Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Memory usage in Firefox vs. Chrome

Several months ago, I started using Chrome as my primary browser instead of Firefox.  Firefox had been experiencing problems related to increasingly high memory usage the longer it was open.  It had gotten so bad that my laptop with 4GB of RAM would become unusable until Firefox was shut down.  I did some superficial research and discovered that lots of other people were having the same problems with Firefox, but not with Chrome.  Since the main browser extensions I use (Blank Canvas and Firebug) are available for both Chrome and Firefox, I decided to switch.  (Yes, I know that Firebug for Chrome is a "lite" version, but it's sufficient for my needs.)  I kept Firefox on my computer for all the same reasons that you probably have multiple browsers on your computer.  I recently was working on a website that worked better in Firefox than Chrome.  I left both browsers open and running overnight.  When I got to my office this morning, I decided to check memory usage and here's what I found:  With four tabs open, Firefox was running a single process using a total of 137MB of memory.  Check out the screen capture of Task Manager for Chrome with 10 tabs open:
I added up total memory usage for Chrome and it comes to approximately 765810KB over 21 processes.  I realize, of course, that the screen cap of Task Manager represents a snapshot of memory usage at a particular point in time, but 21 processes for Chrome compared to one for Firefox?  137MB of memory usage for Firefox vs 765 for Chrome?  Wow!  By the way, the versions are 14.0.835.202 for Chrome and 7.0.1 for Firefox.  Hmmm, it must require a lot of system resources for Chrome to keep phoning home to Google with all that data mining data.  :)  Looks like it's time to switch back to Firefox.  Oh Firefox, do you still love me?

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