Any Google Chrome power users will be painfully aware the web browser can be a total system resource hog at times. Each and every tab runs as its own process, and if you run into a problem with one it can affect them all. Chrome 57 looks to change all this. It’s going to lessen the load on the CPU by throttling any tabs which are running in the background.
The way Chrome 57 is going to work is that it will consider any of your currently open and visible tabs as active tabs. All the others will be classed as background tabs. Chrome 57 will then throttle the performance of these other tabs, limiting average CPU per tab to 1% of a single core of your CPU.
As you would expect, this has cause some problems during testing. Some websites, such as those displaying video or music content, need to be running at full speed and require an active connection. Throttle Spotify and it’ll no longer work correctly. Google has been tweaking the data set based on this, identifying which tabs need to be used and which don’t at any given point.
What’s really interesting, and I can attest to this after checking my phone’s battery life, is that Google estimates Chrome consumes a third of the total power usage on an average PC, laptop or other mobile device. That’s a huge power drain, but Chrome 57 should decrease the number of active background tabs by around 25% via this new throttling mechanism.
From a gaming point of view, anything that reduces the CPU or RAM usage of Chrome is going to be good news. I know a lot of folks like to multi-task with Chrome open on another monitor and flick between the two. This change should minimize the performance impact of Google Chrome while PC gaming.
The new version of Chrome 57 is actually out now and you can grab it here, or your current browser version should just auto-update at some point. For mobile users the new version is also available on both Android and iOS.