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Firefox versus Opera Memory

Firefox and Opera Memory Consumption

Windows Task Manager Screenshot showing the memory consumption of Opera and Firefox (highlighted in yellow).

I got into a recent email arugument with a friend of mine between the memory resources between Firefox and Opera. Well, here is my Winodw Task Manager showing both running processes and the memory that they are occupying. Read it and weep. We are talking about Opera only consuming 25% of the resources that Firefox consumes and not even double what Windows Explorer (the underlying engine for IE) uses. I love Firefox, but it needs some serious trimming. I love Opera, but it needs extensions. Love and hate, give and take.

{ 4 } Comments

  1. dbw | July 22, 2007 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Opera is lighter and has documented faster page-load times than FF. But, (in Linux) when I close Opera, it does not release all the RAM it had reserved.

  2. D | April 27, 2008 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    1 If you have Addons installed, it would weigh down Firefox more.
    Obviously, since you said Opera needs extensions, you have extensions installed on Firefox atm.
    2 Why is Opera opened under Administrator, and Firefox is not?
    3 Did you clear all the data from both before you tested?

    Btw, FF 3b5 fixed most of the memory leak; Firefox 3 will be released sooner than you think, and you should like it better than Opera, even if Opera got addons.

  3. Schitzn | December 13, 2008 at 12:15 am | Permalink

    Firstly, explorer.exe has nothing to do with iexplore.exe. Secondly your article does not specify under what load your browsers are given and if their equivilant (black page on both, 6 different tabs on both). The memory usage reported in Task Manager isn't the true memory usage of a process. It only shows it Private Bytes and does not include shared and paged memory allocations, this is important because these figures bring both Opera and Firefox on par. More significantly, these hidden memory allocations affect PC's with say 256Mb Ram than one with 1gb due to allocation by the Windows Memory Manager.

  4. NettiCat | May 18, 2009 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    You are making a big mistake on how to measure the used memory of your processes.
    You read the MemUsage column but your are missing the virtual memory of each process, so it's only half the truth, in fact even less.

    On each OS, if a process memory (measured as MemUsage) reaches a defined size, a part of the memory is mapped into the virtual address space (VirtualMem). So the actual memory used will NOT increase, 'only' the virtual memory space increases constantly. Note that the virtual memory is allocated by the process and cannot be used by other processes, nor by the system! Virtual memory still is part of the appropriate process.

    So if you want know the real amount of used memory, then you have to add the values of MemUsage and VirtualMem for each process. To see the virtual memory you also need to display that column in your taskmanager as it is not shown per default. You will see a big surprise. (means for Firefox up to 130,000K + 500,000K = 630,000K or even more, measured after a couple of hours browsing)

    If the memory of Firefox and Opera would be as low as currently shown in your taskmanager image, then there would be no memory discussion at all. The problem is, that only few people know how to correctly measure memory consumption of processes.

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