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Benchmark Results: Memory Usage

Web Browser Grand Prix 2: Running The Linux Circuit
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On this page we'll be looking for memory usage. We record the amount of system RAM allocated to the browser being testing using the GNOME System Monitor (Ubuntu's version of Windows Task Manager). Readings are taken after five minutes of the page(s) being fully loaded.

Single Tab

The Google homepage was used as the test page in the Single Tab test.

In Ubuntu, Firefox uses the least amount of system memory with only a single tab opened. Opera comes in a distant second, using nearly fifteen more MB than Mozilla. Chrome is right behind Opera with less than one more megabyte of RAM utilized. Firefox uses only two megabytes more in Linux than in Windows, while Opera uses two megs less in Linux. Google Chrome, however, used significantly more memory in Linux than in Windows. Twenty megabytes more. Not quite double, but close.

40 Tabs

The rest of the 40-tab test pages are made of the next 39 (after Google) most popular Web sites; according to Quantcast.

With the top 40 Web pages loaded, Firefox once again uses a fraction of the memory of the other contenders. Although Firefox for Linux uses seventy megabytes more than Firefox for Windows, the Linux peak usage is still way lower than any other Web browser on any platform.

Opera takes second place with almost 850 MB, which is about 175 MB more than in Windows 7.

Chrome's memory usage with 40 tabs fully loaded is nearly off the charts. Google's RAM usage in Ubuntu 10.04 LTS is double what the search giant's browser uses in Windows 7. It's nearly a half gig beyond Safari's terrible showing in Windows! Needless to say, Chrome tanks the usage tests, but will its legendary memory management come through to save it in Linux?

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Top Comments
  • 20 Hide
    adamovera , July 21, 2010 6:55 AM
    weirdguy99Why not put firefox 4 into the equation?

    micr0beyes i would have loved to have seen the firefox 4 beta with the results. although great article.

    When it's final, I'll test it.
Other Comments
  • 5 Hide
    Tamz_msc , July 21, 2010 6:35 AM
    The article that I was waiting for.How the tables have turned!
    Conclusion:Firefox is quite capable in both Linux and Windows.
    I'm using Firefox 4 beta and I find it pretty quick.
  • 0 Hide
    micr0be , July 21, 2010 6:47 AM
    yes i would have loved to have seen the firefox 4 beta with the results. although great article.
  • 9 Hide
    opmopadop , July 21, 2010 6:49 AM
    Interesting how FireFox chose to sacrifice speed for memory.
  • 20 Hide
    adamovera , July 21, 2010 6:55 AM
    weirdguy99Why not put firefox 4 into the equation?

    micr0beyes i would have loved to have seen the firefox 4 beta with the results. although great article.

    When it's final, I'll test it.
  • 9 Hide
    Tamz_msc , July 21, 2010 8:07 AM
    DamdamanI'll get berated for this I'm sure but will we see an OSX article on browsers as well?

    You are kidding,right?
  • 0 Hide
    arnweb , July 21, 2010 8:13 AM
    Opera Turbo feature, is not mentioned here, it can boost speed in real surf. And also when we open a closed tab in Opera it opens them instantly, that's why Opera holds memory for closed, tab.
  • 0 Hide
    Sihastru , July 21, 2010 8:39 AM
    Opera still can't render pages properly, still can't print content properly, and we waste our time with senseless tests of imperceptible speed.
  • 8 Hide
    The_King , July 21, 2010 8:56 AM
    I dont think anyone using firefox will change to another browser even if it is Faster. I love my firefox :) 
  • 3 Hide
    Tamz_msc , July 21, 2010 8:59 AM
    Wow, Chrome uses more memory than Crysis on my computer. :lol: 
  • 2 Hide
    Tamz_msc , July 21, 2010 9:02 AM
    arnwebOpera Turbo feature, is not mentioned here, it can boost speed in real surf. And also when we open a closed tab in Opera it opens them instantly, that's why Opera holds memory for closed, tab.

