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There is a very peculiar problem I've seen on my cousin's PC and I am not 100% sure what's causing that.

The problem is, that when browsing every bigger page (with multiple pictures and such) takes approximately 3-5 seconds to fully load, regardless of which browser we were using. The problem got even worse when we tried to run multiple tabs/windows.

The problem should not lie in Internet connection, as I've checked that one is 7Mbps, thus I assume the problem lies in his PC not having enough RAM and CPU output. His CPU: AMD Athlon XP 2000+ (1.6 GHz) and he has 512MB RAM (I don't know which kind, I don't know what motherboard either) and all that is running on top of Windows XP. When we took a peek on task manager to track CPU usage and available memory, it did seem to be the case... and yet I am unsure.

Is it really possible that the hardware is the bottleneck here? Afterall, how much CPU power and RAM should one have to browse internet comfortably?

I should also add, that his computer does look rather clean. There aren't many processes in background neither does it seem to be infected with viruses or worms.

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I highly depends on the web site. If it is using flash and JAVA and other plug-ins of course the hardware can become the bottleneck. Please tell us what website you are talking about. – Thorsten Staerk Dec 29 '13 at 14:47
It is really, every website with some content. E.g. – Kreweta Dec 29 '13 at 15:29
If it's an old computer could it possibly also be browser related? – Autumnal Dec 29 '13 at 17:25
Try installing browser extensions like AdBlock Plus to reduce the amount of content to display and set the Flash plugin to "click-to-play" so that it doesn't load by default. – user256743 Apr 30 '14 at 18:43

Its both hardware and faulty software problem. Yes, 512MB of RAM can cause that problem.
For example, my Firefox and Chrome eat a lot of RAM (500-700MB) when I just scroll and read the news from Facebook. And I saw them reaching 1.2GB (!) while playing browser games (such as Vector) for an hour.

Why I also mentioned "software problem"? Because browser plug-ins such as Flash often cause high RAM usage because of bad memory handling.

Also avoid bad sites, because a bad man behind a bad site can use bad techniques like Heap Spraying which use a lot of RAM (filled with NOP) to exploit your browser and execute a bad code. Don't ask how, it's another theme ;)

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