Chrome 34, Firefox 29, Internet Explorer 11: Memory Use 2014

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 2, 2014
Updated • Jan 2, 2014

memory use

I bench marked the memory use of popular web browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Opera back in 2012, and a lot happened since then.

Back then, the Opera browser came first followed by Mozilla Firefox, then Internet Explorer and finally Google Chrome.

All browsers made big progress since then. Firefox jumped by 13 versions, Chrome by 12, Internet Explorer by 2, and Opera switched to Chromium.

Back then, I only looked at the memory use when ten websites were loaded in each browser. This time, I will look at three different scenarios with 5, 15 and 40 open tabs in each browser respectively.

This should cover more real-world scenarios.

Benchmark parameters

  • Test system: Windows 8.1 Professional 64-bit, 8 Gigabytes of RAM.
  • Browsers: Mozilla Firefox 29 Nightly, Google Chrome Dev 34, Internet Explorer 11
  • All browsers without browser extensions, and plug-ins disabled.
  • The 5 websites:,,,,
  • The 15 websites:,,,,,,,,,, and the top 5 websites.
  • The top 40 websites:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, plus the top 15 and top 5 websites.


web browser memory use comparison

I made the decision to start with 5 pages, measure the memory use, open another 10, measure again, then the remaining 25 for the last measure.

After that, I decided to close the 25 pages to go down to 15 again, measure that, then close another 10 pages so that I would end up with the top 5, and measure again.

All measurements are taken from Chrome's about:memory page. Note that this, at least in theory, will make Chrome use extra memory as it needs to be displayed by the browser (about 24,000 k it seems)

Update: We have added Chrome 31 Stable and Firefox 26 Stable to the benchmark results:

Five open tabs

  • Google Chrome 34: 258,589 k
  • Firefox 26: 246,288 k
  • Firefox 29: 225,552 k
  • Google Chrome 31: 224,946k
  • Internet Explorer 11: 221989 k

Fifteen open tabs

  • Internet Explorer 11: 550869 k
  • Google Chrome 31: 485,282 k
  • Google Chrome 34: 448,015 k
  • Firefox 26: 332,212 k
  • Firefox 29: 327,060 k

Forty open tabs

  • Internet Explorer 11: 1547254 k
  • Google Chrome 31: 1,255,641 k
  • Google Chrome 34: 1,167,298 k
  • Firefox 29: 779,100 k
  • Firefox 26: 704,128 k

Down to 15 tabs

  • Internet Explorer 11: 595,373 k
  • Google Chrome 31: 526,544 k
  • Google Chrome 34: 514,872 k
  • Firefox 26: 510,116 k
  • Firefox 29: 442654 k

Down to 5 tabs

  • Internet Explorer 11: 377683 k
  • Firefox 26: 371,156 k
  • Firefox 29: 358404 k
  • Google Chrome 31: 263,991
  • Google Chrome 34: 275722 k

Key findings

Microsoft's Internet Explorer 11 performed worst in four of the five benchmarks. It performed best initially with only 5 tabs open in each browser, but landed last in all four consecutive benchmarks.

Google Chrome too made first place only once after nearly all tabs were closed again in all browsers. It seems to release memory faster or more efficiently than Internet Explorer or Firefox.

Firefox takes the crown as a heavy duty browser. It performed best with 15, 40 and down to 15 open tabs and never went above the 1 Gigabyte mark, while the two other browsers did.

In fact, Microsoft's Internet Explorer 11 used about twice as much memory as Firefox with 40 tabs open.

It is interesting to note that Microsoft's web browser recovered memory some time after it went down to only 5 open tabs. A few minutes later, its use dropped down to about 260,000 k of memory usage, while Firefox's usage dropped only by about 40,000 k to 318,816.

Closing Words

Depending on how you use your Internet browser, you may fare well in regards to memory use with each of them. If you have lots of tabs open at all times, then you will benefit from using Firefox the most, as the browser is the most memory efficient when it comes to opening a lot of tabs.

If you open and close tabs regularly, you may want to consider using Google Chrome or even Internet Explorer instead, as they appear to recover memory more quickly than Firefox.

Memory use should not play a big role if you are using a computer with plenty of RAM installed. If you have 4 or more Gigabytes of RAM, then it should not usually be a problem if the browser jumps to 1 or even 1.5 Gigabytes of RAM usage.

If you have less than that though, you may benefit from using a memory efficient browser such as Firefox, instead of Chrome or Internet Explorer.


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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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