Geeks With Blogs
John Conwell: aka Turbo Research in the visual exploration of data

In the past three weeks, I've noticed that my laptop (dual core 2.1GHz, 2Gb RAM) has become amazingly sluggish.  I only uses for communications and data lookup workflows, so the slowness was tolerable.  But today I finally got fed up with the suckyness and decided to get to the root of the problem (I do have strong performance roots after all).

It actually didn't take all that long to figure it out.  About a year ago I converted to Google Chrome (away from FireFox).  One of the great tools Chrome has is a "Task Manager" tool, that gives you Windows Task Manager like details for all the tabs open in the browser (Shift + Esc).  Since every tab runs in its own process, its easy from Task Manager (both Windows or Chrome) to identify and kill a single performance offending tab.  This is unlike IE, where you only get aggregate data about all tabs open. 

Anyway, I digress.  Today my laptop sucked.  Windows Task Manager told me that I had two memory hogging Chrome tabs, but couldn't tell me which web page those tabs are showing.  Enter Chrome Task Manager which tells you the page title, along with CPU, memory and network utilization of each tab. 

Enter my amazement.  Turns out Facebook was using just shy of half a Gb of RAM.  Half a Gigabyte!  That's 512 Megabytes!524,288 Kilobytes! 536,870,912 Bytes!  Or 4,294,967,296 Bits!  In other words, that's a frackin boat load of memory. 

Now consider that Facebook is running on pretty much 96.3% (statistics based on absolutely nothing) of every house hold desktop, laptop, netbook, and mobile device in America, that is pretty horrific!

And I wasn't playing any Facebook games like FarmWars or MafiaVille.  I just had my normal, default home page up showing me who just had breakfast, or just got finished with their morning run.

I'm sorry...let me say that again...HALF A GIG OF RAM!  That is just unforgivable.

I can just see my mom calling me up: 
Mom: "John...I think I need a new computer.  Mine is really slow these days"
John: "What do you have running?"
Mom: "Oh, just Facebook"
John: "Ok, close Facebook and tell me how fast your computer feels"
Mom: "Well...I don't know how fast it is.  All I do is use Facebook"
John: "Ok Mom, I'll send you a new computer by Tuesday"

Oh yea...and the other offending web page?  It was Twitter, using a quarter of a Gigabyte.

God I love social networks!

Posted on Monday, June 7, 2010 9:06 AM Ramblings | Back to top

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