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Firefox is a pig! (at least on Mac)

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by WT21, Feb 11, 2016.

  1. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    I posted another thread about upgrading my mac Mac Users -- mac mini or MacBook Pro for next upgrade? and I ended up buying a new mac mini, but I think I'm going to return it unopened. I found out my issue, so I share it here with anyone who is interested or who might have the same challenges.

    tl;dr
    Firefox is a pig on both my mac laptops for some reason. I switched to Chrome, and it's much happier.


    The long story:
    I upgrade to El Capitan a few months back and also LR CC this past week. About this time, my 2009 MacBook Pro (C2D 2.26GHz with 8GB RAM) came to a grinding halt.

    Memory was blowing past 8GB, which I attributed to the new version of LR, causing disk swaps and all sorts of pain. It had been slow, but this was a world of hurt.

    Over the last 2 days I've been doing (way too much) reading on mac memory management and other issues. That 8GB should actually be sufficient!

    My work laptop is also a Mac -- 2014 MBP with 16GB and it flies. Last night, I finally spent some time really examining the work laptop memory use while running. It routinely was running at 10GB RAM used, which is OK for that computer as it has 16GB, but I found that Firefox was eating 5-6GB of RAM on it's own!

    On my old computer, because Lightroom is so slow, I don't tend to close it, and FF was my browser of choice for years. So, in general, a lot of times both those apps are open. Since last night, I started using Chrome, and now the old 2009 is happy again :) Using about 5GB RAM total between Chrome and Lightroom.

    So if you have an older machine, and feeling bogged down, check and see if Firefox is the issue. Try switching to a different browser and see if that helps.

    Postmortem
    I'm going to return the mac unopened, and wait until the March Apple announcements to see what/if any new releases come out. The fact that Apple dumped a boat load of mac minis into refurb over the last few days, and took down the refurb page for the 2012 mac minis, leads me to believe they are either killing the mini (doubtful) or doing a refresh.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2016
  2. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    Any reason why you don't use Safari? I use Safari on my 2013 MBP due to how efficient it is. It became WAY more efficient with the El Capitan update.

    Either way, glad to hear that you're able to continue using your 2009 model and it fits your needs!
     
  3. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    I use Safari as well. Firefox lost it's momentum a couple of years ago.
     
  4. robcee

    robcee Mu-43 Veteran

    289
    Jan 10, 2016
    Toronto
    Rob Campbell
    A couple of tips for Firefox users:

    1. Disable Flash, set it to Click to Enable. Flash is bad and it should feel bad. It is a source of constant pain and I can't wait for it to die (ps, why is flash running on this site?).
    2. Watch your Extensions/Addons usage. If you've been using Firefox for a long time and install extensions, make sure you're not running things you don't need. AdBlock Plus is a great addon but it adds some significant overhead.
    3. Try Resetting your profile. Go to the Help Menu, Troubleshooting and hit the button called "Refresh Firefox". It'll give you a new, clean profile and migrate your bookmarks and settings into it.

    A lot of the time people switch browsers and find it to be snappy and performant, it's because "it's a fresh browser" without years of accumulated usage. That's great, but overtime, the same performance problems can build up.

    Disclosure: I used to work on Firefox.

    PS, there is also Safari. :)

    edit: PPS, If you're doing a lot of research / reading and end up with a bunch of tabs open over a period of days, remember to close those tabs or move them to Pocket or bookmarks to read them later. They can hold onto resources, gobbling up memory.
     
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  5. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    I've been trying safari last night and this morning. I've enjoyed about a dozen of these on both my home mac and my work mac??
     

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  6. robcee

    robcee Mu-43 Veteran

    289
    Jan 10, 2016
    Toronto
    Rob Campbell
    not surprising, given Apple has to maintain WebKit by themselves now and has been trying to deprecate the web in favor of their own app ecosystem. I doubt the Safari team has very many resources... er, humans working on it.
     
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  7. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    Knock on wood, but I never get that when using Safari on my 2013 MBP.
     
