Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Web Browser memory comparison

That title may sound more detailed than it is. I just want to compare memory allocation from 3 popular web browsers I have installed on my machine: Internet explorer 6 (a little out of date), Mozilla Firefox 3.02 and Google chrome 0.2.
All of them ran under the same machine (Windows XP professional). In order to be fair, same web pages were loaded, chosen randomly: (A local news paper) (facebook? what's that?)

I have to say before comparing those applications that Internet Explorer was the slowest browser followed by Firefox. The fastest one, chrome, but I have to say that I just installed it so there are no historic information, cookies, plugins, etc.
Facebook did not run flawlessly in chrome, if you can verify, try to send a feedback. The "Send Feedback" link does not work in Chrome.
Aestheticaly (although I think is somewhat subjective) Chrome has a best GUI, it's clean and simple. Unfortunatelly, Firefox is the ugliest one (I think this is because its relationship with Linux. I love linux, but it's ugly).

Now let's see what Task Manager has to say:

The two screens above show the number of processes and memory used by the applications:

Chrome: 21,620k
Chrome: 28,588k
Chrome: 16,136k
Chrome: 21,140k
explorer: 31,044k
explorer: 32,664k
firefox: 56,952k

4 processes for Chrome? hm there's something to explain here .... Indeed, Google created a booklet to explain us, the mortals, why this memory eater software does what it does: [chrome]. Do you think they need to explain us that? Maybe I am wrong so I encourage you to post your opinions. Chrome will open a 20mb process for each page you want to visit. Anyway my system didn't seem to complain about that.

I didn't want to add Internet Explorer because this version is not Tab Based but I will keep it just as a comparison.

Firefox looks just better when checking the memory allocated for that process. It's smaller than Internet Explorer and there's a lot difference with Chrome (is it ok if I sum 21mb+28mb+26mb+21? It looks like a lot of memory).

Now, I will close each application:

This is the performance before closing.

After closing Chrome
After closing i.e.
After closing Firefox
Chrome PF Usage: 1.17 - 1.10 = 0.06GB
i.e. PF Usage: 1.10 - 1.06 = 0.04GB
Firefox PF Usage 1.06 - 1.01 = 0.05GB
You can also check the Total Commit Charge (That is, the virual memory used by the processes)

From these numbers I can say that Chrome uses more memory than the other two applications and, therefore it may slow your computer if you don't have enough phyisical memory. Maybe this can be a trade off between program stability and memory consumption. As you will know after reading the booklet, separate processes won't crash the whole browsing experience. Only the tab implicated may fail.

Finally I have to add that both Firefox and Internet Explorer crashes in my system about one time a week (not that bad).

p.s. Visiting Chrome home page I found that the latest version available is BETA although About box in my machine doesn't even mention that:, Official Build 1583.

Comments and corrections are welcome.


samureye said...

Did you know you could just open the different browsers and then open a tab in chrome and type "about:memory" to easily compare memory usage? Try it out.

Btw, your blog has been a great help for me when I was trying to play Bioshock last year, as well as introducing me to Flobots whom I LOVE!

BTW, are you running XP on the 1520? Considering switching over...

Fabian Mejia said...

Thanks for your comment!
I tried the "about:memory" command you mention in Chrome and statistics seem to favor Chrome in total memory:
Chrome: 67,894k
IE: 38,684k
Firefox: 94,144k

It looks like ie still behaves better, but Firefox eats a lot of memory. Further testing shown that each tab in Chrome adds about 16mb and Firefox about 8mb. So it looks like if you use fewer tabs, Chrome is better. Otherwise keep Firefox.

ps. my 1520 is Vista business, these tests were performed in a Latitude D630 running XP.

samureye said...

I think Chrome works just fine, except for vista and flash. I have to use the RC of Flash 10 and only Opera and FF use it, so now Chrome and Safari both won't be able to let me watch anything on youtube or revision3.

I was hoping you were one to throw XP on the 1520 since it's a bit of a hassle apparently when you get the laptop with Vista. I like Vista, I really do, but I do so many things that the 2GB RAM isn't enough and I am envious of my old Dell with 512MB RAM able to do things nicely, which I suspect is because of XP.

I read the blog, so feel free to write more.

Fabian Mejia said...

I've been tempted by many friends to switch from Vista to XP. But I remember that this happen all the time when Micros**t releases a new OS.

People always complain about the requirements of new Microsoft OS. Try to run Ubuntu in an old machine, or the latest OSX in an old Mac. I even doubt if they are compatible.

It could be a good exercise.

samureye said...

Well I figured out how to make things run smoother. I got rid of AVG and now run avast! and did a lot of scanning with that, Spybot and SuperAntiSpyware.

The next thing was to disable stuff from starting up on boot. Namely Rocketdock and Vista Sidebar gadget.

The next thing I did was run the registry patch on Black Viper's site. Basically it disables a bunch of services for you that could be done manually. That's about it, but I have a problem figuring out RAM.

While using the computer RAM is about 1.2GB in use in the performance tab of Task Manager. I am not sure if this is normal or what. I got some hands on time with an XPS desktop machine and Vista hummed, so I think maybe Vista really is better on a desktop.

I understand what you mean by people afraid to switch OSs but I am not like that, I only felt like it because things were getting slow, and I am talking after using Vista for a year now. I have no real problems with it, but based on my daily usage I think XP is better in terms of less resources it uses, I think.

Fabian Mejia said...

Thanks for your comments. I usually don't change Vista features that often. When I installed it I only removed the Sidebar.

Reading your comment I decided to play with Vista features. First removing Symantec antivirus and installing Avast. You can really notice the difference! SAV (NAV) sucks.

I also entered to the msconfig application and removed several services, like the indexing service, and rescheduled Hard Drive Fragmentation and some other stuff. I even tried reducing the look of Vista to basics so it look like XP and let me tell you that it's a lot faster! I definitely prefer speed vs a nice looking desktop.

I think It would be a good Idea to update our Blogs with a guide to have Vista running faster.

samureye said...

If you want to talk you can email me, samureye at gmail dot com

Oh, and I got rid of Vista totally and put XP. Everything works 100% fine and I am much happier! Consider switching back if Vista is too klunky as it eventually go for me. I followed this guide.