Return to

Chrome Browser performance with tons of tabs, cpu or memory bound?

My Lots-o-tabs include:

  • Email (sometimes x2), music player, IM/IRC
  • if I’m reviewing some doc, then usually other docs for cross referencing, various source code/test result monitors, search and research tabs, various monitoring system pages and web status pages of various servers. … depends what the doc is.
  • looking at a bug is similar
  • if I’m coding then whatever search and research tabs, tabs with related source code, tabs with test results, and so on.
  • if in a meeting, then one of the tabs will be a Hangouts call, one will be a shared doc, depending on the meeting either a couple of open tabs with bugs discussed on the meeting or some other doc or an incident annotation tool or something else.
  • if I’m oncall and got paged trying to debug an incident, then usually an incident response/annotation tool + various related pieces of documentation and code + internal server webpages + monitoring consoles + potentially useful graphs of related things usually one per tab usually one per tab - this can spiral out quickly. Sometimes you can be in a middle of dealing with one incident when I get paged for another thing that may or may not be related, doesn’t happen often but it does happen.

The problem occurs when I’m in the middle of a coding session waiting on my tests to compile and run (any second now for minutes at a time), then I start looking at something else in the meantime and I keep the context in tabs around, and then it’s time to go to a meeting, or I get paged and start looking at what’s going on there. At that point I’m swapping my brain between multiple activities and keeping context in open tabs. Note that there’s also a code editor around with multiple windows usually and files in tabs (especially if doing c++ damn you header files and PIMPL), but let’s say those don’t count, and there’s terminal windows all connected to the same tmux session, but those don’t count either.

There’s a chrome extension called quick tabs that I use that makes finding tabs easier, but I don’t have a good way of grouping tabs into activities. I try to keep tabs belonging to different activities in separate windows, but there’s no way to group windows per activity easily. And then there’s your email and IM/IRC that are cross cutting, so something like virtual desktops with windows that permeate all desktops would be good to have.

50-150 … ok swapped out context, maybe I’m forgetting to close something but I’m not seeing it and therefore not going to spend time hunting it down as long as the browser is dealing with it.
200 … I’m anticipating a browser crash, or at least one of the sandboxes, when I notice I’ll clean up and be down to 50.

Basically, I expect a computer/browser that I’m using should be able to deal with this pattern. It’s just a machine it shouldn’t care or not care about tab count, and I expect the limiting factor of my productivity to be my own workflows and habits, not my browser.

1 Like

You are telling the computer to hold all the tabs open and ready for use and there will be a resource footprint for that.

Either accept the footprint, or clean up your workflow?

The limiting factor here IS your workflow/habits - rather than keeping tabs open, use history, bookmarks, reading list, whatever. Chrome is doing exactly what you tell it to do, just that what you’re telling it to do is a waste of resources. You can’t have it both ways: tabs ready to use, in memory and running in the background - without a resource hit. You just can’t.

Unless you want it to arbitrarily start killing/suspending tabs in the background, but then “you” (or people like you) will complain that chrome is killing scripts running in open tabs you have in the background to conserve resources, at some arbitrary resource consumption boundary.

A button to “hibernate” tabs would be great. Or continue a session but only load tabs when clicked on (like Vivaldi does).

I’m using Auto Tab Discard on Firefox. It does exactly that. I’m also a tab horder of sorts. My work Firefox can easily go beyond 100 Tabs. Auto Tab Discard allows for exceptions (For my Mail, Monitoring, Pinned Tabs) And suspends everything else. It saves the location on page correctly and restores as soon as i select a tab. This plus Tree Style Tabs are the core of my browsing.

But i too have had Problems with chrome. It just tends to feel laggy at some point. I also couldn’t pin point the reason. CPU and RAM wheren’t overly used etc. I just switched back to Firefox and didn’t care to deal with it further.

1 Like

sounds like… history… or a bookmarks menu to me… :smiley:

This functionality already exists. :slight_smile:

It’s a different usecase. I hate History because every instance of a website i visit is there. Every subpage every link. It’s just to much. Bookmarks take an additional step. I need to manually bookmark something, give it a name…

With tabs i can use DuckDuckGo to find what i need, it’s there as long as i need it. When i don’t anymore, i close it. If i need it all the time, i pin it. It takes up less space and isn’t accidentally closed. The History and Bookmarks take an additional space out of my Browser besides the Tabs. I have them already there, why use a second or third bar to manage the same stuff?

Oh I’m happy to accept the footprint, if chrome needs 16GB of ram, and .2 cores used all the time just for chrome and chrome is happy with that and not laggy that’s fine with me.

From my perspective it’s a small price to pay for productivity, and personally I can afford it … but…

… I’m guessing different people have different expectations.

The 50-150 tabs on a broadwell i7 laptop with 16GB of ram and a pair of external 4k screens, running mostly chrome tabs works fine for me as a developer. (My actual code and building is on a server).

1 Like

I got probably arround 1200 bookmarks, I use the little recycling bin
wich is like a quick-access to the history, quite often.
Yet still, there are at least 40 tabs open (half of wich is loaded) at all times.

I haven’t read the whole thread yet, but I think he’s looking for a way to through hardware at the situation. The question is: what needs to be changed in order to give chrome what it needs for this workload.

Depends on what the tabs you have open contain (i.e., my chrome requirements will have a different profile to yours, etc.). Javascript heavy ones (like everything these days) will need both RAM and CPU.

This can be measured via task manager or performance monitor or the equivalent on your OS of choice.

I should clarify that; is chrome built to scale with hardware to increase performance?

I worked with a client a few months ago that runs SketchupPro. We built him a threadripper machine with 32GBs of RAM. However Sketchup could not scale up to the hardware and he still experienced long render times.

Chrome is process-per-tab, so more tabs should scale with cores.

In theory it scales, but when its laggy the cores aren’t actually loaded much.

I think its just the constant hammering of the ssd with reads and write behavior once you have a ton of tabs.

I have ameliorated the problem some what by just moving the google user directory from appdata to its own SSD and junction pointing it so now my browsers leave my boot drive in peace.

Linkshell Extension for the lazy way.

After all this talk, i’m giving the “all Bookmarks” workflow a shot. Firefox does search through Bookmarks when typing in the Adressbar. Is there an option to get Bookmarks as the first option (before autocomplete, open tabs and maybe even search)?
I’m saving lots of information and know-how things. It would be great if FF would show those first, if i start searching for something.

Edit: I just switched the workflow. I scrapped the Treestyle Tabs (as i don’t need them anymore, right?) and put the bookmarks bar on the left. Now i need to find out if there is a shortcut to search there.

This conversation is flawed from the concept of chrome.

Back in the 90’s chrome did matter… now it only matters in how much extra spying on you they do.

1 Like

Linus has finally answered the question:innocent:

The bottleneck is your cpu

  • assuming you have 2TB of RAM

If you have say, 1 GB of RAM (or even 4 GB) and a quad core, it’s probably not.

Will also depend on WHAT each one of those tabs is doing. Static 16k photos in each one will use more RAM than CPU. Whereas a copy of facebook or whatever in each tab will use a lot more CPU.