12.04 Music Player Review – Memory Usage

As promised, I look next into the memory usage of each of the players in this biannual music player review.  Note, these tests are on a 64 bit machine, so they would be about double compared to a 32 bit machine.


I wanted to reduce the affect of shared libraries on these results.  So I started each program individually via the startx command.  No other program should have been running.   The one exception is amarok, who couldn’t start that way (it crashed).

After reviewing about 3 different ways to measure memory I gave up and went pack to ps.  The two memory numbers I measured were VSZ (virtual) and RSS (resident memory).  Or in other words:

  • virtual memory – memory app has requested and can address
  • resident memory – memory currently in use ~ much better measure of actual memory usage

It’s important to note that there are many articles describing how you can’t measure memory usage perfectly on Linux.  I provide the virtual memory for reference, but the RSS is what I would consider the key metric.   Don’t consider the results “absolute”, but it should be good enough to get some trends from.

Virtual Memory Usage Virtual Memory Usage


 Resident Memory (closest to “real’)Resident memory

These ratings are only based on RSS:

Best: Audacious, followed closely by Musique.

Second Best: Guayadeque & Banshee.  Banshee was the worst in my previous review, where I was very concerned about it using 40 MiB of memory (on 32 bit).  I even complained that not all of us have 4 GB of ram (I now do.. oops) when it was chosen to replace Rhythmbox in the default Ubuntu cds.  Although Banshee did end up getting removed for political reasons (mono related), kudos to them for improvement in the memory usage space.

Average: At about 100 MiB on a 64 bit machine.   Clementine and Gmusicbrowser were slightly better than Quod Libet and Rhythmbox.

Worst: In a category of it’s own is Amarok, The first time I tested Amarok, it used 700 MiB.  It’s *only* at 400 MiB in “real” memory usage now though.  It also had a weird virtual memory jump.

Tune in next time for CPU usage when playing a song.

11 thoughts on “12.04 Music Player Review – Memory Usage”

  1. My choice is Gmusicbrowser as it’s a very fully feature app designed for large collections. I have 44000+ mp3s, which took banshee and Rhythmbox most of the day to scan! Gmusicbrowser took barely any time at all.

  2. I have tried so many media players and I truly love audacious. I believe Ubuntu and or any othe rmajor distro should make it the default player

  3. The Amarok numbers are weird. On my 64bit Kubuntu system it uses ~230 MB RSS. That’s still the worst by far, but it’s also only half of what you get on your system.
    Something’s strange here imho…

    1. Indeed, if you happen to have another desktop environment installed, I would be curious about what happens when it is run from there.

    2. On my 64bit Kubuntu system Amarok uses only 75MB+50MB virtual. Last time I tried banshee was unusable in Ubuntu, because it was buggy, unstable and unresponsive. It’s not surprising since it’s mono based.

    3. the problem with amarok is that it needs much of qt and kde internals so it hat to load them on non KDE environments. Its after all a KDE Musik Player. takes about (start->)60-150(<-playing)MiB here. while bunshee on my Kubuntu desktop needs 200-400MiB

      after all amarok will not be an option for not-kde-users. because in future it will depend more and more in kde technologies (like nepomuk and stuff, telepathy stuff (for tomahawk support)) and thats what a well integrated player is and i think they should keep it in this direction. not be a multienv-player, but would be the best choise für kde-users

  4. Btw. banshee wasn’t removed, because of political reasons. It was default, because of political reasons, but when it proved to be unusable mess it was removed.

  5. Banshee was officially removed because they wanted to use GTK3 and banshee was still on GTK2.

    Banshee is neither unusable or a mess. And this post has just proved that it is not a memory hog like the haters keeps saying.

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