That would make no sense though. The point of running chrome is that you use the process-per-tab. You can make firefox now download any images, disable flash css and javascript and then it uses even less memory, but that isn't how [normal] people use the browser.
  • Nice to see, but... (Score:2, Informative)

    by timothyb89 (1259272)

    I'm glad to hear that Firefox has finally improved its memory usage. Although my system has plenty of memory, I still find that the amount of memory FF3 requires causes a very annoying slowdown.

    Of late, I've been using Midori [twotoasts.de] as an alternative. With it's current git version and a recent WebKit build (r44951), I've found it to perform better than any other browser I've used (opera, konqueror, firefox). Although it does have a few minor kinks, it supports pretty much every site I've come across and works c

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdo ... g ['kis' in gap]> on Sunday June 21, 2009 @01:55AM (#28408161)

    Is the Linux version of Firefox particularly horrid or something? When using more than 10 tabs or so, my memory usage is typically in the 600mb+ range. It's currently taking 1.1g resident for about 40 tabs. I'm on x86-64, but even if we assume there's a full doubling of RAM usage due to the architecture, that's still 550mb equivalent, which his test never hits even with 150 tabs.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Frosty Piss (770223)

      When using more than 10 tabs or so, my memory usage is...

      Yes, I notice when I have a huge number of tabs open with a mixture of Flash and other multi-media running, my browser slows down too. Wonder why that is...

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by cbhacking (979169)

        10 is nothing. Running down the Slashdot RSS feed I may well open over 15 tabs, and from each of those I might open another tab or two (yes, I RTFAs). Chrome and IE8 handle this quite well. Opera and Konqueror are OK. Firefox bogs down for a long time, and I don't know about Safari. Hardware is Core 2 Duo, 1.83 GHz and 2GB of RAM, clean Vista x86 install.

        I stopped using Firefox for reading Slashdot specifically because it was so bad at this (didn't help that its RSS interface is pretty bad, too).

  • by VincenzoRomano (881055) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @02:10AM (#28408245) Homepage Journal
    The author says he didn't included IE 8 because there was no way to start it without opening a new window for every invocation!
    I would have preferred to have it included despite this "big drawback" and have this thing explained in a note.
    A partially meaningful test (upper limit?) is always better than no test at all!
    I fear that this omission is to "protect" bad performances even in comparison of a browser by a company which seems to be in deep competition with Microsoft.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anubis IV (1279820)
      It would be an unfair test. If you opened each page in a new window with IE8, I believe that would launch separate processes for each. Since the other browsers are having each site loaded in a tab, and two of those browsers (Opera and Safari) do not create new processes for each tab, IE8 would be unfairly penalized. It would also be unfair to compare it against Chrome, since Chrome handles its own process creation and destruction from within the browser, whereas if you opened many sites in different IE8 win
  • Tabs hell (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anenome (1250374) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @02:11AM (#28408253)

    I live in tabs hell. I have... uncountable numbers of tabs open right now--over 9,000, probabaly. My Firefox memory usage can easily push 1400mb. When that happens I kill it and reload, and the memory resets at around 400-600mb.

    Seeing this graph, I can only imagine what Chrome would do to me.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by The MAZZTer (911996)
      IMO Chrome would likely be more lightweight and faster. We've established the benchmark author doesn't know what he's talking about [slashdot.org].
  • Invalid bechmark (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 21, 2009 @02:50AM (#28408463)

    I am sure that this is true for all of the browsers, but in Opera's case...

    The machine has 4GB in question and Opera is set to "automatic" for the memory cache (default). According to this [avencius.nl] article, this instructs Opera to use up to ~10% of the system memory. This is quite tunable based on the environment, so one could easily optimize for a low-end machine and have satasfactory performance. The browser using the memory effectively is the more interesting test, which this benchmark fails to determine. An interesting detail in the graphs is how sharp the memory reclaim cycles are, where the smoother indicates better memory management. The graphs indicate that Opera does a good job in this regard.

  • by hackel (10452) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @03:06AM (#28408537) Journal

    Wow, I *wish* I could get Firefox 3.5 to use so little memory! As I write this Firefox is using 1821M VIRT, 944M RES...and I only have 23 tabs open! Firefox memory usage has always been abysmal for me. Does Firefox perform drastically differently on Linux than on Windows? I would be quite horrified if it actually performed better on Windows, but I don't understand how it possibly managed to be so low...I've never seen Firefox use less than .5G with even a few tabs open for a while... I realize my personal experience involves extensions, plugins and other things which suck of RAM, it still seems terribly high for me. If I leave it running for several days, it will peak 2G and I have to restart the browser.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by EMN13 (11493)

      In real life usage, I've almost never seen FF (3.1 - 3.5) exceed 500MB of usage. I've got 21 tabs open now, playing 4 videos simultaneously on sites using silverlight, flash, and windows media player (different plugins just to make sure), and a few popups open, and the private working set is 245 MB (Virtual size is well and truly not relevant to OS memory consumption), private +unshared but shareable is 269, +shared mem is 285MB. In short, it's using 270MB of ram.

      That's pretty typical in my eyes.

      Just for

  • Opera (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Xyde (415798) <`slashdot' `at' `purrrr.net'> on Sunday June 21, 2009 @03:18AM (#28408579)

    Interesting to see that Opera is not the memory sipping, lightweight browser that it's proponents make it out to be.

    • Re:Opera (Score:4, Insightful)

      by spike1 (675478) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @03:40AM (#28408665)

      You can't really offer opera 10 as a fair comparison until the final version is released.
      The pre releases probably contain a lot of debugging information (which naturally bumps up the size quite a bit)

    • Re:Opera (Score:5, Interesting)

      by A Friendly Troll (1017492) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @09:04AM (#28410023)

      Interesting to see that Opera is not the memory sipping, lightweight browser that it's proponents make it out to be.

      Opera has advanced memory caching. When you close a tab, it remains cached in RAM. If you decide to undo the operation and reopen it, nothing is usually reloaded from the disk cache or the network (Opera even keeps the tab history cached, so you can go back and forward with lightning speed on a reopened tab). Other browsers don't do anything like that, so when a tab is reopened, they reload the content (to put it differently, when a tab is closed in Fx/Safari/Chrome, it's gone from RAM, as can be seen from the sharp drops in the graph from TFA).

      This just isn't a valid test because Opera works differently from everything else, which is why I love it; advanced caching is one of those things that make all other browsers "unusable" for an Opera user.

  • by DTemp (1086779) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @03:39AM (#28408661)

    I would like to see the CPU usage of different browsers tested. I run Firefox 3.5b and Safari 4 on OS X 10.5, and with JUST ONE TAB open with gmail loaded, firefox uses 8% of the CPU sustained with bursts for some reason to 40%, and safari uses 1%.

    With my usual workload, with like 40 tabs open among 5 or 6 windows, Firefox uses 40%, safari 4%. This is ridiculous! This means a lot when you're on a portable on battery, not to mention general system responsiveness.

    I would like to see the CPU usage of browsers compared.

  • by elFarto the 2nd (709099) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @04:53AM (#28408987)

    What the hell is up with Slashdot's CSS? I keep seeing images all over the comments (the bars used on the new comments section, the relationship icons). Is anyone else seeing them. I'm using Firefox 3.5.

    Regards
    elFarto

Aren't you glad you're not getting all the government you pay for now?

Working...