Web browser with separate processes for each tab

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by roger_m, Apr 10, 2012.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Posts:
    5,254
    I am looking for any web browsers other than Google Chrome which open each tab as a separate process.

    I view a lot of web pages, and always have a number of tabs open. The problem I have is the ever increasing memory usage do to having so many tabs open, and I want a browser which can release the memory used for a tab when i close that tab. The reason for this is quite simple, after opening and closing two many tabs, due to excessive memory usage a browser will become unstable. By releasing the memory when tabs are closed the high memory usage issue can be avoided. Also, because I've only got 2 gigs of RAM for running Win 7, I like to minimize RAM usage.

    The reason why Chrome is not an option for me is that it is just too basic for what I need. I am currently running both Avant and Orca browsers and have them configured to open every url entered in a new tab right new to the current tab. Also I have various search shortcuts I've set up, e.g. if I enter g then some search terms in the address bar it will do a Google search for the search terms, s will do a search at songfacts.com, i will search imdb.com to give a few examples. Unless I can configure a browser similarly to this, then I'll stick with Avant and put up with the high memory use.

    Perhaps the stability problem is not so much of an issue now that I'm using Avant mostly instead of Orca.

    Any suggestions will be appreciated.
     
  2. pandorax

    pandorax Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2011
    Posts:
    330
    As far as i know, only Chrome and IE 9 have that feature. Maybe Maxthon too.
     
  3. badkins79

    badkins79 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2011
    Posts:
    60
    Location:
    Maryland
    I would say having each tab in a separate process would be harder on RAM. Each separate process has memory overhead. Although you are right that the memory cleans up better when you close a process. The real problem is poor memory management in single process browsers like Firefox. If they cleaned that up, you would be set.

    On a related note, my company builds a Firefox add-on which turns each tab you have open into a separate process on a cloud computer. The goal being to not allow web based attacks a chance to reach your computer. However, we currently have an 8 tab limit, because of the limited memory available in the cloud machine. Hopefully, as memory gets cheaper these problems will fade away.
     
  4. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Posts:
    5,254
    Maxthon doesn't have it. But you are right about IE 9, but it doesn't seem to work so well - right now I have only 3 tabs open, but there are four iexplore.exe tasks showing in Task Manager. One of them has a peak working state of nearly 400 megs, and another one nearly 300 megs. All I have open are three pages @ Wilders.
     
  5. vasa1

    vasa1 Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2010
    Posts:
    4,152
    I don't understand much about this RAM business but I get the impression that one needs to bother only when performance is adversely affected. If performance is not adversely affected, then just let the browser, whichever browser, do its thing.

    (I watch CPU usage more carefully.)
     
  6. TairikuOkami

    TairikuOkami Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2005
    Posts:
    2,509
    Location:
    Slovakia
  7. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Posts:
    5,254
    RAM usage is definitely as issue, as when the peak memory usage for Orca becomes very high the browser becomes unstable and sometimes stops working. Sure, you can just close it, from task manager if it has become unresponsive, and then restart it. But it would be much better if it's memory handling was done smarter do that high memory usage would only occur when many tabs are open, and would drop immediately when tabs are closed.
     
  8. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Posts:
    5,254
    I am aware of that an similar programs, but it can't do anything about the peak working state of programs, this is something I don't want to be large amount unless there is a need for it be - i.e. if a large number of tabs are open.
     
  9. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Posts:
    5,254
    I have just installed the browser CoolNovo which is essentially Google's Chrome, but more configurable. However, I am less than impressed. I only have a single tab open with the Google homepage loaded, however there are no less than six chrome processes running in Task Manager! The total peak working state for all the processes if over 300 megs. I find this rather strange, as I thought one of the key features of Chrome was that each tab was opened as a separate process, and when you close a tab that process would be closed. Apparently this is not the case. Also it is quite a mystery why there are six processes running when I have not even had that many tabs open. Also the peak working state of over 300 megs is certainly not indicative of my usage - I've only had a few web pages open. I would only expect this much RAM usage for having had a number of tabs open.


    I have just found a reason for multiple Chrome processes running. I restarted CoolNovo and there were four chrome processes running. There was an option to view background pages, and it showed the browser and the single tab open each as separate process, and also two extensions which must be installed by default. With just the Google homepage open, CoolNovo is using close to 160 megs of RAM in total, whereas Orca with 22 tabs open is using 276 megs of RAM, which is less than I was experiencing with CoolNovo having only a single tab open are having had only a total of three tabs open.
     
  10. Hungry Man

    Hungry Man Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2011
    Posts:
    9,148
    There is inherent overhead to creating new processes that can lead to slightly more RAM usage.

    But that doesn't mean a single process browser will use less RAM.

    Allocated memory has no scope in C/C++ (or any language?) so if I allocate memory in a process it lives for the entire process unless explicitly deleted. When you close the process the memory is freed.

