Friday, June 27, 2008

Firefox 3 Memory Consumption

After using Firefox 3 for a week, I'm generally quite happy with it. Rendering speed is fast and I like the new skin, especially for the Mac. :)

However, I faced one problem with one of the banks login. It kept complaining that the java applet is not loading, but I had no problems with another bank. I will be writing in to them to complain. I wonder if its how the java applets work in the new Firefox 3. It seems to me the java applet loads faster now.

Anyway, I found that there was one area in contention in the www. That's the memory consumption of firefox 3. Some said the memory consumption is horrible, and some says that its superb.

After using it in both Windows XP Pro and Leopard, I finally understand what was done to Firefox.

In summary, if you open many many tabs in Firefox, memory consumption is superb.

Yes... For those who look at the initial statistics, Firefox 3 does seem to use more memory. Initial startup. Loading of first page. Memory can go up to 40MB for the first page load up.

However, the memory efficiency kick in when you start open multiple tabs. I'm using my Windows XP machine as the example. I can have as many as 20 tabs open during my normal surfing. Previously, Firefox will just eat up lots of memory. This time however, I noticed something different. There's a ceiling. I have opened about 10 tabs of forum surfing, and another 5 tabs of PDF (plugin load). The total memory used up was not even 70MB. What I noticed was that the 5 tabs of PDF did not even cause a blip in the memory consumption. That is something quite new. When I started closing some tabs, the memory started decreasing, and it started to stabalise at about 55+ MB of RAM. Thereafter, the memory consumption stayed around that region, no matter how many times I reload websites, or open a few tabs. If I start to open more than 10 tabs again, it will hit a ceiling again.

This is a remarkable improvement from the old Firefox. The previous version, if you keep opening and closing tabs, your firefox can use as much as 100MB of ram. Now, it doesn't. The memory seems to free itself at some point of time. Now I do not need to close my Firefox at all. I can just leave it open as long as I like. :)

In Mac, the memory consumption is even better. I seldom hit more than 60MB of ram, and I do open alot of tabs.

Kudous to the Firefox team... Well done. Now if only I can resolve that weird java applets problem. It's not the java version problem. Hmm...

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