When I have about 20 opened tabs of Chromium I see the hard disk starts writing and everything start to freeze. I have to 'killall' Chromium. Previously I had installed google-chrome and the same was happening. Is it normal or it could be a bug? Someone experienced the same?

My laptop is a Acer Aspire E1-571G with i5 processor 2.6GHz 8GB ram. gentoo distro with gnome as graphical system

UPDATE: a big shame on me because I found out I didn't activate HIGHMEM64 config on my kernel (I don't know why) so I was running with ~2 Gb of ram instead of 8..

  • Have a look in /var/log/syslog right after that happens. The hard disk thing is strange, it may be an I/O failure for blocks used by chromium locking the system up. – goldilocks Dec 6 '13 at 14:43
  • My suggestions: try to start up chromium without extensions, maybe with chromium --bwsi (guest mode, no extensions, bookmarks, etc), then check for the same behaviour. Constantly monitor memory usage with the chromium task manager (tools menu). Try disabling plug-ins too. – agravier Dec 6 '13 at 17:29
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    I would say that memory was being swapped out to the hard drive, but I doubt that would happen with 8GB of RAM and only 20 Web pages open, unless these are huge pages. – Wutaz Dec 6 '13 at 21:19
  • thank you for the answers! I'll try your suggestions and then I'll let you know. – riskio Dec 7 '13 at 9:46

Maybe you're overloading the browser disk cache. You've got enough RAM for you to use some of the available RAM to give your browser cache some help. In Firefox you can do this by typing about:config in the address bar and then modifying the entry for browser.cache.memory.max_entry_size to a higher number such as 512000.

This is one of the reasons why I prefer Firefox to Chromium. I frequently have 20 or more tabs open in Firefox at the same time, but my Firefox never buckles under pressure.

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    There is some stuff you can look at via chrome://about, it varies in nature. Some of it is settings but a lot of it is just links to web fluff. Which totally sucks -- firefox is way superior in terms of configurability. – goldilocks Dec 7 '13 at 12:16

The reason is that chromium works differently than other browsers. Firefox has a single process for all the tabs you open, but chromium creates one process for every tab that has a good nice value too, so when you open more number of tabs, your system will be as fast as snail.

top will be a good proof for it.

enter image description here

  • Uh, but the one firefox instance is consuming 20X the memory of a chrome instance. I've used both firefox and chrome constantly for long periods of time, 2-3 windows, several dozen tabs and never noticed any significant difference in the consumption of system resources. – goldilocks Dec 7 '13 at 10:32
  • You must have got huge RAM though. – Ruban Savvy Dec 7 '13 at 10:34
  • No, they both seem to use >1 GB. Right now there are 20 chrome PIDs, 12 of those make it onto the MEM leaderboard in top. They range in size from 35 - 135 MB RSS, but 20-50% of that is shared. Firefox usually has fewer, but much bigger, processes. – goldilocks Dec 7 '13 at 11:07
  • Now its like greek. IMHO! – Ruban Savvy Dec 7 '13 at 11:51
  • RSS = "residential set size" (in top: RES). That's the amount of actual RAM accessible by the process. Most of it is private, meaning it is RAM committed exclusively for that process. But some of it is shared (in top: SHR), meaning other processes use it too. If I have 10 100 MB processes which all share a 50 MB chunk, the total amount of RAM consumed is 550 MB: 10 * 50 + 50. Unfortunately in top you can't tell who shares what with whom; the shared portion is too complicated, you'd have to chart it individually for each process. But you can see the total amount of the RSS that is shared. – goldilocks Dec 7 '13 at 12:11

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