If you have problems with Firefox taking up ever-increasing amounts of RAM, here is a temporary fix until they patch the mem leaks. When I minimize my browser, the memory it takes up reduces to about 10 mb. It increases again when you return to the window, but not usually by as much as it was before. Kinda neat. :)
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I wonder why I don't run into this problem? My Firefox averages around 40MB of memory usage.
Does the means of connectivity factor into it? For instance, I have cable broadband and I don't have problems, but a friend of mine has NetZero and for whatever reason he had to switch back to IE because it was dragging so bad (and occasionally crashing).
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It used to be that whenever the full Java VM was loaded it'd get stroppy, but it's been much better in v1.5.
At the same time, memory is not really an issue when you've got 1GB in your machine. If you're running on a system with 256, especially if it's using shared memory for video (why, oh why?), I would highly recommend an upgrade. I have little interaction with Windows these days, but IMHO it isn't a pleasant experience with less than 512MB. A 256MB DIMM is very likely to be less than 50 of your finest US Dollars. If you've already got plenty of RAM, perhaps it's time to clear your cache and cookies and history and the like.
The issues Deputy Marshall mentioned may have to do with pre-caching. On a dial-up connection there's no advantage, only Teh Pain(tm). I'm pretty sure that's one of the things that's built into and turned on by default in the latest version.
So I would say that this may not be an issue if you close Firefox regularly. If you go to lots of websites without closing Firefox, each one stays in memory.
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I don't know the answer to your question. You could, however, switch to one of the streaming formats so that you don't have to worry about this until a mac person can answer. I'm assuming you have broadband acccess though.