Andrew Ducker (andrewducker) wrote,
Andrew Ducker

Fun with Firefox (or: that's where my CPU went)

I installed the latest version of Firefox this morning. This has the new feature of running Flash in a separate process to the main browser. While it's not as good as running all plugins in a separate process (see here for details on that project) it's a step in the right direction, with three interesting effects.

Firstly, if Flash crashes it no longer takes down Firefox with it. Which doesn't really affect me, as Firefox hasn't crashed on me in months, but I believe some people had problems with this.
Secondly, the Windows process explorer will now tell me the CPU usage of the plugins separately from the page itself.

Which told me that while 22% of my CPU was taken up by playing a video on YouTube, and 8% was being taken up by Firefox itself doing nothing. Odd, I thought, why would Firefox be using 8% of its CPU up doing bugger all. So I closed down all my tabs, and discovered I was still using CPU, for doing nothing.

Time to look at my addons. Starting with the most recent one, which was autopagerizer - which turned out to be the culprit. Disabling it brought CPU usage down to 2-3%, which seems reasonable for the 20-odd other extensions I have running.

The third interesting effect (for those of you that have been keeping track) is that the two process can run on different CPUs, which means that I can run a high-CPU-usage flash game/HD video without bringing firefox to a crashing halt, as the second CPU takes the strain. Now _that_ is useful.

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