    Opera Turbo increases page load times on slow connections.On my 2Mbps connection the time in which Opera Turbo connects to its servers is the time in which Google loads in Firefox.
  • -4 Hide
    lradunovic77 , July 21, 2010 10:31 AM
    I still don't see a point of this test especially as hardware gets better and better. Computer which runs on SSD or Raid SSD with 20Mb/s Internet Connection don't matter what browser you're on cause you can't see a damn difference.
  • -7 Hide
    LaloFG , July 21, 2010 10:54 AM
    Then all browsers lie except Opera hehehe, don't blame me, or whatever, that don't change the result: The fast browser in the knowing universe.
  • 6 Hide
    haplo602 , July 21, 2010 11:01 AM
    I guess the tab recycle bin is responsible for high opera mem usage even after the tabs are closed. however I have not yet found a way to disable it so it gets to normal memory management. however I love the feature, to the mem issue is not that big a deal for me...

    also this is a nitpick, but please do name the article the ubuntu circuit. I do not think the results will be 100% identical on other linux distros.

  • 0 Hide
    whiz , July 21, 2010 12:27 PM
    Gratuliere is probably what you meant...
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , July 21, 2010 1:45 PM
    No. "Gratulerer" is norwegian, so is Opera ;-)
  • -9 Hide
    ta152h , July 21, 2010 3:36 PM
    Does Linux even matter? Outside of hippies, does anyone use it?
  • 1 Hide
    tntom , July 21, 2010 3:37 PM
    Looks like if you have a system with less ram FF is your choice browser. But overall it is stomped by Chrome.

    I too am using FF4 beta. It is noticeably faster with page load times than FF3. But I agree about only testing final releases.

    Thanks Adam Overa for including Linux in the Grand Prix.
  • 0 Hide
    WarraWarra , July 21, 2010 3:39 PM
    haplo602 +1
    Correct depends on GCC version installed + lots of other factors and source compile or bin and who / what did the bin on what config.

    With Mozilla now using gcc 4.5.* the 3.6.6 firefox is slower than ie6 in xp.
    Upgraded to 3.5.11 and 3.0.18 on 2 xp boxes I have from 3.6.6 , about to do the same in my linux boxes.

    The gcc 4.5.* optimization issues is bitting hard on Mozilla.

    Firefox 4 beta has same gcc 4.5.* issues = slow.

    Someone at Mozilla will have to source build a complete gcc 4.5.* distro and build it about 3 times over on same code to make sure all is included / properly optimized + pray it is working correctly.

    Arch linux had GCC 4.5.* integrated already so should be a good place for mozilla to start from.

    Can not stand Opera appearance and layout too much vista / win7 feel. Used to love opera way back just after we lost netscape.

    Nice to see Opera coming back in win + lin.
  • -7 Hide
    WarraWarra , July 21, 2010 3:47 PM
    ta152hDoes Linux even matter? Outside of hippies, does anyone use it?


    LOL good question.
    With Win vista annoying so many a lot of people jumped to linux dual boot or just linux. Win7 has caused another major wave of new linux users + recession made allot of people think about $500 for Microsoft office that messes up their old word documents ect and free openoffice / koffice etc. in linux.

    So free properly working office pc operating system + office apps so might as well go linux instead of $1300 to win7 replace 90% of your software and pray it works + then still loose half your data with win7 issues / bugs.

    And you can do this from a live cd or dvd no need to install makes it very attractive. Can also read / write to ntfs hfs+ and other partitions even with vista / win7 locks enabled, makes getting to your data and formating your win7 much easier when vista /win7 constantly fails to works / boot.

    Linux is good not great not excellent but for office use 100 times better than Vista /win7.
    Gaming in linux is still bad or about the same as Vista / win7 so have to dual boot and play game in XP.
  • 0 Hide
    adamovera , July 21, 2010 3:51 PM
    @lucideer
    I hear ya, I hear all of ya, promise. This article HAD to match WBGP2 in order to do the comparison - any cool, do-able changes suggested in the comments of WBGP2 and WBGP2:Linux will occur for WBGP3, if humanly possible. They're not useless, I'm sure 4GB is about the average amount for TH readers. Also, we did remove the memory testing and standards testing results from the final speed-only result, we left them in for the overall results. So there are two finals, if you don't like the memory testing, ignore the overall winner and go with the speed king.
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