Why Does Google Chrome Use So Much RAM?

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Why does Google Chrome use so much RAM? What can you do to stay in control? Here’s how to make Chrome use less RAM.

Google Chrome browser display

If you’ve done any testing into different browsers, you’re already familiar with the fact that Chrome can be a bit of a resource. Take a quick glance at your Task Manager or Activity Monitor, and you’ll often see Chrome at the top of the list.

But why does Chrome use so much RAM, especially compared to other browsers? And what can you do to keep it under control? Here’s how to make Chrome use less RAM.

Does Google Chrome Really Use More RAM?

A few years ago, the only answer was yes. Google Chrome’s RAM-hungry reputation is well known.

However, changes to Google Chrome have increased the browser’s memory usage, especially compared to other popular browsers. Sometimes, Mozilla, Edge, Opera, and Safari all use more RAM than Chrome. How do I know this? I ran a short test, opened Facebook pages, YouTube videos, and several websites, as well as Twitter in another browser, which had been cleared cache(Just installed it)Â p>

The results will surprise you.

Multi-browser test table

There is Google Chrome, occupying the middle of other browsers, and there is more than enough evidence that Chrome is consuming more more RAM than other browsers. If you’ve ever run your own browser’s RAM usage test, there’s a good chance you’ll find Chrome using more RAM than other browsers.

Google Chrome is really one of the fastest browsers, but it requires a lot of RAM to run all of it.

Why is Google Chrome Using So Much RAM?

Google Chrome ran out of memory while trying to display this web page.”

That’s the message you see when Chrome runs out of memory. To understand why Chrome uses so much memory, you need to understand how most modern browsers work.

Every application on your computer runs a process in your computer’s RAM, where the hard work of running your computer takes place. RAM is temporary storage for all kinds of data, and it is very fast. Your CPU can access the data stored in your system RAM much faster than a hard drive or even an SSD.

How does Google Chrome Manage RAM?

Browsers like Chrome manage RAM in this way to offer better stability and faster speeds. But Chrome still uses a lot of RAM. At least, in most cases, it seems to use more RAM than other browsers. Here’s a quick explanation of how Chrome handles RAM.

The main reason for running each process separately is stability. By running each process separately, if one crashes, the entire browser remains stable. Sometimes, the plugin or extension will fail, requiring you to refresh the tabs. If each tab and extension runs in the same process, you may have to restart the entire browser instead of a single tab.

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The downside is that multiple processes can be shared by the browser a single process between tabs must be replicated for each tab in Chrome. Splitting into multiple processes comes with security benefits, similar to sandboxing or using virtual machines.

For example, if a JavaScript attack occurs in one tab, there is no way to cross to another tab within Chrome, whereas it might occur in a single-process browser.

Single-process and multi-process table

Increasing the amount of RAM usage in Chrome are plugins and extensions. Every plugin or extension you add to Google Chrome requires resources to run. The more extensions you install, the more RAM Chrome needs to run.

Pre-rendering is an important example. Pre-rendering allows Chrome to start loading the web page you predict you will open next (perhaps a top search result from Google or a “next page” link on a news site). The pre-rendering process requires resources so it uses more RAM. But it also speeds up your browsing experience, especially for frequently visited sites.

The flip side is that if there is a bug with the pre-rendering process, it can use more RAM than you think, slowing down other areas of your computer or making browser tabs unresponsive.

Chrome RAM Usage on Limited Hardware Device

Chromehas several answers for RAM usage on low-power devices or devices with limited hardware. A general rule of thumb is that when Chrome is running on capable hardware, it will operate using the process model described earlier.

Meanwhile, when Chrome is running on a device with fewer resources, Chrome will combine it into a single process to reduce the overall memory footprint. Using a single process allows resource reduction but risks causing browser instability.

Also, Chrome knows how much memory it’s using. It doesn’t mindlessly eat up every bit of RAM it can find. Chrome limits the number of processes it can start depending on your system hardware. This is an internal limit, but when reached, Chrome switches to running tabs of the same site in a single process.

Update Trying to Stop Chrome Taking Excess Memory

At the end of 2020, the developers of Google Chrome announced they would introduce a RAM-saving feature known as “PartitionAlloc Fast Malloc.” Without digging too deep into the technicalities of the feature, PartitionAlloc had to stop a single process that was consuming more than 10 percent of the total system memory.

