Browser tests... on AL under dwm

To satisfy my curiosity regarding browser resource use (RAM), I ran a few quick tests on my setup to see which browser(s) worked most efficiently.

Here’s what I’m running (inxi -Fxxxz):

$ inxi -Fxxxz
System:    Kernel: 5.6.4-arch1-1 x86_64 bits: 64 compiler: gcc v: 9.3.0 Desktop: dwm 6.2 
           dm: LightDM 1.30.0 Distro: ArchLabs Linux 
Machine:   Type: Laptop System: Dell product: Latitude E5470 v: N/A serial: <filter> Chassis: type: 9 
           serial: <filter> 
           Mobo: Dell model: N/A serial: <filter> UEFI: Dell v: 1.21.6 date: 10/02/2019 
Battery:   ID-1: BAT0 charge: 43.4 Wh condition: 43.4/62.0 Wh (70%) volts: 8.3/7.6 
           model: LGC-LGC4.20 DELL HK6DV type: Li-ion serial: <filter> status: Full 
           Device-1: hidpp_battery_0 model: Logitech Wireless Mouse M510 serial: <filter> 
           charge: 55% (should be ignored) rechargeable: yes status: Discharging 
CPU:       Topology: Dual Core model: Intel Core i5-6300U bits: 64 type: MT MCP arch: Skylake rev: 3 
           L2 cache: 3072 KiB 
           flags: avx avx2 lm nx pae sse sse2 sse3 sse4_1 sse4_2 ssse3 vmx bogomips: 20004 
           Speed: 700 MHz min/max: 400/3000 MHz Core speeds (MHz): 1: 700 2: 700 3: 700 4: 700 
Graphics:  Device-1: Intel Skylake GT2 [HD Graphics 520] vendor: Dell driver: i915 v: kernel 
           bus ID: 00:02.0 chip ID: 8086:1916 
           Display: x11 server: X.Org 1.20.8 driver: intel unloaded: fbdev,modesetting,vesa 
           compositor: picom resolution: 1920x1080~60Hz 
           Message: Unable to show advanced data. Required tool glxinfo missing. 
Audio:     Device-1: Intel Sunrise Point-LP HD Audio vendor: Dell driver: snd_hda_intel v: kernel 
           bus ID: 00:1f.3 chip ID: 8086:9d70 
           Sound Server: ALSA v: k5.6.4-arch1-1 
Network:   Device-1: Intel Ethernet I219-LM vendor: Dell driver: e1000e v: 3.2.6-k port: f040 
           bus ID: 00:1f.6 chip ID: 8086:156f 
           IF: enp0s31f6 state: down mac: <filter> 
           Device-2: Qualcomm Atheros QCA6174 802.11ac Wireless Network Adapter vendor: Dell 
           driver: ath10k_pci v: kernel port: f040 bus ID: 01:00.0 chip ID: 168c:003e 
           IF: wlan0 state: up mac: <filter> 
           Device-3: Qualcomm Atheros type: USB driver: btusb bus ID: 1-8:6 chip ID: 0cf3:e007 
Drives:    Local Storage: total: 1008.18 GiB used: 585.21 GiB (58.0%) 
           ID-1: /dev/mmcblk0 model: SD32G size: 30.09 GiB serial: <filter> scheme: GPT 
           ID-2: /dev/sda vendor: Crucial model: CT1050MX300SSD4 size: 978.09 GiB speed: 6.0 Gb/s 
           serial: <filter> rev: R031 scheme: GPT 
RAID:      Hardware-1: Intel 82801 Mobile SATA Controller [RAID mode] driver: ahci v: 3.0 port: f060 
           bus ID: 00:17.0 chip ID: 8086.282a rev: 21 
Partition: ID-1: / size: 57.89 GiB used: 36.35 GiB (62.8%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda5 
           ID-2: /boot size: 299.4 MiB used: 57.7 MiB (19.3%) fs: vfat dev: /dev/sda1 
Sensors:   System Temperatures: cpu: 41.0 C mobo: N/A 
           Fan Speeds (RPM): cpu: 0 
Info:      Processes: 181 Uptime: 1d 16h 01m Memory: 23.39 GiB used: 1.92 GiB (8.2%) Init: systemd 
           v: 245 Compilers: gcc: 9.3.0 Shell: bash v: 5.0.16 running in: sakura inxi: 3.0.38 

What I did was test the following browsers:

  • Firefox
  • chromium
  • otter
  • surf

On each test, I opened three windows (or tabs) accessing the same sites:

On each ‘standalone’ test I measured my RAM use via conky & htop. Here my results:

Baseline (no browser running):

  • conky: 1.07G
  • htop: 1.1 GB

Results with browsers accessing 3 sites (run with only 1 browser active and a clean reboot between tests).

  • Browser… conky… htop
  • Firefox:…1.66G…1.7G
  • Otter…1.83G…1.9G
  • Chromium…1.87G…1.88G
  • surf…1.5G…1.54G

For my purposes I plan to use FF. The additional functions like tabs, fvd speed dial, lastpass, lack of google connection make it the best choice (not to mention I know how to use it).

FWIW, I was shocked that otter & surf did not do much better…

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It’s not the browsers that are resource-intensive, it’s the internet itself…


That certainly helps to explain why the numbers are so close. Nonetheless, I see the benefits of the added functionality offered by FF to be worth the “tiny” memory cost.


Probably one of the truest quotes of the last decade!


surf is tiny until you using multiple instances. When used with tabbed it create new instance for every tab and not sharing resources as FF/Chrome doing. So for multitab user it’s not worth it imho.

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