Opera memory usage on old computers (Was: 10.10 with Unite thread)

Feel free to continue off topic stuff about memory here.

Originally posted by patkoscsaba:

Originally posted by zikzakatak:

opera use 300 mb with 12 tabs open but when i close all tabs and just leave 1 tab open (speed dial) opera keeps using 300 mb for hours.

How much memory your system has? Opera keeps the memory unreleased after closing tabs in case you need it again, but if you are running out of memory and another application asks for RAM, Opera will release the memory.

But, in this case, does it release things from memory by deleting actual entries from all of Opera's memory caches, or, does it just release things from physical memory and swap it all to disk so that the other program(s) you're trying to use can make use of the physical memory?

If it's the latter, that can be a very bad thing for performance on older computers as then, each time you switch back to Opera, it has to pull back in all the stuff from the slow disk. With continued use of Opera (hours, days), if it doesn't truly nuke memory and just swaps everything out of the way when necessary, all that stuff's going to build up in the swap and be way larger than the physical memory so that Opera will only be able to pull in little pieces at a time (from the very slow disk), which will cause Opera to run like crap every time you switch a tab or do anything. And, since Opera's busy swapping things in and out all the time, other applications suffer. Then, you'll have to restart Opera to really get things back to normal. But, since all that Opera mem is swapped out, when you close Opera, it's going to take ages for Opera to pull the memory back in (from the really slow disk) and free it first. In these cases, it might take 30 seconds to 40 minutes to shut down Opera if you don't manually kill it first. Then, you get a really fast computer with a fast hard drive and lots of memory so that you don't run into the swapping issue a lot, but if you do, it's not as bad because of the faster hard drive.

If the former, that can be great for older computers. (Hopefully, the latter doesn't ring a bell for any and reeks of fantasy.)

If you don't want to let Opera use as much RAM as it wishes or thinks it's appropriate for your system, set the "Memory Cache" in the options to something smaller

This may help some, but if Opera doesn't clear things when one expects (like closing a tab for many), when you go to use another program, there won't be as much free physical memory as you expect and you'll trigger more swapping than you wanted and could have avoided.

The end result is independent of how much memory you have. Having more memory just delays the problem.

Now, if you close all tabs in Opera and clear all caches and Opera still isn't freeing up the memory you expect, that's either a bug, or Opera doesn't provide the control you desire.

Personally, I think Chrome has some PROs in this area. Sure, you can't open a lot of pages at once or you'll use a lot of memory. But, you can nuke memory completely by closing a tab. This gives the user more power to control things the way they want. It'd be cool if Opera could at least simulate that as an option somehow. As, what's the point in caching and holding on to everything if it just gets swapped to an extra slow old, disk all the time?

But, it's understandable that applications can't always cater to lower memory situations on older computers with slow disks.

Restart your applications often!

17 Replies to “Opera memory usage on old computers (Was: 10.10 with Unite thread)”

  1. Well, I’ll tell you what I believe, as a user, Opera does. I am not an Opera programmer or employee, just a user.My oldest system is my laptop which has 1G of memory, from which, about 128MB are used by the graphics adapter and the rest up to about 500MB by the system itself.Right now, I have 2 tabs open, the Opera Desktop Team blog and this one. As I mentioned on the Desktop Team blog, I use most of Opera’s features, I have several email accounts, lots of feeds, Unite, notes, chat and so on.The memory usage right now is 99MB.OK, I am finished with the introduction… let’s talk about what I observed.I observed that, yes, memory usage of Opera increases as it caches. I always let it on automatic caching.I never saw Opera using the swap, and every day I run Opera without restart on this laptop at least 9 hours.I can not be 100% sure what’s the underlying technology Opera uses, but I am 100% sure I never saw it swap.And if it swaps … the general rule of access/transfer speeds is, in ascendant order, starting with the slowest:- Internet- HDD- SWAP (yes, swap is faster than reading files)- RAMIf you have an old computer with little RAM (let’s say 256 or 512 MB) it will swap anyway as soon as you start more than 2 programs, so swapping will be done not just by Opera but others too.Comparing Crome and Opera technology:- Crome uses “processes” for each tabs – Opera uses “threads”- each process has it’s allocated memory and processor – threads share more- if a process is killed, obviously it’s memory is released and it’s processor time is released- if a thread is killed, it’s parent still can keep some stuff for it until the garbage collector decides to clean up. Also threads share more, so when a thread is killed a large part of the resources it uses is common with other threads and can not be released since it is being used by those.As a general and accepted idea: Multi-Processes are better for single-core systems while Multi-Threads are better for multi-core systems.

