Ignoring what I assume was a frivilous comment from the other poster, you might try resetting Safari. You certainly appear to have enough computer to drive most things. FWIW, in my own case, Safari performs about the same as it did under OS X 10.6. Also in my case, it it at least as fast as my alternate browser (Firefox).
In my case Safari 5.1 uses more RAM and leaks over time, consuming more and more. I wish I could downgrade to 5.0.3.
I have "Reset Safari..." to no avail. 5.1 blows.
I know some have switched to Chrome with good results. I just spend a long time expunging google droppings from my hard drive (they like to install crap EVERYWHERE including eight items in Caches alone. Took forever to find it all using grep), so I'm off the Google kick.
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Safari 5.1 leaks in Snow Leopard too. I have had it take up over 1.5GB of RAM at one point. Quitting and relaunching seems to fix it for a bit. Even reloading my previous pages it starts out using about 200-300MBs of RAM but slowing climbs its way back up to over 1GB. Granted I have 8GB of RAM installed. This is rediculous that Safari is gobbling up so much RAM even when I have the same 6 pages open that only use 100-300MB at startup. As I write this post Safari is using over 860MB of RAM and is slowly climbing.
I've been trying out Chrome the last couple of days since my own tirade against Safari's latest update, and Chrome delivers.
I really loved Safari. It was much faster than any version of IE, and I used it over even FireFox, but now its new executable "webkit2webprocess.exe" file is a major resource hog.
When it works, it's super fast. But it never dumps its resources. It only eats up more RAM for some reason.
Three yaers of Safari has, regrettbly, come to an end for the time being.
After using Chrome for the last 2-some years, I decided to give Safari 5.1 a try (mainly for Smart Zoom). Just now, I had to quit Safari because the webprocess process had over 2GB of memory. It took me about 15 minutes of elapsed time for me to quit Safari; the system was that bogged down. It's back to Chrome for me.
Reading your OP I was relieved that it wasn't because that I and others had older machines. Safari was an incredibly fast browser on my old computer, verse IE which kept cacheing and shuffleing resources. Safari would DL the page immediately, but started to slow down a little an update or two prior to 5.1
So, my guess is that it's not just the latest upgrade, but perhaps one that's been building on the previous upgrades, and is now just become too big for even the most robust machines.
Just my two bits.
Just a "me too" post.
After initially starting up Safari 5.1 and restoring my many many tabs (yeah, I know), Safari tends to use about 300 megs of memory. Nothing is loading or playing on the tabs but I can watch that memory number slowly creep higher and higher. Safari eventually reaches 2.5GB or so (and I have 8GB of ram), giving me little free memory space and obviously slowing Safari actions down. Eventually I just give up and restart the app.
The PDF / Safari 5.1 problem is also annoying.
Safari 5.1 is a huge disappointment.
I've been greatly disappointed & ticked ever since downloading this awful downgrading of Safari. I'm at over 2 GBs of memory, & it will rise to over 5 GIGS after awhile, which is an absurd amount of drain! Everything slows, sometimes I have to wait a minute aftter writing a single sentence, plus I've been having text issues & mouse issues, finding it impossible to click on the last line of anything I write, it will go to the front of the sentence, not the end, & is really infuriatingly frustrating.
I called Apple a month ago, and a higher level tech person said they were well aware of all the bugs, & promised a fix would be released "ASAP". When a couple weeks passed with no relief, I called again, talked to another higher up guy, but he refuted the first, said they haven't been getting any feedback about people having problems, blah, blah, blah, & that I should disable all my add-ons! Well, as we all know, many have done that, & it doesn't fix the issue.
I pray they are not really trying to pretend all our issues don't exist, cause they'll find a mass exodus from Safari, if this continues much longer....
PLEASE be sure to send Apple your comments & especially that you're switching browsers, via Feedback! Unless they hear from all of us, they can continue with their heads in the ground.,
I ended up on this page because I noticed that Safari was consuming a large amount of memory. Oddly though Safari seems really fast and this is my first time using it as my primary browser (aside from iPhone). Previously, I've always run Firefox because I was primarily a hackint0sh user and it just worked the best. But on my newly purchased MacBook Air it seems like Safari just screams performance. Is this a memory leak or is this part of Lion's new concept that opens programs up where you left them off? Seems like a lot of apps on 10.7 Lion use more memory than they did on my 10.6 SnowLeopard hackintosh. I dunno. My MBA seems to do better with battery life when I close tabs that utilize flash. It probably is a memory leak. But oddly, these multi-touch gestures in Safari 5.1 have me glued to it. I refuse to use Chrome or Firefox until they implement the gestures.
Mac SE's solution is the best; however, if you're set on using Safari, here's a link that shows you what to do to make an egregious situation tolerable, dunno if it completely solves it, but it helps significantly:
In words: highlight your Safari App icon, choose "Get Info" and near the top there is a box to check "Open in 32 bit" (apparently running in 64 bit is causing the memory leak.
I'm running OS X 10.6.8 and was finding the Safari Web Content process was growing upwards of 1 GB (!!!) of Ram and the Safari Process was upwards of 300 MB (look in Activity Monitor under My Processes for these) and just kept on growing with time, before putting in this "fix". Now SWC is staying arounf 300 MB and Safari is about 100 MB; this is with one window with six tabs open.
For comparison's sake having four windows with 8-10 tabs each open in Camino takes about 275 MB. That said, this breaking up and "sandboxing" of the Safari processes is supposed to provided better security. But it would be nice if a certain company would inform its customers about this issue and provide this simple, fairly effective solution until a fixed update comes along.
I have 8 Gigs of RAM and wasn't running anything else heavy duty with the browser open, so I wasn't having a lot of slowdown problems, but for those with only 2 GB of RAM, I could see this as being a show stopper.
And for the record, I don't think it is a Lion thing, it is a Safari 5.1 thing.