Memory test - Firefox 2.0.0.9 vs Firefox 3.0 b 1

Does Firefox 3.0 beta 1 do a better job of handling memory than earlier versions? In a test put Firefox 3.0 beta up against Firefox 2.0.0.9 in a series of tests.

Before I go any further, a few disclaimers and notes. First off, I've carried out this test on a single system running Windows Vista Home Premium on which Firefox had not been previously installed. The system has 2GB of RAM. Both Firefox 2.0.0.9 and Firefox 3.0 b 1 were installed fresh using a standard install. For each test I visited the same web pages and did my best to make the browsing the same on both versions.

OK, with that out of the way, on with the tests. I simulated three different browsing scenarios:

  • Loading a five pages into the browser
  • Loading a single page and leaving the browser for 10 minutes
  • Loading 12 pages into the browser and wait 5 minutes
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31 Comments

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they need to fix the memory issues asap. I'm tired of ff using up 500mb+ of my 1gb memory. I switched to Opera a couple days ago due to this reason.

Interesting. I'm using the beta on Vista and loving it way better than 2.0.0.9 and could care less about 2.0.0.10. The memory management improvement and fast page rendering is very well worth it.

I, however, tried to use the same build in XP and Ubuntu Gutsy and have found a severe issue that causes memory usage to spike to 99% (basically 900mb+) causing system instability and forcing me to kill off firefox.exe/firefox-bin, if I ever get that far. Of course, this was without add-ons enabled.

Donovann, you could try doing Tools > Options > Security > Uncheck "Tell me if the site I'm visiting is a suspected forgery". There is a rather large and random memory problem with this feature in beta 1 which sounds like you're seeing.

Donovann said,
Interesting. I'm using the beta on Vista and loving it way better than 2.0.0.9 and could care less about 2.0.0.10. The memory management improvement and fast page rendering is very well worth it.

I, however, tried to use the same build in XP and Ubuntu Gutsy and have found a severe issue that causes memory usage to spike to 99% (basically 900mb+) causing system instability and forcing me to kill off firefox.exe/firefox-bin, if I ever get that far. Of course, this was without add-ons enabled.

That issue should be resolved now.
http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/asa/archive...x_3_beta_1.html

To my knowledge isn't using more ram perfectly acceptable ... if not beneficial to the speed of the system? (presuming other applications dont require it?

When I open a 1GB+ photoshop file... if the system only used a tiny bit of RAM, then I'd be concerned it wasn't holding all the information it needed it its memory - and instead was making slower hard drive writes.

If you are testing the memory usage of Firefox then don't you need to see how it performs when it it under memory strain, rather then letting it use as much memory as it likes???


If I need information recollection.... storing as much as possible in my head and referring to books when required is much faster than writing everything on paper and not remembering a thing and having to look everything up.

It should have memory as is needed. the point is it shouldnt need as much as it often requests on other ppls machines. The extra ram isn't really a benefit if it's all going to Firefox. RAM's there to be used but the OS would be better off suited giving it to other background tasks or allocating it to apps your likely to run than giving a web browser a few hundred more megs than it needs.

Sure, you dont want to under allocate, thats a given, but it shouldnt need several hundreds of megs for a few tabs either and many users report those sorts of results.

Firefox 3.0 b 1:

Loading a five pages into the browser - 38,644KB
Loading a single page and leaving the browser for 10 minutes - 63,764KB
Loading 12 pages into the browser and wait 5 minutes - 62,312KB

Someone sees something wrong here?

Here's a comparison on Linux (Slashdot)

FC 6 .. kernel 2.6.22.. Firefox 1.5.0.12 vs 3.0b1

I created a new user, logged in and loaded up FF 1.5.. opened up 12 tabs and logged into these sites

www.bbc.co.uk
www.slashdot.org
www.dailykos.com
www.news.com
www.abc.com
www.foxnews.com
www.freep.com
www.youtube.com
www.youporn.com
www.liveleak.com
www.rawstory.com
www.drudge.com

Here are the numbers for ff 1.5. The first line is when it loaded up with 12 empty tabs. The second line is the 12 websites loaded initially.. and the third line is 12 minutes afterwards

3876 perfume 20 0 175m 54m 38m S 0.0 14.5 0:18.19 firefox-bin
3876 perfume 20 0 348m 124m 49m R 72.0 33.2 1:47.83 firefox-bin
3876 perfume 20 0 338m 135m 49m R 46.8 36.0 7:30.93 firefox-bin

I logged out, rm -rf ./.mozilla then logged back in and fired up FF 3.0b1.. same procedure, same 12 websites and 12 minutes of idling on them

4231 perfume 20 0 202m 58m 38m S 3.6 15.6 0:11.79 firefox-bin
4231 perfume 20 0 273m 106m 40m S 59.7 28.4 1:31.37 firefox-bin
4231 perfume 20 0 254m 107m 40m S 1.3 28.5 2:27.26 firefox-bin

CPU usage seemed to be much better with FF 3B1 as well.. not sure why the difference but everything was clean...

Of course there were a couple of memory leaks fixed from 1.5 to 2.0, but the memory fragmentation issue is still there, maybe it's something buggy when it compiles on Windows?

We get it: This guy doesn't like Firefox.

