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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Comments (17)

17 responses to “Edge Memory Usage Improvements are Coming to Chrome Too”

  1. igor engelen

    Well I guess that's good and bad news.

    This doesn't improve the memory usage of Edge on other OS'es but with Edge being very important on Windows it makes sense though.

    On Mac with 8 tabs open with varying content Edge uses 199MB. No clue if that's a lot.


    Edit: been looking into this in a bit more detail and it's well over 1 GB, I missed some Edge helper processes.

  2. longhorn

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


    So Chrome OS is a no-go for you now?

    That's great news! We shouldn't support one browser platforms. The browser is an important tool so there should always be choice.


  3. F4IL

    Obviously, this bug is specific to memory allocation on Windows where Chrome is using up to 27% more memory than it should.

  4. darkgrayknight

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

    Brave is also great. Currently I've been using FireFox for work (greater flexibility).

    • mikebaz

      In reply to darkgrayknight:

      given the recent shanigans with Brave and link rewriting, I don't see how anyone could trust it for anything at this point.

      • wright_is

        In reply to mikebaz:

        It wasn't link re-writing, it was auto-completing manually entered URLs with affiliate references. Not good, but they weren't re-writing clicked on links.

        (I'm a Firefox user, just for the record.)

      • Paul Thurrott

        Wow. I guess we can take a stand on this issue, which didn't invade anyone's privacy in any way, harm the results of their searches, or change the user experience at all. Or just see it for what it was, an attempt, a poor one, for this tiny company to generate a little bit of revenue akin to a tip jar. I look at it like this. Mistakes happen. You need to look at intent. And you need to pay attention to how they respond. Brave never intended or caused harm. And it responded the correct way, quickly.
  5. proftheory

    ChrEdge is my #2 browser with Firefox #1. I started on Netscape Communicator 3.01 back in the day.

  6. dftf

    Finally ONE advantage to using the 2004 release!

  7. anderb

    If you read the chromium bug report, it was a chrome developer that investigated the Windows memory usage and discovered a significant proportion of the claimed memory usage had actually been freed but Windows wasn't clever enough to recognise it.


    It was that same *chrome developer* who then approached Microsoft to provide a way to access the segment heap instead of the regular heap:


    "One option is to use the segment heap instead of the regular heap. Currently there is no API for enabling the segment heap. These registry commands can be used to enable and disable the segment heap for chrome.exe:

    ...<registry commands removed>...

    Testing has shown that this saves (on my test machine) about 200 MB of memory, or about 30% of the total...Assigning to myself since I am coordinating with Microsoft to try to get an API to opt-in to the segment heap. CCing a relevant Microsoft developer."


    So Microsoft created the API requested by the Chrome developer to access the segment heap to lower the Chrome memory usage under Windows, ensured Credge was the first to implement it, announced to the press that "hey, we've improved Chredge memory usage under Windows 10 2004" and then slipped in "Oh yeah, Chrome might benefit from this too". How big of them.


    Same old Microsoft.

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