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I'm running 13.04 on a Thinkpad T61p with 2gb RAM.

In 13.04, and to a lesser extent in 12.04, I've started running out of my 2G of RAM with little more than a browser open.

Clearly chromium is an insane memory hog, taking 700MB for 1 gmail tab + 1 AskUbuntu tab. I have tried different browsers (firefox, opera, midori) and they all look the same, taking several hundred MB with only 2 tabs open. It makes me think there's something wrong with my system, because surely they aren't all that poorly built.

I'm also curious about all the gnome processes.

37m gnome-screensaver
39m nm-applet
79m gnome-panel
61m gnome-settings-demon

Surely the gnome utils shouldn't be taking 200mb of memory. I'm running GNOME with xmonad as the window manager.

So how can I reduce the memory consumption of Ubuntu 13.04 overall? This wasn't a problem for me a year ago. Have common utilities and applications just bloated in RAM consumption in the last year? I can buy RAM I suppose, but I really shouldn't need more than 2GB when the most intensive activity is an occasional youtube or flash video.

Here's the output from top:

top - 21:26:46 up 6 days, 23:38,  1 user,  load average: 2.07, 1.81, 1.75
Tasks: 208 total,   1 running, 204 sleeping,   0 stopped,   3 zombie
%Cpu(s): 30.1 us,  6.6 sy,  0.0 ni, 60.7 id,  1.5 wa,  0.0 hi,  1.1 si,  0.0 st
KiB Mem:   2017020 total,  1677448 used,   339572 free,    19320 buffers
KiB Swap:  1951740 total,   350824 used,  1600916 free,   319840 cached

  PID USER      PR  NI  VIRT  RES  SHR S  %CPU %MEM    TIME+  COMMAND
 4040 user   20   0 1422m 171m  13m S  34.8  8.7  19:18.97 /opt/google/chrome/chrome --type=ppapi --channel=27439.222.1491200131 --ppapi-flash-args --lang=en-US
27439 user   20   0 1200m 155m  27m S   5.8  7.9  23:40.88 /opt/google/chrome/chrome
 4557 user   20   0 1051m 118m  36m S  17.4  6.0   3:04.41 /opt/google/chrome/chrome --type=renderer --lang=en-US --force-fieldtrials=AutocompleteDynamicTrial_2/DefaultControl_R2_Stable/CookieRetentionPriorit
 4178 user   20   0 1047m 114m  20m S   0.0  5.8   0:15.02 /opt/google/chrome/chrome --type=renderer --lang=en-US --force-fieldtrials=AutocompleteDynamicTrial_2/DefaultControl_R2_Stable/CookieRetentionPriorit
 1440 root      20   0  324m 113m  37m S   5.8  5.8 311:38.50 /usr/bin/X :0 -core -auth /var/run/lightdm/root/:0 -nolisten tcp vt7 -novtswitch -background none
27709 user   20   0  483m  86m  39m S  34.8  4.4  45:14.61 /opt/google/chrome/chrome --type=gpu-process --channel=27439.14.194140808 --supports-dual-gpus=false --gpu-driver-bug-workarounds=0,13,22,26 --disabl
 4818 user   20   0 1015m  85m  32m S   0.0  4.3   0:10.32 /opt/google/chrome/chrome --type=renderer --lang=en-US --force-fieldtrials=AutocompleteDynamicTrial_2/DefaultControl_R2_Stable/CookieRetentionPriorit
 1945 user   20   0  967m  79m 8084 S   0.0  4.0   0:10.40 gnome-panel
 2488 user   20   0 1301m  61m  20m S   0.0  3.1   1:28.02 /usr/lib/gnome-settings-daemon/gnome-settings-daemon
 2588 user   20   0 1443m  39m 4604 S   0.0  2.0   1:26.31 nm-applet
 2692 user   20   0  559m  37m  12m S   0.0  1.9   0:12.79 gnome-screensaver
27509 user   20   0  952m  36m 6076 S   0.0  1.9   0:02.37 /opt/google/chrome/chrome --type=renderer --lang=en-US --force-fieldtrials=AutocompleteDynamicTrial_2/DefaultControl_R2_Stable/CookieRetentionPriorit
27521 user   20   0  957m  35m 5216 S   0.0  1.8   0:06.32 /opt/google/chrome/chrome --type=renderer --lang=en-US --force-fieldtrials=AutocompleteDynamicTrial_2/DefaultControl_R2_Stable/CookieRetentionPriorit
 2629 user   20   0 1024m  35m 6248 S   0.0  1.8   6:33.90 /usr/bin/cli /usr/lib/gnome-do/Do.exe
 2669 user   20   0 1797m  33m 5020 S   0.0  1.7   3:16.08 /var/lib/dropbox/.dropbox-dist/dropbox
 2685 user   20   0  351m  29m 1480 S   0.0  1.5   0:26.61 /usr/lib/telepathy/mission-control-5
27515 user   20   0  939m  25m 4712 S   0.0  1.3   0:01.96 /opt/google/chrome/chrome --type=renderer --lang=en-US --force-fieldtrials=AutocompleteDynamicTrial_2/DefaultControl_R2_Stable/CookieRetentionPriorit
27499 user   20   0  938m  24m 4860 S   0.0  1.3   0:02.79 /opt/google/chrome/chrome --type=renderer --lang=en-US --force-fieldtrials=AutocompleteDynamicTrial_2/DefaultControl_R2_Stable/CookieRetentionPriorit
27526 user   20   0  935m  21m 2960 S   0.0  1.1   0:00.45 /opt/google/chrome/chrome --type=renderer --lang=en-US --force-fieldtrials=AutocompleteDynamicTrial_2/DefaultControl_R2_Stable/CookieRetentionPriorit
 1148 www-data  20   0 45980  17m  456 S   0.0  0.9   0:14.74 /usr/local/sbin/elogd -D -c /opt/elog/elogd.cfg
27713 user   20   0  354m  15m  156 S   0.0  0.8   0:00.00 /opt/google/chrome/chrome --type=gpu-process --channel=27439.14.194140808 --supports-dual-gpus=false --gpu-driver-bug-workarounds=0,13,22,26 --disabl
27446 user   20   0  353m  14m 1152 S   0.0  0.7   0:00.69 /opt/google/chrome/chrome --type=zygote
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