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I installed firefox 11 on my older machine and it consumes about 30 to 40 megabytes of RAM. Version 23 which was installed by default took at least 150MB.


Comparing them by functionality there does not seem to be a big difference.

By the way, Even version 17 needs about that much, so the problem does not lie at the particular 23rd version.

But why is there so much more memory needed for the newer versions?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Seth, Florian Diesch, dobey, guntbert, Eric Carvalho Dec 19 '13 at 1:31

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

30 - 40 MB doesn't seem unreasonable.. Especially if you have 2 or more tabs open. – Seth Dec 18 '13 at 16:19
Yes, 150MB does seem a bit unreasonable. I'm running one of the Nightly builds of Firefox 28.0a1 (2013-12-09) and it is running about 170.6 MB with a couple of extensions and two tabs (one question, one chat). I'm thinking that as they add features the memory usage goes up, but this is less and less unreasonable as RAM is becoming much cheaper and systems are having more of it. – RPi Awesomeness Dec 18 '13 at 16:47
Re. "then the hard drive was making much noise, which suggested to me that swapping was needed", did you check with top to see if swap was being used? – user25656 Dec 18 '13 at 17:40
No (I should have avoided being so elaborate, because that distracts from the actual question, which is about the differences in memory-use and being uselessly slow in newer versions) – foooobar Dec 18 '13 at 18:01

I second what others said in the comments, that 150 MB memory usage is typical for a graphical multitab browser. But if you are curious I advise you to browse to the about:memory page in Firefox, all the answers will be there. :)

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Firefox caches web content in memory (see the browser.cache.memory.* settings). The default size of that cache likely changed in more recent versions as average main memory sizes increase. – David Foerster Dec 19 '13 at 0:23
@DavidFoerster There was a setting to set the maximum memory cache size a while ago (2001-2002 ca.), with a default value of 4 MiB. Then they switched to an automatic calculation based on available ram link . But still the memory cache size is very minimal in firefox's memory usage. You can check it on about:cache. (Mine has a maximum 20MiB for that cache and currently my broswer is eating over 250 MiBs in total.) – falconer Dec 19 '13 at 0:35

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