Two Firefox windows vs two browsers? Ram Consumption

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Problem :

I don’t know enough about Ram & sharing to know what the difference is here.

Normally, I run Chrome in one desktop for personal use, and Firefox on a second desktop for business. I like the separation of saved passwords and whatnot.

However, I recently learned that I can open two different profiles in Firefox at the same time, so I was wondering if that would be cheaper to my system resources, or not? Out the door, I don’t think it would save more than 40-60mb of ram… but I’m wondering, 3 hours later, if ram handling will be better using just one browser for all my heavy lifting.

I only have 2gb of ram and I run iTunes and Photoshop as well, almost all day. So I like to save ram where I can.

Any thoughts?

UPDATE: I’ve been centering around chrome more recently and using firefox for testing. Dev isn’t bad on Chrome and it’s great at releasing memory when I close tabs. In retrospect, I think the best answer to this question is simply for me to buy another 2gb of ram.

Solution :

Well, you can look at this in two ways:

  1. On one hand, the extra profile is another firefox process IIRC. It’ll have its own data constructs and whatnot that’s also in the other process, wasting memory.

  2. On the other hand, like letting more people use the same bathroom, that memory will get corrupted and uglier faster if you have more tabs, wasting memory. It also lets you close them separately, and will be much easier to manage.

What I would do? Install Flashblock and BarTab (which are IMO the most practical way to save memory), try to trim your tabs, and maybe relaunch Firefox when you get the chance. You may also want to try to cut down on iTunes too, being an extreme memory hog. Try out Foobar2000. And concerning Photoshop, leaving the thing open all day tends to save quite a bit of time and memory because opening and closing it a billion times is a huge drag to load.

Note: I assumed you’re using Windows 7 in this answer, though it does still apply to most other OSs (ie, WinXP and MacOSX).

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