  2. Thanks for your reply.Originally posted by patkoscsaba:If you have an old computer with little RAM (let’s say 256 or 512 MB) it will swap anyway as soon as you start more than 2 programs, so swapping will be done not just by Opera but others too.Right, and 256/512 (anything under 320 mostly) is a very good example where having more control helps a lot. You may not be able to avoid swapping, but when memory gets released when you want it to (like closing a tab for many), you can control it a little and every little bit helps in those situations.Just in case you were implying it, you are not screwed no matter what in those situations. There can be ways to manage things better, if the browser lets you.Originally posted by patkoscsaba:I observed that, yes, memory usage of Opera increases as it caches. I always let it on automatic caching.Although Opera caching more than one desires can make things worse, I think the root of the problem (if you experience it) lies somewhere else that has nothing to do with caching. It’s easy to assume that the cause is just from Opera’s aggressive caching. However, it’s good to be open minded and not discard everything so quickly. We might actually find some non-intentional things and bugs.

  3. Originally posted by burnout426:However, it’s good to be open minded and not discard everything so quickly. We might actually find some non-intentional things and bugs.That’s the hole point of using the weekly snapshots. Does Opera have a memory leak? I have no idea, I never found one.Also, on the latest build’s blog-post, there is a comment recommending 4MB memory cache and 5MB disk cache for old computers. Maybe you could try it, too.Originally posted by burnout426:Right, and 256/512 (anything under 320 mostly) is a very good example where having more control helps a lot. You may not be able to avoid swapping, but when memory gets released when you want it to (like closing a tab for many), you can control it a little and every little bit helps in those situations.I can’t argue with that. You want control, but control is not always better. You may be able to control the memory but you probably will do it worse than the system does by itself.As I mentioned in my previous post, swap is the fastest thing after RAM, even if it is damn slow.

  4. Originally posted by patkoscsaba:Does Opera have a memory leak? I think so. As soon as I find out what feature in Opera is causing it or what plug-in(s) are causing it and how to trigger it at will, I’ll file on it. I successfully found true leaks before. It’s just difficult sometimes.Originally posted by patkoscsaba:there is a comment recommending 4MB memory cache and 5MB disk cache for old computers. Maybe you could try it, too.Sure, but that just cripples the memory cache. What is needed is a way to manually flush it when one desires. If Opera’s using a whole bunch of memory to cache things, you should be able to see that memory go bye-bye at the click of a button, ideally, imo.

  5. qt writes:After using — and closing — another program that used a lot of memory, I went to Opera, and found it swapping everytime I clicked on a tab. Checked the stats in Windows Task Manager:Opera’sVM Usage: 1GB+Mem Usag: 400MB+Closing several tabs resulted in mem usage going UP to 500MB+ (but with about 2dozen tabs still open).So, I went to restart Opera.Hit the X in the corner.Opera took a full five minutes to shut down & remove itself from the Windows Task Manager.That shutdown time, besides the lack of user-control to release memory to keep swapping to a minimum, seems unacceptable…(Note: After restart, mem & VM usage were each about 300MB, and then increased by 50MB+ & 70MB+ after I closed 2 tabs & typed in this post.)-r.s.

  6. Originally posted by anonymous:Opera took a full five minutes to shut down & remove itself from the Windows Task Manager.Yep indeed. I’ve seen that plenty of times.

