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Windows Task Manager reports that our operating system (Windows Ultimate 64-bit) uses approximately 18% of physical memory at boot (about 700MB). Both Chrome and Internet Explorer have two entries in the Windows Task Manager when only one window and one tab are open. Both browsers add additional entries when new tabs or windows are opened. All of the Web pages we used were saved to the hard drive on January 23rd, 2010.
The Google homepage was used as the test page in the Single Tab test.
Apple's Safari uses the least memory with only one tab and window open. Google Chrome is also light on memory with a single tab, despite reports to the contrary. Opera uses the most memory, nearly twice as much as third place finisher Internet Explorer.
Bing, Google, Hulu, Twitter, and Wikipedia make up the 5 Tab test pages.
Firefox uses the least amount of memory in this test. Opera places last with Chrome not far behind, both almost doubling the memory usage of Firefox.
For the ten-tab test, we visit craigslist, Facebook, Tom's Hardware, Yahoo!, and YouTube from our Page Load Times benchmark, and add them to our five-tab test consisting of Bing, Google, Hulu, Twitter, and Wikipedia.
Firefox again uses the least amount of memory. Chrome and Opera give us another pair of upsets, again finishing fourth and fifth (respectively). This time Opera utilizes more than twice as much memory as our winner: Mozilla Firefox.
The big surprise here is Opera's and Chrome's poor showing in the multi-tab tests. Overall, Firefox delivers the best memory usage results. It comes in first place for the five- and ten-tab usage tests, but fourth in the single-tab metric.