    This is where memory leaks happen, memory is allocated but not deleted or properly reallocated. Chrome avoids this to an extent with multiple processes. If there's a memory leak in Chrome you close the tab and the leak is gone. If there's a memory leak in a single-process browser you need to restart the process and therefor the entire browser.

    Because memory leaks are really just dynamic buffers on the heap that never reallocate there's probably a way to overflow that buffer as well (maybe inputting a float/double if there's no type checking done or a poorly built constructor?) - though that's less relevant.

    tl;dr - your overall RAM usage will almost definitely be less with a multiprocess browser because memory leaks have far less consequence and will always exist regardless of architecture.

    EDIT: Also, garbage control is important. Both Firefox and Chrome implement garbage control. From what I can see this basically deallocates buffers that it thinks are no longer in use. In Chrome you can actually click a button to start garbage control, which will likely stop a memory leak in its tracks.
     
  11. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Posts:
    5,254
    I just did a test:

    Orca with 23 tabs open = 290 megs total RAM use.
    CoolNovo (Chrome) with the same 23 tabs open = well over 900 megs of total RAM use!
     
  12. vasa1

    vasa1 Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2010
    Posts:
    4,152
    CoolNovo apparently was previously known as Chrome Plus. If that's true, it comes in the category of Chromium off-shoots rather than Chrome off-shoots.
     
  13. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Posts:
    5,254
    But apparently there is very little difference between the two.
     
  14. vasa1

    vasa1 Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2010
    Posts:
    4,152
    One difference is that there is more documentation for Chrome.
     
  15. lotuseclat79

    lotuseclat79 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2005
    Posts:
    5,103
    The Chromium Project: Process Models.

    You might also investigate SRWare Iron as it is derived from Chromium/Chrome.

    -- Tom
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012
  16. lotuseclat79

    lotuseclat79 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2005
    Posts:
    5,103
    With regard to the topic of this thread, I would personally like to see a web browser with a single process for the browser, and a thread-per-tab model as it would probably be more light-weight (with multiple threads) than the process-per-tab model, and in all likelyhood on a shared memory multiprocessor (or multicore processor) be lickety-split faster when compared to the process-per-tab model.

    -- Tom
     
  17. Hungry Man

    Hungry Man Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2011
    Posts:
    9,148
    All modern browsers are already multithreaded. That includes single-process browsers like Firefox.
     
  18. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Posts:
    5,254
  19. lotuseclat79

    lotuseclat79 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2005
    Posts:
    5,103
    Hi Hungry Man,

    Are there any articles to that effect, particularly any that demonstrate performance and memory usage comparisons on both uniprocessor and multi-processor computers?

    -- Tom
     
  20. guest

    guest Guest

    There is the Web Browser Grand Prix made by Tom's Hardware, which is very comprehensible. Its latest edition is the ninth, from 21-February-2012. There are several performance and memory usage comparisons, check it: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/chrome-17-firefox-10-ubuntu,3129-4.html
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 12, 2012
  21. Hungry Man

    Hungry Man Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2011
    Posts:
    9,148
    In general multiple processes = more responsive UI (if one tab freezes up the others don't) and general usage. You can also have a dedicated renderer for each website.

    There is memory overhead, there is potentially CPU overhead depending on the specifics.
     
  22. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Posts:
    5,254
    After a fair bit of Google searching, and having to tell Google to exclude several words such as chrome and chromium from my search, I have found an option.


    It is called TheWorld Browser. By default it will use mutiple processes, but a seprarate process for every tab opened - but it does have an anti-freeze option which is enabled by default

    However there is an option to open every tab as a separate process, and the first time you run the brower there is a wizard which lets you configure these and other options.

    On testing it with multiple tabs open, it was using a large amount of RAM. clsoing all tabs did little to remedy this. However when setting it to open each tab as a separate process th problem was fixed. I opened the same web pages again - and for some reason one web page was using a very large amount of ram - but when I closed all the web pages, TheWorld went back to a single process using just over 50 megs of RAM. This is just what I have been looking for in a web browser.

    It has the option to open every url entered in the address bar in a new tab next to the current one. Also, another plus is that like in Orca/Avant/Maxthon/etc you can configure search shortcuts, e.g. a default one is to enter g in the address bar to do a google search. I.e. 'g wilders' will do a Google search for wilders.

    You can download it from here: http://www.theworld.cn/twen/?op=en or here http://www.softpedia.com/get/Internet/Browsers/TheWorld-Browser.shtml

    With Softpedia linking to a more recent version than the one for download on the home page of theworld website.

    I'll see how it goes, but it looks like this will be my new default browser. I have Orca running at the moment and after my RAM usage became very high due to having multiple tabs open in both Orca and TheWorld (and windows offering to close Orca due to high memory usage), Orca has stopped working - it won't load any webpages (which would be fixed if I restarted it), a problem I should not have with TheWorld.


    It makes use of Internet Explorer which some won't like, but there is a Chrome based version too. However judging by screenshots at Softpedia, the configuation options are very basic for the Chrome version.
     
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.