Google Chrome taking too much memory

Google Chrome is the browser of choice for many people. You may, however, find that Google Chrome is taking too much memory or RAM on your computer. Task manager processes on your computer may show multiple processes that run under Google Chrome. What may be causing the issue and how could we prevent the issue of Google Chrome taking too much memory on your computer?

Improving performance on the Google Chrome is a result of better browsing habits. That becomes one good starting point for an optimized performance of the Chrome browser.

Disable Hardware Acceleration on Chrome


One of the biggest memory hogs on the Chrome browser is the GPU memory usage. If you watch a lot of 4K videos, you will notice a consistently high GPU usage on the Chrome browser. Load the Chrome task manager by pressing Shift + Esc keys. The biggest memory allocation will be on the GPU process.

To try and conserve memory space allocation for GPU, we will disable the feature of hardware acceleration on the Chrome browser.

Type in the command on browser’s address bar:

chrome://settings

This will open the browser settings. Click on Advanced and choose System to bring up configuration options for the Chrome browser.

Disable the feature of hardware acceleration by using the toggle option. You will need to close the browser and relaunch it for the hardware acceleration to take effect. On my computer, I was able to reduce the GPU memory space allocation to one third of the original memory space allocation by Chrome browser.

The image below shows you the hardware acceleration setting for the Chrome browser. You could disable the hardware acceleration to optimize CPU and memory performance on the computer.

Disable browser extensions on Chrome


Chrome allocates separate memory space for each browser tab and extension. If your browser has multiple extensions, it would be adding extra payload on your computer’s memory resources. Until you have uninstalled an extension or disabled it, Chrome will still load the browser extension in its own memory space. On a similar basis, you will notice a sub-process of GPU Process that takes too much memory on the Chrome browser.

Chrome browser allows you to list sub-processes that consume memory on the computer. To find the processes or tabs or extensions that are taking too much memory on the Chrome browser, we will open the task manager on the Chrome browser. To open the task manager of Chrome browser, we will need to

Click on the 3 dots of Chrome and choose ‘More options’. On the next context menu, choose Task Manager. The shortcut to open Chrome’s in-built task manager is Shift + Esc i.e. the Shift and the Escape key. Chrome’s in-built task manager lays out each tab, extension and process in terms of its CPU and memory usage. The screen shot below lists some of the processes under Chrome’s task manager in terms of memory and CPU utilization.

To disable browser extensions, click on the 3 dots menu of Chrome and choose ‘More Tools’ and ‘Extensions’. This will load all the extensions that are installed for the Chrome browser. Try disabling all the browser extensions on the Chrome browser. Now, load the task manager on the Chrome browser and notice the spread of memory with and without browser extensions.

Close unwanted browser tabs


Similar to the browser extensions that take up independent memory space, you will notice that each tab of the Chrome browser has an independent browser memory space allocated for the process. Understandably, you need to close the unwanted tabs of Chrome browser. This will improve memory and CPU performance on the Chrome browser. In a nutshell, therefore, it is prudent to

  • disable browser extensions that are not being used. This will conserve memory space.
  • close unwanted tabs on the Chrome browser. This will reduce memory space from being spawned on the computer for the unwanted tabs.

One of the simplest, yet most effective, optimization techniques for memory optimization on the Chrome browser is by reducing the number of simultaneous tabs that are active on the browser. Beyond a point, additional browser tabs hog memory and add unnecessary payload on the computer’s performance in terms of CPU and memory.

Disable Site Isolation on Chrome browser


Google Chrome runs each tab and browser extension in an independent memory space. This is also called as running Chrome processes in isolation. This is the default setting for running Chrome on any computer. Disabling the isolation feature on Google Chrome will ensure that each tab or extension does not work in independent memory space or in isolation. In disabling the site isolation feature, we are conserving memory space on the computer. However, this is an experimental feature and opting out of site isolation may have unintended consequences on the Chrome browser. It is worth giving a shot though. If this does not work in improving memory space conservation on your computer, you could look into enabling the site isolation feature again.

To disable site isolation feature on the Chrome browser, please copy and paste the command in the Chrome address bar:

chrome://flags/#site-isolation-trial-opt-out

From the drop down next to the experimental feature of ‘Disable Site Isolation’, choose disabled. In the image capture below, we have highlighted the experimental feature of disable site isolation and the drop down on which you will need to make the change.

With this setting, we are altering the memory allocation process on the Chrome browser. Since it is a toggle operation, you can enable site isolation if there are any issues on your computer’s browser.

We do understand that some people may not be willing to alter the site isolation feature on Chrome browser. That is perfectly fine. Working you way with browser extensions and tabs may offer a good improvement in browser’s memory and CPU performance.

Conclusion


If Chrome is taking too much memory on your computer, please perform one or more of the following optimizations to improve memory space utilization on the computer.

  • disable hardware acceleration on the Chrome browser
  • disable site isolation on Chrome
  • disable browser extensions on Chrome
  • optimize the number of browser tabs in operation at the same time

Taking these four optimization techniques will conserve CPU time and memory used by Chrome on your computer. GPU’s optimization is, probably, the biggest optimization technique to conserve CPU and memory space.