Windows memory management and firefox, what???

sram

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This is more of a rebuke than a question but I have to get it out of my chest. So I have this modern laptop ( Dell XPS 13, 2019 model) with 16 GB of RAM, which is plenty for today's standards, and you would think you will only run out of memory if and only if you run all the programs of the world. But, No....

You go fire your Vmware workstation and run two virtual machines on it (Sometimes I run three or more, but it is two machines most of the time for my use cases), and start working while having some firefox windows open. I tend to open new windows that open new tabs in firefox, but nothing extreme. You keep working and you notice your laptop becoming little sluggish, you go into task manager and see your RAM usage spiking up ! In here, one would think it is the virtual machines eating up the RAM because they each take a chunk of your physical RAM to work. But nope, that's not the case at all. What's eating up the RAM is none other than our lovely browser firefox. That's at least according to task manager! In fact, Vmware usage of RAM is much less than firefox. You go close most of firefox windows and keep only two and firefox memory usage will drop from like 80% to 78% ! What's up really here with windows memory management??? Yes, I know that firefox is a memory hog, but to this extent? How can a browser showing me some text written in HTML take more memory than a virtualization software running instances of more that one OS each set to take 2GB of the RAM???

I guess I will go run firefox from within one of virtual machines and see what happens?

I'm not an expert, but seriously what is going on?
 

Mazzspeed

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Actually, Chrome is the memory hog, Firefox is quite lean on memory.

You do realize that having a million tabs open uses copious amounts of memory?
 

Brian_B

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Because your browser isn't just showing some text in a window. Almost every web page has an obscene amount of javascript, graphics, external calls, and animation running.

For each tab.
 

AltTabbins

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Because your browser isn't just showing some text in a window. Almost every web page has an obscene amount of javascript, graphics, external calls, and animation running.

For each tab.

I've noticed a significant improvement in web browsing performance since installing a Pi Hole on my network.
 

sram

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Because your browser isn't just showing some text in a window. Almost every web page has an obscene amount of javascript, graphics, external calls, and animation running.

For each tab.

It just doesn't click in my brain because I remember in the late nineties when I used to browse the internet like crazy with only 128 MB of RAM. At the time 128 MB was really something. I think it was 1998 if I'm not mistaken. And it isn't like all my windows are graphics, it is mostly google queries. Assuming 8 GB is the average nowadays, I'm double that and my memory usage will still quickly spike if I open few firefox windows. I wish I can give this laptop 64 GB like my main machine...
 
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sram

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Actually, Chrome is the memory hog, Firefox is quite lean on memory.

You do realize that having a million tabs open uses copious amounts of memory?

Yeah I hear that chrome has memory segmentation between tabs. Each tab is actually another instance of the program and memory isn't shared, which is good security wise but bad for memory usage. I don't use chrome anyways. Any browser based on firefox that is decent and light weight? I remember using light moon or tale moon or something before. It was good but I left it when it started doing something wrong.
 

Brian_B

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Modern browsers are closer to a hypervisor with sandboxed runtime environments than they are Mosiac/Netscape.
 
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Mazzspeed

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It just doesn't click in my brain because I remember in the late nineties when I used to browse the internet like crazy with only 128 MB of RAM. At the time 128 MB was really something. I think it was 1998 if I'm not mistaken. And it isn't like all my windows are graphics, it is mostly google queries. Assuming 8 GB is the average nowadays, I'm double that and my memory usage will still quickly spike if I open few firefox windows. I wish I can give this laptop 64 GB like my main machine...

Dude...The average web page is significantly more complicated than it was back in the late 90s.

Yeah I hear that chrome has memory segmentation between tabs. Each tab is actually another instance of the program and memory isn't shared, which is good security wise but bad for memory usage. I don't use chrome anyways. Any browser based on firefox that is decent and light weight? I remember using light moon or tale moon or something before. It was good but I left it when it started doing something wrong.

Firefox does the same now as far as I'm aware.
 

SvenBent

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It just doesn't click in my brain because I remember in the late nineties when I used to browse the internet like crazy with only 128 MB of RAM. At the time 128 MB was really something. I think it was 1998 if I'm not mistaken. And it isn't like all my windows are graphics, it is mostly google queries. Assuming 8 GB is the average nowadays, I'm double that and my memory usage will still quickly spike if I open few firefox windows. I wish I can give this laptop 64 GB like my main machine...

In the late 90's websites were different.


try adding noscript to your browser
 

gamerk2

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Tangentially related, but gets the point across:

dna.png


https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/dna.png

But yes, the fact each tab in a browser is basically a separate process is what kills RAM usage.
 

Nenu

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