I don't understand what he gains from continuing his little campaign here. Yes, Firefox uses a lot of memory. Yes, I use Firefox because it meets my needs better than the other options available to me.

bangbang023 said,
We get it: This guy doesn't like Firefox.

Hmm did we read the same piece because I swear the author was comparing firefox-2 and firefox-3 memory usage... not advocating you to change browser.

I used Firefox since its beginning and yes I find its memory usage quite annoying sometimes (and yes often it's probably the plugins)... I would not trade it for IE anyday but that does not mean Firefox is perfect either.

i dont know about you guys but firefox dont use THAT much memory if you ask me... cause i can leave the thing running overnight with multiple tabs open etc and it usually never goes to much over 100MB (less then 200MB for sure).

but say roughly 100MB.... even on a system running windows xp with 512MB system memory should still have solid performance of the browser as you should still have a fairly decent amount of available memory.

p.s. right now i had my browser running for atleast a few hours or more now with a good 5-6tabs open with alot of page refreshes etc and im still ONLY at about 78MB of memory usage... i dont have history turned on if that matters and i only have a few fairly basic extensions (adblock plus, no script, tab scroller... thats basically it) installed.

like i say those who have hundreds of MB in use probably have a extention thats burning up the memory etc cause i NEVER seen those claims of firefox using 200-300+MB of memory myself.

bangbang023 said,
We get it: This guy doesn't like Firefox.

I don't understand what he gains from continuing his little campaign here. Yes, Firefox uses a lot of memory. Yes, I use Firefox because it meets my needs better than the other options available to me.

Remember the site Firefox Myths, he didn't like Ff either, neither did 'nemo' -- there were others, but it was found out that they were all 'nemo's accounts -- on the site Warp2Search.


bangbang023 said,
We get it: This guy doesn't like Firefox.

I don't understand what he gains from continuing his little campaign here. Yes, Firefox uses a lot of memory. Yes, I use Firefox because it meets my needs better than the other options available to me.

Yes the article ends with him saying "Certainly based on this test and from using Firefox 3.0 beta 1 today, I do think that things have significantly improved."

So your point is, well, pointless.

ce940 said,
Remember the site Firefox Myths, he didn't like Ff either, neither did 'nemo' -- there were others, but it was found out that they were all 'nemo's accounts -- on the site Warp2Search.
Heh, he still lists me as a "spammer" as I pointed out his manipulations, lies, etc. oh & in particular - purposeful misquotes; http://www.techspot.com/vb/topic44405.html

Julius Caro said,
to only focus on firefox's memory usage instead of ... new features, you know.. that's hating. especially when the difference is 12 mb!!!

I'm not sure what "difference" you're referring to, whether it is between IE7 and the Firefox browser versions or between the Firefox browser versions themselves, but I know that the difference between Firefox browser versions will be a deciding factor for me. After about an hour of playing Flash games only, my memory usage is upward of 100MB on Windows. In fact, it is more than that right now, just browsing Neowin and its forums. I have nothing else other than the Web Developer Toolbar, User Agent Switcher and StumbleUpon extensions installed (plugins installed: Java, WMP, QuickTime, Flash & Shockwave), and I only have two tabs open - this one and one with Neowin forums. The 2.x series of the browser has memory issues that I am beginning to dislike so much I am considering switching to Opera, which I disliked for a couple of reasons because Firefox could do something Opera couldn't (Web Developer toolbar is much more useful in Firefox than in IE or Opera, for example).

For me, this news about the Fx 3.0 Beta was very comforting knowing that memory usage is being handled much better.

Edit:
For some, 100MB is nothing. However, on a notebook with 1.2GB of memory, that much being used is annoying because once it hits approximately 150MB, the browser crashes when I try to open a new tab. That's a problem for me.

ThaCrip said,
i dont know about you guys but firefox dont use THAT much memory if you ask me... cause i can leave the thing running overnight with multiple tabs open etc and it usually never goes to much over 100MB (less then 200MB for sure).

I don't doubt your numbers but I'm sure that there're many like me who have seen FireFox use as much as 500+MB (close to 1GB for me once). To us THAT is a problem.

Firefox is also depleting my GDI object resource over time to the point that I have to reboot.

I think I should mention that I have 50-60 plugins installed and keep 30+ tabs all the time. No doublt some of plugins contributed to the memory problem.

It remains to be seen if the problem is still there once the extensions are fully compatible because I'm sure the extensions are playing a vital role in the heavy memory usage too!

As long as you understand when you disable the extension compatibility check and thus force extensions to run on a version of firefox the author hasn't sanctioned them to, you run the risk of: hanging, crashing, dataloss, memory leaks and a host of other strange behaviour.

I used it but today I went back to FF 2.0.0.9 because I missed my extensions and quite a few bugs need to be fixed first (weird behavior with back & forward buttons as well).

Has anyone discovered what "Places" are yet and how to find it? I assumed it would be in 3.0 but I only see Bookmarks, ah "Edit this bookmark" didn't work for me either when I was on a site that was already Bookmarked.

I think it has to do with the star next to the address bar. When you star a site, it gets added to your "Places". You can also tag the star, so that it's easy to look up. I presume this is to make things easier for people who like to bookmark a lot--but I haven't used bookmarks in ages. Google makes finding a specific page way too easy.