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This upgrade comes after Microsoft managed to reduce RAM usage in its Chromium-based Edge browser using “Segment Heap,” another upgrade dedicated to reducing the browser’s memory usage.

Is Google Chrome’s RAM Usage Problem?

How much RAM does Chrome need? Is there a limit to the RAM Chrome will use before it becomes a problem? The answer lies in your system hardware.

Just because Chrome is using a lot of RAM doesn’t mean it’s causing problems. If your system is not using the available RAM, it is of no use to you; your computer uses only RAM to access data quickly and speed up processing. If you keep your RAM as clear as possible, you are not taking advantage of the power of your computer.

Chrome menu display running on computer

Just like on smartphones, cleaning up running processes and RAM might slow things down in the long run. That’s why RAM cleaner and booster is bad for your smartphone.

Chrome is Using Too Much Memory

However, if Chrome is using too much memory, this can be a problem. When Chrome uses too much memory, it limits the amount available to other programs. Chrome can even start struggling to keep important information from your browser available for quick access, negating RAM usage to begin with.

When it comes down to it, Chrome’s RAM usage is only a problem if it slows down your computer, be it your browser or your entire system. If you see Chrome using a lot of memory, but no negative performance consequences, that’s nothing to worry about.

For example, sometimes I open 50 Chrome tabs or more, using 2.5 GB RAM or more. That sounds like a huge amount, but my system has 16GB of RAM to work with, so it’s not a problem. Try the same on a laptop with 4GB of RAM, and you’ll have a bad time.

If Chrome’s memory usage is slowing things down, it’s time to take action.

How to Make Chrome Use Less RAM

There are several ways to speed up your browsing experience and reduce the amount of RAM Chrome uses. The most important tool at your disposal is Chrome Task Manager.

Chrome task manager menu display

Similar to Windows Task Manager, Chrome Task Manager shows the performance and consumption of each tab and extension within the browser. You can use Chrome’s Task Manager to find out what’s using the most memory, then close it to free up space.

On Windows, just press Shift + Esc to access the Task Manager; on a Mac, you’ll need to open it from the Window menu. Select process, then press End process.

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Pay attention to tabs and extensions that are bloated in size. Sometimes, a single Chrome tab can use a lot of memory due to a bug or bad configuration. Sometimes, a Chrome memory leak will crash your browser (or even your entire system).

Manage Plugins and Extensions to Save Chrome Memory

You can disable power-consuming extensions. Alternatively, you can set it to be active only when using certain sites.

Right-click the extension and select Manage extensions. Change “Allow this extension to read and change all your data on the websites you visit” to On click or On certain sites.

If you have a lot of extensions that you use for various things, consider installing a quick extension manager. SimpleExtManager adds a small dropdown box next to your extension tray. Then one click and disable for all extensions.

Install Chrome Tab Management Extension to Reduce Memory Usage

Installing more extensions to manage Chrome’s RAM usage issues sounds counterintuitive, especially after all the issues you’ve just read.

Some of the extensions are specially designed with RAM management in mind, helping you customize how Chrome handles and discards tabs you no longer use.

For example, The Great Suspender lets you suspend processes on all but one tab, instantly reducing how much memory Chrome consumes. The Great Suspender also has plenty of other options, including an Unsuspend all tabs button which comes in handy when you want to reactivate them all.

Another option is The Great Discarder , which lets you adjust how often Chrome discards unused tabs. Chrome discards tabs when not in use to save memory. With The Great Discarder, you can change the length of time, specify which tabs to not discard, and so on.

Is Google Chrome Using Too Much Memory?

Multiple browser apps

Chrome is the dominant browser, globally. Alternative browsers like Firefox and Opera can use the same amount of memory as Chrome, so switching isn’t always the best option.

There are other issues at play too. For example, YouTube uses outdated libraries that make the service run five times slower in Firefox and Opera, using far more resources than necessary. This particular issue has now been fixed but provides an example of how browser market leaders and owners of major online services can impact resource usage across markets.

If you want to continue using Chrome, then do it. Chrome is one of the safe and fast browsers with thousands of amazing extensions and one that is actively working to reduce memory usage.