Opera slows to a crawl and hogs memory like no other application I have

  • I've been a steady Opera user since 9.x. Prior to that I would check it out periodically but have stuck with it since 9.x (which, incidentally, has my absolute favorite UI of all versions).

    However...

    Even with the 9.x series, I've noticed that Opera can consume huge amounts of memory if it's available. When it hits just over 500MB, it starts to slow to a crawl. I first started to notice this in 9.x on Windows XP years ago (~2007-2008_. Back then, the machine I was running was a dual processor Dell Precision 690 with 2GB of RAM and a pair of dual core Xeon 5130 processors running Windows XP. I started to notice that Opera's performance would degrade to the point of being unusable when it hit 500MB or more. Closing it and reopening it would help, but it would consistently run slow as soon as it would hit that magic 500MB number.

    Eventually I upgraded to 10.10 and, sure enough, the exact same issue would pop up. Over the years I've lived with it, but began to use Firefox more and more. Recently since I've been using it more in favor of Firefox (despite FF's NoScript plugin not being available for Opera) and with my current 12.16 install the memory usage is even more out of control. Maybe 10 minutes before signing up and creating this thread I was at 1.7GB of RAM with only 6 tabs open. One in Outlook.com, one in Gmail, and the other 4 in google searches. I had to kill the process in Process Explorer just to be able to close it. My curren machine is an laptop with an i3-330UM and 8GB of RAM wunning Windows 7-64 bit. No other application I run holds on to this much memory, not even my Solaris 10 x86 VM w/2GB of RAM running under VirtualBox.

    I'm at a point of frustration. Will there ever be a fix for this? I've done enough searches and have seen the same issue reported as far back as I've been having this problem. I've disabled as much caching in Opera as possible and yet it's still hanging on to large amounts of my RAM.

  • Form Opera 12.16 ?, not likely. Support and development for Opera (presto) 12.17 and below has pretty much all but stopped, apart from a security update back at the end of April this year (which was 12.17, for Windows). There maybe an offer of more security updates in the future if Opera deems they are needed. All support and development now is for the new Opera (Blink rendering engine) version of the desktop browser, based on the Chromium code base which Opera ASA rolled out towards the middle of last year that started a version 15, and is currently at version 24 on the stable branch and version 26 on the developers (beta) branch.

  • Are you currently running Opera 12.16 in its 32 or its 64-bit form? In the old Opera Forum, I recall that there were a fair number of users running the 64-bit Opera program version who experienced peculiarly high memory-usage behavior and/or instability with the 12.xx series - there seemed never to be an identifiable cause, whereas many other users never had problems with the 64-bit version. For the problem cases, a switch to the 32-bit form of Opera generally fixed things. However, there were also a few users with 32-bit Opera who had their own memory "runaway" problems with 12.xx, so even it had its "issues" for some users. I recall that the more tabs that a user had open, the more issues with memory, lagging, and instability that he was likely to encounter. I'm pretty much a 1 or 2-tab user, so it's not something I've ever run across with the later Presto Opera versions (10-12.xx), though I once did back in the midst of the 10.xx series.

    As @linuxmint7 has noted, all development of Presto Opera versions has stopped, other than possible security fixes for a while yet. The newer Opera versions (Blink-engine based) are currently issued as a separate browser-family installation, not via upgrade to the old Presto series (12.xx and below). User differences between the two families are significant, as are the system impacts (not the least of which is that each tab now runs in a separate process, which affects hardware differently than before, especially on older systems - you can't fix system-load problems now simply by adding more RAM).

  • Answering the opening question: This is because the web browser, whichever you chose, is more capable than any other application you have.

    The web browser is an application that can run other applications and it's much like an operating system itself (and everyday more). And the specifications for building these web pages and "web apps", aka the web standards, are ever improving and receiving new functions so developers can build even more complex web apps/pages. Outlook.com and GMail today are not like Hotmail and GMail from 10 years ago (pre-Opera9), they're much more feature-rich, use caching for messages, have better performance and smoothness, animations, decreased full page reloads through intensive use of JavaScript, etc. The browsers evolved and use more resources to be able to deal with that and offer all these features to web developers.

    I didn't experience this slowness you're describing in Opera 9~11. But in Opera 12+ it started to handle plug-ins differently so you may have a problem with that, this might be a source of a memory leak. On top of that pages are much more complex now and Presto isn't able to deal with them anymore, this is independent of RAM usage.

    You should try Opera 24 (Chromium-based, changed everything: engine, handle of pug-ins, multiprocess architecture, user interface, etc). Independent of RAM usage (either more or less being utilized) you'll see the better performance.

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