Replay: Open http://www.google.com/search?tbm=isch&hl=en&cr=&safe=active&q=wallaby&orq=wallaby+filetype:jpg&tbs=isz:lt,islt:40mp,ic:color,ift:jpg&biw=1680&bih=970 for instance. Click on the 1st eight images or so with the MIDDLE mouse-button (to open them in background)... Firefox (Aurora as well) will eat up more than 1GB quickly. The more images you open, the more the system (and Firefox of course) will become unresponsive – running into a "swap of death". You can easily freeze a system with 4 or even 8 GB this way. Under Linux it looks like this: firefox.bin/status:Uninterruptible/Memory:1.2 GiB/Waiting Channel:sync_page Doing the same with your contestants yields: Opera: using about 600 MB – reacting quickly Chrome: using about 58 MB – reacting fine Conclusion: Pictures should be decompressed on the fly – when being active (in foreground). Most CPUs (GPUs?) ought to be fast enough for this job. Firefox should postpone loading more images if running out of memory. This is bugging everyone dealing with large pictures (photographers, people in the printing business, etc.). Again – while Firefox can easily bring down an 8 GB workstation this way, both Opera and Google Chrome could do the same on a Netbook (and much faster).
bug 660577 / bug 661304 / bug 573583 / ... Note that Firefox 7 will be discarding images in background tabs quicker.