My work computer only has 512 megs of memory, so Firefox’s memory usage has been a bit of a problem for me here. I found some tuning information today that I’m hoping will help.
What I’ve done (in about:config):
- Set browser.sessionhistory.max_total_viewer to 0 (on my system it was max_total_viewers instead, I set both to 0). This seems to tell Firefox not to keep a bunch of back/forward pages cached for each tab.
- Set browser.cache.memory.capacity to 4096. This sets the amount of RAM Firefox can use for cache. By default, it’s allocated dynamically, but I think that led to the memory usage growing over time.
At home, I’ve also done some performance tuning involving pipelining. This entry on the element14 blog talks about bout the max_total_viewer and pipelining tweaks. It also claims that the Firefox memory leak bug is a myth and that the max_total_viewer setting stops it. I haven’t taken enough time to examine the effects of these changes, but I doubt that. I definitely think there are memory leaks in Firefox.
I also found an incredibly detailed thread about tweaking Firefox. Some of the information there may be outdated, but it’s the most in depth discussion of the topic I’ve seen.
Finally, extensions are often the source of a lot of memory leaks in Firefox. Here’s a list of extensions that are known to be problematic.