Edge Memory Usage Improvements are Coming to Chrome Too

Posted on June 18, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge with 12 Comments

Yesterday, Microsoft revealed that the new Edge uses up to 27 percent less RAM when running on Windows 10 version 2004. But the underlying improvement comes from Windows 10, not the browser. And it looks like Chrome users will soon benefit from this as well.

“With Windows 10 [version 2004], Microsoft Edge has leveraged the Windows segment heap memory improvements now available for Win32 applications to manage memory more efficiently,” Microsoft’s Kim Denny explains. “Early internal testing results of devices on [Windows 10 version 2004] are showing a memory usage reduction of up to 27 percent when browsing with Microsoft Edge. Individual device performance will vary based upon configuration and usage, but the lower memory usage is expected to create a better experience.”

As Chrome users well know, high memory/resource usage is the number two issue with the browser, right behind the fact that it is inherently designed to be a privacy-leaking sieve designed to appease advertisers. But this problem, at least, will soon be partially solved, albeit only for those users running the browser on Windows 10 version 2004 or newer.

“Adding a SegmentHeap entry to the chrome.exe manifest will tell recent-enough versions of Windows (20-04 and beyond) to opt chrome.exe into using the segment heap instead of the legacy heap,” a Google Chromium commit says, in reference to the technical change that now benefits Microsoft Edge. “Details are in the bug but it appears that the default Windows heap is tuned for server workloads where throughput is what matters most, and Chromium (especially due to its multi-process architecture) also has to care about memory footprint. Experiments with per-machine opting-in to the segment heap for chrome.exe suggests that this could save hundreds of MB in the browser and Network Service utility processes, among others, on some machines. Actual results will vary widely, with the greatest savings coming on many-core machines.”

So, yes, this should benefit any Chromium-based browser, I believe.

Either way, don’t use Chrome. You should be using any other browser instead, and my recommendation is Microsoft Edge.

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