Memory Usage: Firefox vs. Opera

Discussion in 'Computer Science & Culture' started by Jeff 152, May 19, 2008.

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  1. Jeff 152 Registered Senior Member

    This thread was prompted by the release of RC1 of FF3. They claim to have improved memory issues, and it does seem like they have improved it a little, there is still a big issue I don't understand. The new FF does fare much better against Opera now (it was absolutely no comparison with FF2) but the big thing that I expected to see in firefox that I see in Opera is that memory usage changes when Opera is minimized versus when it is open but firefox does not.

    Heres what happened

    I open firefox and opera and open a bunch of tabs on both and they both end up about 100,000k. Then I minimize both of them. Firefox no change. Opera drops to below 20,000k. Then, even more strange, I restore both of them. Firefox no change. But now Opera is running around 40,000K. So it seems minimizing and restoring opera somehow reformats it or something to make it run with less memory.

    There is a similar deal with closing tabs, Firefox's memory usage does not change much when you close tabs, not nearly as much as opera's does, which of course as you open and close many tabs still leads to teh inevitabel memory buildup which is why right now I have both firefox and opera open, and firefox, with just sciforums opened, is using more memory than Opera with about 20 tabs open.

    And, this is comparing the brand new Firefox 3 with old Opera 9.27. I am sure the results will be even more polarized once opera 9.5 comes out.

    Thoughts? Anyone else experience this or want to confirm my findings? Maybe my computer is just weird.
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  3. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    How exactly do you measure the memoryusage? With the W Task manager?

    Opera 1 tab open it was 125K then I minimized it, it dropped to 65K and stayed there even after I reopened it...

    After minimizing it, it did drop to 13K but didn't stay there for long, I assume if you wait 5-6 secs yours will come up higher too...
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  5. grazzhoppa yawwn Valued Senior Member

    The phenomenon of lower memory used after a program has been minimized and restored is the default behavior for any program running in Windows. Firefox explicitly tells Windows not to do this while Opera uses the default behavior.

    In Windows, if you have a lot of memory on your computer, FireFox will not release it's memory to the harddisk when it's minimized. This is done because it makes invoking firefox much faster after it's been minimized or been sitting idle for a long time. FireFox assumes when you have a lot of RAM, it's OK to eat it up.

    Opera has most of it's memory written to the harddisk after a long time being minimized regardless of the amount of memory you have on your computer. This is the default behavior of any program running in Windows.

    Opera releasing more memory when closing tabs IS the result of better design rather than fooling around with Windows' memory management.
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