minimizing memory usage
I think my computer is fairly strong. It has a good Athlon XP 2000+ processor. However, the weak point appears to be memory, considering that apparently one needs alot of memory these days to intensively work with modern applications such as for example firefox.
I have 256 MB total of real RAM, but 16 MB of that is allocated to the onboard graphics subsystem (savage) leaving me with 240 MB of overall system memory. Now, when I start my Arch system up and enter even the minimal openbox window manager I still have more than 90% of system memory already taken up basically leaving barely 10% of it for whatever programs I intend to use.
You can imagine that after having alot of tabs open in firefox for a while performance starts to drop dramatically, especially when being in firefox for a while and then switching to another app running in another workspace or vice versa. It sometimes takes more than a minute just to load the application I'm switching to. The suspect, of course, is simply lack of memory and too much disk swapping (which is much slower than memory).
So, does anyone has ideas on how to minimize memory usage and increase performace? Also, do you think that having a too big swap partition (like I have 2 GB of swap) can make a computer fill in the real system memory faster than it should, for whatever reason therefore moving to swap faster? Is it generally good to have a big swap partition anyway, or is it better to stick with standard 512 MB swap partition that seems to be standard?
What is your memory setup and how does it work for you?