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My favorite browser: chromium is testing my patience. For some reason it sometimes uses 99,99% of I/O. (reading 2-3MB/s) Other processes (updatedb.mlocate, [kswapd0], clementine, compiz) show the same behavior. However this problem always starts and ends with chromium.

To illustrate the impact on my system: when my disk starts to spin like crazy en the led burns continiously the system is so slow that it takes about two to five minuits to switch to tty6, log in and execute "killall chromiumbrowser && killall chromium" This is way faster than starting a new terminal in X, just starting a terminal seems to heavy for compiz under these circumstances. Waiting until its over takes more than 30 minuits, if it ends at all.

The exact circumstances are difficult to replicate. Several tabs have to be open, usualy 8 or more. It seems that the chance to increases when more complex sites like gmail of plugins like flash are running. Opening several new tabs at has the best chance to replecate this isue.

The output of free -m when opening 12 omgubuntu tabs simultaniously

total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 2.0G 1.9G 95M 0B 264K 348M
-/+ buffers/cache: 1.5G 444M
Swap: 2.9G 146M 2.8G 

output of df -h

Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda1 149G 102G 40G 72% /
udev 994M 12K 994M 1% /dev
tmpfs 402M 1008K 401M 1% /run
none 5.0M 0 5.0M 0% /run/lock
none 1004M 1.9M 1003M 1% /run/shm
none 100M 0 100M 0% /run/user
/dev/sda5 104G 79G 26G 76% /media/d

I have no idea where to start looking for a solution. Any help would be greatly apreciated

ubuntu 12.10 | 2GB | 2x 1.66GHz Intel | 32bit | IBM Thinkpad R60e


No other processes than chromium were running. Several extensions however, were running. Together they used about 200 to 300 MB memmory. (see the list below) Disabling extensions like "offline gmail" and "google drive" should make my system more workable.

Anyone who has similar problems: last week I have used firefox in stead of chromium. It seems firefox uses quite an amount less memory. Perhaps a practical short-term solution. Coming week I will report back about how much the performance of chromium has improved when running without extensions.

memmory usage of several chromium extensions
60 MB google drive
50 MB gmail offline
36 MB mightytext
36 MB adblock plus
32 MB webworker:
14 MB lastpass
11 MB tampermonkey
11 MB fastestchrome
09 MB photozoom
09 MB chrome to phone

share|improve this question
What is your memory utilization when this happens? It sounds like a swap storm. – psusi Nov 19 '12 at 18:39
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Try to make it happen, then post output of free -m.

Also, please post details on what make and model of hard drive you're using, and output of df -h.

For reference, here is me looking at the %memory used by the biggest processes currently running on my system:

me@banshee:~$ ps wwaux | awk '{print $4 " " $11};' | sort -rn | head -n 10
8.1 rhythmbox
7.1 /opt/google/chrome/chrome
3.7 /opt/google/chrome/chrome
3.3 /opt/google/chrome/chrome
2.6 /opt/google/chrome/chrome
2.5 /opt/google/chrome/chrome
2.3 /usr/bin/X
2.3 /opt/google/chrome/chrome
1.9 /opt/google/chrome/chrome
1.9 compiz

Can you run the same command on your system, please, and let's see what your biggest processes are?

For reference, my system has 16G of RAM, and each of those chrome processes you see is therefore eating something along the lines of 300MB-600MB of RAM. So, yeah, they definitely do add up.

For further reference: those are my TOP memory-hungry Chrome processes; I actually have 72 current tabs open right now and they're eating about 0.9% of my RAM (about 90MB-ish) apiece on average - the actual range is from about 10MB on the low end to about 600MB on the high end. I haven't tried to check to see how much omgubuntu eats specifically.

A bit MORE reference: I set up a clean VM and installed chromium-browser; opening 12 tabs to resulted in 1.3G used / 718M free (646M used / 1.3G free -/+ buffers/cache). So, basically, either something OTHER than Chromium is eating most of your RAM, or you have extensions installed in Chromium that aren't very memory-efficient and are significantly bloating it per process... if I had to guess, I'd say probably the latter. What extensions are you running?

share|improve this answer
and my harddiskmodel : [WDC WD3200BEVT-00A0RT0][1] looking at the output of <code> free -m</code> it seems my system is almost out of memmory. I would say that 2 G should be enough to browse some tabs. Should chromium use so much memory [1]:‌​MPN_MRO-_-western%20digital%20wd3200bevt_Broad&gclid=CNnB5Yi23bMCFYXLtAodZHEAhg – lars Nov 20 '12 at 11:26
You're definitely out of ram; swap thrash is what's making the system unresponsive. You might want to see if perhaps there's anything OTHER than chromium eating up a lot of RAM. – Jim Salter Nov 20 '12 at 23:03
please see above edited answer again: adding info now. – Jim Salter Nov 20 '12 at 23:06
@lars, you need to put that information in your question, not buried in the comments! – Jorge Castro Nov 21 '12 at 0:09
No other processes than chromium where using big amounts of memory. However, some extensions (of chromium) were. I edited my question with some additional information. And my apologies for the code in my comments. I did not read the instructions underneath the comment box properly. Thanks for cleaning up my comments. – lars Nov 25 '12 at 12:33

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