  7. For what it’s worth I love Opera and use it at work and home. The problem I find is that at work I often run into these problems – hence my workstation is limited with only 512meg and Opera used in conjunction with my daily apps often causes the Workstation to grind to a halt over time with swapping. Additionally closing the browser often results in me killing task becuase I don’t have the time to wait for it to release all memory itself.Know I’m not saying that this is all Opera’s fault because at home on my 4gb ram machine Opera always runs flawlessly. Unfortunately using flash and the like doesn’t help situations but I, and I am sure many others, would certainly benefit from a switch to disregard Opera’s in built caching for a more simplistic approach that would benefit older workstations.

  8. Upset writes:Same issues here. I tried setting the Memory Cache, but the application seems to completely ignore it. 200k+ mem usage, plus 300+ virtual memory is crazy. Why is my web browser using more memory then Adobe Photoshop?The manual cleanup it does on shut down also doesn’t make much sense. Why waste the time cleaning up a memory cache you are about to completely throw away? If Windows Task Manager can terminate the app in seconds, I don’t see why the cache can’t use some proper memory encapsulation to prevent long unloads.

  9. Anonymous writes:Tried lowering the amount of virtual memory available to the operating system… and opera just soft locked. What if I don’t want my web browser paging tons of stuff off my disk? When a web browser eats up all my memory and still runs slow, there is definitely something wrong. Where is Opera lite for the PC? If it can run on mobile devices, I can’t see why the PC version can’t have options to be less resource intensive.

  10. Anonymous writes:”Opera took a full five minutes to shut down & remove itself from the Windows Task Manager.”I have this same problem. And yes, I do perceive it as a problem, and find it unacceptable.I also see a lot of disk activity (and sometimes a frozen Opera window) after closing a tab.I am a long term user of Opera, I even paid for it before it was free.And now I’m seriously considering uninstalling it and using Chrome / IE / Safari instead. (I dislike Firefox).

  11. Greg writes:I have the same issues here as well. I love Opera but my main pc only has 256K which works well for everything else, just not Opera. I too usually have to kill Opera in task manager. I know I could just upgrade the memory (as it works OK in my laptop with 3GB) but I shouldn’t have to do that. I bounce back and forth between Opera and Sea Monkey, which I like a whole lot better than Firefox as Firefox also seemed to do something in the 3.0x versions that cause it to run slower as well. I also have noticed that Avast! seems to cause Opera to run slower at times as well.

  12. “Opera took a full five minutes to shut down & remove itself from the Windows Task Manager.”Identical issue on my 512mb computer. I’m now temporarily using Firefox, which doesn’t seem to suffer from this problem :p

  13. bill writes:Nice post. This post is different from what I read on most blog. And it have so many valuable things to learn.Thank you for your sharing!latops

  14. Opera Fanboy writes:After frequent “(Not Responding)” hangups, I went on my quest to find solutions to Opera’s RAM usage. I read in a few forums that if you minimize Opera to the Taskbar, it will free some memory, but people seemed to have mixed results.Then my research lead me to believe that Opera’s ‘Automatic’ memory cache setting is the problem. So after a lot of tweaking, I settled on my Memory Cache at 4MB and Disk Cache at 400MB with ‘Empty on Exit’ disabled. After this, I noticed a huge improvement in Opera’s performance on my machine. I’m running Vista/1GB RAM.One side note: If you’re a heavy YouTube user typically with a lot of tabs open, I recommend you join the HTML5 player trial at youtube.com/html5. The videos that play in the HTML5 player don’t appear to be as resource intensive as the ones in flash. This seems to the case in other browsers as well.

  15. Anonymous writes:”opera use 300 mb with 12 tabs open but when i close all tabs and just leave 1 tab open (speed dial) opera keeps using 300 mb for hours.”Of course closing the tabs doesn’t release the memory… because they’re not really closed, they’re in the “closed tabs” bin! To actually release the memory, click on the closed tabs bin and click “clear list of closed tabs”.

  16. Originally posted by anonymous:clear list of closed tabsThat does help, a little. But, it of course doesn’t have the same effect as closing a tab in Chrome (which would be really nice as an option).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *