Browser memory usage - the good, the bad, and the down right ugly!

Browser memory usage - the good, the bad, and the down right ugly!

Summary: So how much memory do modern web browsers consume when pushed hard? This was the question prompted by my Firefox 3.0 a memory hog? post yesterday.So how do the browsers stack up against each other?

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TOPICS: Browser
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So how much memory do modern web browsers consume when pushed hard? This was the question prompted by my Firefox 3.0 a memory hog? post yesterday.

So how do the browsers stack up against each other?

The Test

I took six identical VMware virtual PCs, running Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 32-bit. The systems were given a meager 512Mb of RAM. We then took the browsers for a one hour browsing session, visiting some of the Internet’s best “hot sheets” websites and loading up 30 tabs for each browser. I also accessed and made use of several Google services (such as Gmail and Google Analytics).

Note: I tried to keep the browsing as similar as possible for all the browsers.

The Results

Here are the results:

Browser memory usage - the good, the bad, and the ugly!

So, we have the good (Opera 9.27 and Firefox 3.0 RC2), the bad (Opera 9.50B2, Safari 3.1.1, and Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1), and the ugly (Internet Explorer 7).

What's interesting is that if I were to list the browsers in order of sluggishness when running with 30 tabs open, the order would be the same as for the memory usage, with IE7 being the most sluggish and Firefox 3.0 RC2 and Opera 9.27 being the most responsive.

Thoughts?

Topic: Browser

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55 comments
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  • Just for fun: could you add Epiphany, Konqueror and Dillo?

    It would be fun to have the lightweight browsers Epiphany, Konqueror and Dillo into this comparison. Just for the heck of it.... :-)

    Greeting, Pjotr.
    pjotr123
    • Pjotr as a Linux pro

      can you tell me if there is a similiar program as task manager in Ubuntu 8.04
      Thanks
      tech_walker
      • Several....

        The simplest one (my favorite) requires the terminal (yikes!): the command "top" (without the quotation marks).

        But there are many others, graphical ones as well. Linux = choice in abundance... :-)
        pjotr123
        • KDE

          If you are using KDE then there is the "Process monitor" usually buried under System / Monitor / Process monitor( Ksysguard)

          In Gnome the equivalent is gkrellm but I don't know which menu they hide it under

          Some more pointers here http://liquidweather.net/howto/index.php?id=99
          bportlock
        • Thanks

          NT
          marks055@...
      • System Monitor

        System>Administration>System Monitor
        FreewheelinFrank
    • Ditto K-Meleon.

      I use K-Meleon, and it seems blazing fast to me.
      roystonlodge
      • K-Meleon does the job very well

        Thanks for the suggestion. I am trying K-Meleon now. It seems blazing fast on my ancient machine (Win 98SE, 192MB RAM). I am ditching FF 2, IE 6, Netscape 8.1 & Opera 9.5 for good. No luck for trying FF 3, IE 7 because I don't want to upgrade my OS just to try them. It is not worth the money. Surprisingly, I had to use Opera to download K-Meleon. FF & IE just crashed while downloading.
        sunder_rao
  • are these raw figures

    Or is it corrected against memory footprint at cold start ?
    Also, did you deacdtivate ActiveX in IE ? If not does the memory footprint integrate the ActiveX infrastucture, or just the naked browser ?
    s_souche
    • Real world or tweaked...

      That is the question. I'm going to assume he wanted to test your basic real world scenario of an average user and not test which browser can be tweaked down to use the least memory. In his case it would be best to simply install and go as this is what most average users would do.
      storm14k
  • Could you add Firefox 2?

    Could you add Firefox 2 as at the moment it has even more marketshare than Opera and Safari combined.
    celeriun@...
  • RE: Browser memory usage - the good, the bad, and the down right ugly!

    Perfect work!
    But some "experts" would like all browsers included and future ones compared as well...
    alxnsc@...
  • Hmmm....seems some people spoke too soon...

    ...on what a browser should normally consume. I bet not many people are going to want to accept this test.
    storm14k
  • Is browser speed/memory consumption really an issue?

    .
    ye
    • It is, if you aren't using a top PC model

      Just think about a 4 or 5 years-old machine...
      raul62
      • I've used XP on a P3-600MHz system with 384MB or RAM

        It ran well. I've also used Vista Ultimate on a P4 1.5GHz with 1GB of RAM. It too ran well. Where would I expect to see memory/speed issues while browsing?
        ye
        • The topic is "browsers", not XP or Vista *again*.

          In case you didn't notice, [i]every[/i] test was performed on Vista with 512 MB of RAM. The point of the test was which [b]browsers[/b] performed better when compared to other [b]browsers[/b].
          Zogg
          • Thanks captin obvious.

            Do you regularly make it a habit of pointing out the obvious? Or just this time?
            ye
          • And yet, if you reread your own responses...

            ... you will discover that you have said nothing more insightful than "I use XP and Vista, and I don't care!". Which is completely irrelevant to this topic, don't you think?
            Zogg
          • I am always amazed at how many people in these forums...

            ...are unable to understand a conversation.
            ye