rrolsbe wrote:Might make sense to create a RAM disk and place the browser binary and/or create swap in part of the additional 256MB of RAM?
Creating a RAM drive (it's not a disk, of course) for swap is completely self-defeating and will slow things down even further. Swap space has to be on external storage outside of RAM (e.g., USB flash memory, USB hard disk, USB solid-state drive (SSD), etc.) as its purpose is to extend the memory address space beyond the limits of RAM, with that extended memory space being called virtual memory.
Putting the browser executable code in a RAM drive may or may not make the browser faster, depending on what else is running in the foreground or background. A better option may be to use the "nice/renice" utilities to increase the precedence of the browser. There are 41 precedence levels, ranging from -20 at the highest level of precedence, down through 0 (medium precedence), to +20 at the lowest level. If you're starting the browser (or any program), the command syntax is:
sudo /usr/bin/nice -n -20 program_name
where program_name is /usr/bin/netsurf, /usr/bin/dillo, /usr/bin/midori, /usr/bin/chromium, /usr/bin/iceweasel, or whatever browser or other program for which you want to control the scheduling precedence. The operating system scheduler uses this precedence that nice sets as an input, not an absolute directive to ensure that users don't clobber system-level processes to the point where critical tasks such as file reads and writes, memory allocation and deallocation, network communications, etc., can't be carried out successfully. Note that I use the term ”precedence" and not "priority" as many people do because, historically, "priority" is a level of precedence in military communications, which also includes "routine", "operational immediate", and "flash".
If a program is already running, it's possible to use "renice" to change its precedence if you use ps -axl | grep program_name to find the process ID (pid) of the program (where program_name is midori, dillo, netsurf, chromium, icewasel, etc.), with the command syntax:
sudo /usr/bin/renice -n -20 -p pid
where pid is the number of the process ID of the program you found using the ps -axl command (ps -axl means "list processes being executed in long format including details". The -20 can be anything from -20 to 20 from highest precedence to lowest as discussed above.
Hope this helps.