Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 25th Jun 2008 15:07 UTC
Internet & Networking The resource usage of browsers is an important aspect in modern-day computing, because the browser is taking on an ever more important role in day-to-day computing tasks. Hence, it may come as no surprise that many complaints regarding browsers are not about rendering speed or rendering quality, but about resource usage. Dot Net Perls ran an interesting benchmark on Windows Vista SP1, comparing 5 browsers to each other.
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Is it just me
by Novan_Leon on Wed 25th Jun 2008 15:51 UTC
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Is it just me or does the study show IE8 using far less memory in the short term but growing faster in the long term? So is the winner of the study determined by a flat line or actual low memory usage?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Is it just me
by Ikshaar on Wed 25th Jun 2008 17:09 UTC in reply to "Is it just me"
Ikshaar Member since:

I would say both... a flat line at 1Gb (made up number) would be a bad sign too. But most common complain is when browser over time eat all the memory.

My browser can be running for days... so no leaked of memory is definitively what I am looking for. Mozilla did a great work on that new version for that matter.

Reply Score: 3

by eggs on Wed 25th Jun 2008 16:20 UTC
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Would probably use less memory on Windows if they just used native widgets and font rendering, not to mention it would look better.

I like the font rendering on my mac more than my pc, but I think it looks absolutely terrible on Windows because it looks so different than everything else.

Reply Score: 3

FireFox r0cks
by Arabian on Wed 25th Jun 2008 17:09 UTC
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I'm fan of FF, and it's awesome tabs and speed, 3.0 owns.

Mozilla should make code cleanup too for the next releases.

Reply Score: 4

by agrouf on Wed 25th Jun 2008 17:12 UTC
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Of course, lynx would beat them all, easy. Yes, lynx exists on Windows, although it is not that popular (I wonder why). Only links could beat lynx on memory usage.
Anyway, I use Firefox 3.0 not only for its low memory usage, but because it has the best functionalities for me and it looks better to me.

Edited 2008-06-25 17:14 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: lynx
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 25th Jun 2008 17:16 UTC in reply to "lynx"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:

Of course, lynx would beat them all, easy.

And DOS would beat Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows Vista.

Not that it really says anything, but hey.

Reply Score: 9

RE[2]: lynx
by agrouf on Wed 25th Jun 2008 17:20 UTC in reply to "RE: lynx"
agrouf Member since:

Don't get me started! CP/M pwns DOS

Reply Score: 6

Comment by Kroc
by Kroc on Wed 25th Jun 2008 17:32 UTC
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What I don't understand is how a browser not using a native UI (thus having all the extra load of an XML/Javascript UI) can use less memory than an entirely Cocoa native-API browser like Safari...

I mean really, how? That one boggles my mind.

edit: on Mac, I should add. Safari/Win doesn't count, it's in the same boat.

Edited 2008-06-25 17:33 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Kroc
by evangs on Wed 25th Jun 2008 17:39 UTC in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
evangs Member since:

Run both browsers through Instruments and then tell us what's going on? I haven't got the time right now, but when (if?) I do it might be something worth writing about.

Reply Score: 2

by sappyvcv on Wed 25th Jun 2008 17:58 UTC
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Opera seems like a happy medium. With 3GB of memory, I would hope my browser would be willing to utilize ~5-10% of it during a 3-hour browse session. The higher memory usage can translate to improve performance when its still below a certain threshold.

FF3 using 100-120mb makes me wonder what it sacrifices to obtain that. Does it aggressively return stuff to memory resulting in lost performance while that memory has to be relocated or calculations/routines have to be re-performed?

Reply Score: 0

RE: Opera
by JoeSmith on Wed 25th Jun 2008 18:51 UTC in reply to "Opera"
JoeSmith Member since:

wow, i said almost the exact thing. Didnt see your post when I wrote mine.

Reply Score: 1

v Low memory can be BAD!!!
by JoeSmith on Wed 25th Jun 2008 18:50 UTC
RE: Low memory can be BAD!!!
by asr4096 on Wed 25th Jun 2008 19:05 UTC in reply to "Low memory can be BAD!!!"
asr4096 Member since:

Do you know that some people use more than just a browser, but dozens of apps. The more effective the memory-handling is the better... <sigh>

Reply Score: 3

RE: Low memory can be BAD!!!
by smitty on Wed 25th Jun 2008 19:08 UTC in reply to "Low memory can be BAD!!!"
smitty Member since:

I didn't really care too much about the RAM issue either, but it's a no-brainer that using less RAM in these cases is better for 99.99999% of people.

From what I gather, FF3 just releases a bunch of caches after certain timeout periods are reached - so that background tabs stop caching stuff you aren't likely to use for hours anyway. CPU's are so insanely powerful these days that it might only take 5ms to recreate the caches when needed, and that's unnoticeable. Meanwhile, if that data was kept in memory and got swapped out to the hard drive it might make the whole system slow.

So yes, FF3 exchanges memory for increased CPU usage. But it isn't a problem because the CPU usage is still virtually nothing unless you're running on an i386, and I imagine your performance in those situations isn't going to be great anyway due to other bottlenecks besides the released caches.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Low memory can be BAD!!!
by Bending Unit on Wed 25th Jun 2008 19:23 UTC in reply to "Low memory can be BAD!!!"
Bending Unit Member since:

Sure, if your really want I can make you a browser that eats most of your memory no matter what. It will be a simple IE-based browser but it will absolutely use up your memory.

Those two points doesn't seem very relevant. Stuff like that takes no time.

Reply Score: 3

Whattabout FF3 with Extensions?
by gan17 on Wed 25th Jun 2008 23:48 UTC
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The reviewer tested Firefox3 without extensions. How much larger is the footprint with, say, a dozen extensions/plugins running?

Just curious.

Reply Score: 1

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This test has a flaw because they used 7.0 rendering mode for Internet Explorer 8.0.

Reply Score: 2

Comparing memory usage is hard
by PlatformAgnostic on Thu 26th Jun 2008 16:36 UTC
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It's actually pretty hard to make a comparison of memory usage. He said he measured private pages, but did he actually measure Working Set, Private Working Set, VM Size, or what? There's a lot of ways to slice memory and it takes some relatively deep knowledge of how to interpret a particular memory usage pattern's effect on the rest of the system.

There's at least one cool memory trick a browser author should consider on Windows: a large memory sink is decompressed images stored in memory for display purposes. It may be wortwhile to keep the compressed versions handy and mark the uncompressed cached image pages with the MEM_RESET flag. I'm not sure how the memory counters will react, but this solution lets youkeepa lot of data around without taxing the system, since pages that are RESET can be repurposed for other programs without writing them to the pagefile or doing any additional bookkeeping. If you call VirtualUnlock() on the pages, you essentially give them back directly to the OS's Standby List, so it doesn't have to look into your workingset for those pages. For all intents and purproses these pages are free for the OS to use if other programs need them.

Aside from memory leaks, which Safari seems to suffer from, one shouldn't be concerned by virtual memory usage of a program unless it appears to affect performance. Reference set and fragmentation are important, however, and it looks like FF3.0 devs have done a great job on this front with lower working set as a happy side effect.

Edited 2008-06-26 16:48 UTC

Reply Score: 2