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  8. Bruce McL

    Bruce McL Mu-43 Veteran

    It is easier to write “Flash is a Pig,” than “I was a Fool,” but I don’t think either headline is correct.

    What is correct is this:

    Browsers take up a lot of computing resources.

    Browsers with extensions can be set up in ways that don’t work well and take up even more resources.

    At least once a year it is worthwhile to try other browsers and take a close look at the setup of your current browser.

    Flash on the Mac is a huge resource hog and can be a security risk. It is managed better in Chrome than the other two browsers.

    Uninstall Flash from your Mac if you possibly can. If you use Firefox or Safari without Flash, Chrome can be a “backup” browser that understands Flash. Chrome works with it’s own internal version of Flash.

    This is based on my own experience and about 15 years of experience helping other people with their browsers on Macs.
     
  9. robcee

    robcee Mu-43 Veteran

    289
    Jan 10, 2016
    Toronto
    Rob Campbell
    don't blame the victim.

    good advice!
     
  10. Bruce McL

    Bruce McL Mu-43 Veteran

    There was no victim. The O/P narrowly avoided spending a lot of money on a computer that wasn’t needed. A sigh of relief would be appropriate. Over simplifying for the purpose of finding an easy target to point a finger at is not.

    This is not over, for the O/P or anyone reading this thread. Unfortunately, this is one of those situations where people have to learn a lot more than they should in order to keep their computers running well. Blaming just slows down the learning process.
     
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  11. onewheeltom

    onewheeltom Mu-43 Regular

    98
    Nov 18, 2015
    Cary, NC
    Tom Karches
    I use a plugin on Chrome called The Great Suspender. It stops processes running in background tabs. Setting Flash to "click to enable" is a good idea.
     
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  12. robcee

    robcee Mu-43 Veteran

    289
    Jan 10, 2016
    Toronto
    Rob Campbell
    uh, ok mister-dramatic-language-guy. you know the most.
     
  13. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    Canada
    David
    I personally use Google Chrome on both my Windows Quad PC and all my Macs because I use the Google Apps quite often for my personal business -- Gmail, Google Docx etc... I never found I like Safari all that much either. Chrome is clean and simple and works with flash. I abandoned Firefox a long time ago because I felt it was a resource hog. And that was on my really old MacBook Core 2 Duo white which I had handed down to my dad. He's very happy with it running Google Chrome watching youtube.

    Apple always does a refresh of most models every year and just around the time in March or April or so. During that time, you may see some great refurb deals but Apple isn't in the business of discounting like Olympus does so don't expect a steep discount. If anything, maybe another $50 or $75 off the lowest refurb price you see. Bigger discounts can be had with the Quad i7 computers, but it will be out of most value buyers price range.
     
  14. Bruce McL

    Bruce McL Mu-43 Veteran

    If you have an older machine, and Lightroom is slow, quit all other apps before using Lightroom.

    It would be nice if Apple started making quad core mac minis again.
     
  15. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston

    On my work macbook, I use Chrome and Firefox equally. I've had this laptop since last July. We are not allowed to install plug ins. On this laptop, Firefox ended up sucking up a lot more memory resources than Chrome.

    (On my home laptop, it could have been because of installed plug-ins, etc.)

    The reset idea is good to consider, but my conclusion still stands, regardless if there are super-duper reset buttons that I'm supposed to troll forum boards to learn about.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  16. robcee

    robcee Mu-43 Veteran

    289
    Jan 10, 2016
    Toronto
    Rob Campbell
    absolutely, you should do what works best for you with the barest minimum of trolling required.

    happy you avoided buying something you didn't need to, btw.
     
  17. Bruce McL

    Bruce McL Mu-43 Veteran

    Yes, browser setup and maintenance is a complicated mess.

    For best Lightroom performance, as I mentioned above, just quit, no matter what browser you are using. For those shooting JPEG it may not matter all that much, but for RAW I recommend giving as much of your Mac to Lightroom as you possibly can.