Google Chrome 45 Update Tames Memory Consumption, Goes Easy On Your Battery

It's no secret that Google's Chrome browser loves to hog RAM. In fact, it sometimes seems like it wouldn't matter how much RAM is tossed at the browser - it's going to find a way to eat it up. Months ago, I had such bad experiences with this that the browser would lag my entire PC (and that was with 16GB of RAM!), an issue that a subsequent beta ended up fixing. Still, proper memory fixes in Chrome are long, long overdue, because when the issues are bad enough to spawn an entire meme, there's a definite need for attention.

Google Chrome Memory Usage

Fortunately, attention is being paid to this, and with the brand-new version 45, benefits can be reaped from the hard work of Google's engineers. In the example video below, we can see that with the same tabs open (with no extensions loaded whatsoever), a page that took 225MB of RAM in Chrome 43 takes just 167MB in Chrome 45. A small gain, sure, but multiply that by the number of tabs you usually have open, and it makes an even more significant difference.

One aspect of this head-to-head benchmark stands out, though. At the same point in both browser versions, Chrome 43 hits 1.9% CPU usage, while Chrome 45 hits 9%. This could just be normal variance, but it does stand out, and makes it appear that while RAM usage goes down, CPU spikes go up. That's not to say that the CPU usage stays high for long; it's just that the browser apparently requires more CPU power to be more memory efficient. I guess we just can't have it all.

Part of the move for memory optimization boils down to improving battery-life on notebooks. Tying into this, Google updated Chrome in June to automatically pause Flash content that's not the primary content on a page, and also in the current version, things such as ads can automatically be paused. The only thing better will be when Flash dies off entirely. Oh what a glorious day that will be!