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Firefox is using beyond-excessive amounts of memory while doing almost nothing.
I have 16GB of RAM, and according to htop, Firefox is using about 6.5% of that, and libflashplayer is using about 3.5% of that. So in total firefox is using over 1.6GB of RAM, with about 15 tabs open, and all but 3 of them are using no plugins. This is just ridiculous. I've noticed that ever since Firefox 4, memory usage has been increasing exponentially, especially since about Firefox 11. This isn't just on Linux, but on Windows 7 too.
I would like to know why this is? In 2006 I had a Pentium 3 mobile at 1GHz and 192MB of RAM, on Windows XP, and with a couple dozen tabs open, my system barely touched the swap. Why does half the number of tabs take 10 times as much RAM?
To put this into perspective, I can run two complete OPERATING SYSTEMS, doing something like compiling firefox, inside of 2 VMware instances while using the same or less RAM. What gives?
This isn't just a bug that I'm experiencing, it happens accross all builds and all recent versions, across all systems; anything more than three or four tabs use stupid amounts of RAM.
All Replies (12)
Create a new profile as a test to check if your current profile is causing the problems.
See "Creating a profile":
If the new profile works then you can transfer some files from an existing profile to the new profile, but be cautious not to copy corrupted files to avoid carrying over the problem.
Thanks for the reply. This has been done every time I have installed a new Linux distro on my computers 3-4 times a month for the past few months, and three times on Windows. It never makes a difference. Loading an old one also makes no measurable difference.
Modified by Glitch
Have you disabled hardware acceleration?
"GPU Accelerated Windows 0/2 Basic Blocked for your graphics driver version. Try updating your graphics driver to version <Something recent> or newer. Vendor ID ATI Technologies Inc. WebGL Renderer Blocked for your graphics driver version. Try updating your graphics driver to version <Something recent> or newer."
I've never had any luck getting it working under Linux. BUt just to be sure I disabled it, and there is still no difference. It's not a memory leak as Firefox is still using the same amount of RAM when I close it as when I open it to all of the pages I had open.
>has 16GB ram >uses FF >still complains
Are you sure all your graphics drivers are updated, refresh the db in your package manager (like Synaptic) and mark all upgrades.
I'm using Catalyst 13.8 Beta straight from AMD because I'm using xorg-server 1.14 on arch.
Is Firefox actively using this memory or only reserving it as virtual memory?
You can check the memory usage on the about:memory page.
I'm using a 64 bit Linux build according to pacman.
Also according the user agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:24.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/24.0
1.56 MB ── canvas-2d-pixel-bytes 10.52 MB ── gfx-surface-image 64.87 MB ── gfx-surface-xlib 0.00 MB ── gfx-textures 0 ── ghost-windows 387.09 MB ── heap-allocated 445.63 MB ── heap-committed 58.57 MB ── heap-committed-unused 15.14% ── heap-committed-unused-ratio 3.57 MB ── heap-dirty 153.90 MB ── heap-unused 6.09 MB ── images-content-used-uncompressed 240.00 MB ── js-gc-heap 1.56 MB ── js-main-runtime-temporary-peak 26 ── page-faults-hard 8,499,977 ── page-faults-soft 688.90 MB ── resident 666.79 MB ── resident-unique 11.04 MB ── storage-sqlite
1,489.26 MB ── vsize
I hope that's what you were looking for.
You can hover each of those entries to see a description as you can see at the bottom of the about:memory page.
It says that resident is better suited to get an impression of the memory usage because that is the actual amount of physical memory that is in use. So 688 MB physical memory isn't that much.
Does this amount change if you start Firefox with no tabs opening?
You can also try to click the button to minimize the memory usage.
Then why is htop reporting that it's using almost 1.6GB? If I understand it right, resident memory is the amount of physical memory the process is using. However according to htop, if I were to fill all but 1GB of my RAM up with something like a RAMDisk using ramfs, and fill it up with data from /dev/random, it would start writing to SWAP even though according to the resident memory usage in Firefox it shouldn't have to touch swap.
EDIT: Spamming CC, GC, and the minimize memory button shaved about 30MB off of the resident usage, however, as I understand it, those operations are done every so often by Firefox itself as necessary.
Modified by Glitch