How can I monitor Firefox resource use (CPU, memory) on a per-tab basis?
August 6, 2011 8:21 PM   Subscribe

Can I monitor Firefox resource use (CPU, memory) on a per-tab basis?

I keep dozens of tabs open and occasionally my system drags and it's often one or two tabs that are the culprit, due to heavy scripting on the page, but I'm never really sure which tabs are the pigs. It would be great to have something like top (unix) or task manager (Windows) but for monitoring Firefox tabs. Does anything like it exist?
posted by stbalbach to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by mhoye at 8:29 PM on August 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

I find that NoScript is a good way of clamping down on scripts, once you've discovered the culprits.
posted by titanium_geek at 8:40 PM on August 6, 2011

mhoye answered your question, but let me give a little related advice: I'm presently using the current Aurora build (what will become FF7, I believe) and I can have a gobsmacking number of tabs open with no problems. With FF4/5, it would handle 30 or 40 tabs fine for a day or so, but after that point it would get squirrelly with that many tabs open.

I've had 25-35 tabs open for the past week on the new hotness and it's still only using a relatively reasonable amount of memory, although still more than it probably ought to. (About 800MB right now..FF5 would be at 1.3GB or more by this point) Same sites, same flash, same everything, just much better memory use in Javascript. I now close tabs because they're clutter, not because my computer is defecating on itself. (Even Chrome couldn't cope with the usual tab load on my laptop, although it was a little better)

tl;dr: New Firefoxes will mostly, but not completely solve this problem soon.
posted by wierdo at 10:59 PM on August 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

mhoye answered your question

about:memory doesn't show on a per-tab basis.
posted by stbalbach at 11:52 PM on August 6, 2011

Maybe my question is not clear. I need to know which individual tabs are resource hogs. about:memory just shows summary for all of Firefox.

For example it would be great to see something like this:

Tab 1, Window A: 12MB, 0% CPU
Tab 2, Window A: 15MB, 1% CPU
Tab 5, Window B: 8MB, 1% CPU
posted by stbalbach at 12:00 AM on August 7, 2011

btw thanks for the "FF7" recommendation I'll check, currently using FF5.
posted by stbalbach at 12:05 AM on August 7, 2011

Sorry, I forgot it doesn't show per-tab in FF5 like it does in Aurora. It's not as pretty as the listing in Chrome, though.
posted by wierdo at 2:40 AM on August 7, 2011

I don't have an answer to this, but I can save you from chasing a couple of wild geese: the Memory Profiler add-on for Firefox isn't compatible with Firefox 5.0, and neither is the Memorybug plugin for Firebug. The Firebug developers seem to have toyed with a built-in Memory Profile option (it was in Firebug 1.8a2), but it looks as if the idea's been dropped for now - or at least, I haven't found it in the current production version (1.80).

It's possible that the Memory Fox or BarTab add-on would help keep your memory usage under control. I haven't tried either of them myself, though.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 5:06 AM on August 7, 2011

FF5 really does a terrible job of managing resources. A tab set running in FF3.6 would routinely consume about 300mb. In FF5 the same set would balloon up to over 1.1GB of memory being used. This is NOT progress.

I've long wished for a per-tab or other debugging console for FF. As yet nothing I've seen does a decent job.
posted by wkearney99 at 8:01 AM on August 7, 2011

I've installed Memory Fox in FF5. It takes a day of heavy use before things max out (I have 6 gigs of memory) so will see how it works and will update.
posted by stbalbach at 9:17 AM on August 7, 2011

Only tangentially related. I had a cache problem with my FF5 install which slowed things down considerably from the first install.

about:cache actually would not respond within several hours.

Clearing the cache helped, but took several tries and a manual delete of the cache.trash directory in my profile to get it empty.

From what I read, FF5 has increased the default cache size to 1GB. I don't think the DB or the interface to the OS (windows 7 in my case) is speedy enough to mange the large number of small files such a large cache might accumulate.
posted by NoDef at 10:33 AM on August 7, 2011

So I tried about:memory in Chrome, and it shows summary data for both itself, and Firefox.

Chrome gettin' all up yo' face, Firefox.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:46 AM on August 7, 2011

Very belatedly seconding wierdo on the FF7 front.

about:memory is quite a lot more helpful in Firefox 7 beta, which is scheduled for full release in two weeks' time. It shows you what's using the most memory, and although it's not as easy to read as "Tab 1 (Google+): 16.58 MB" would be, it's pretty easy to guess which tab is being referred to when you see the line

16.58 MB (05.25%) -- compartment(

in the data.

And as wierdo said, FF7 beta looks to be much less cumbersome in general than earlier versions: what I've noticed in particular is that it starts up very quickly, even with 20+ tabs to reopen.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 11:35 AM on September 12, 2011

« Older Coding a matchmaking website   |   Remodeling cabinets/home DIY Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.