Windows 10 feature could help Chrome use less memory

Shawn Knight

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As recently outlined by a Google engineer, the Chromium team is adding a segment heap entry to Chrome that will prompt the browser to use the newer heap on compatible systems (Windows 10 version 2004 and later) rather than the legacy heap.

The dev notes that the default Windows heap appears to be tuned for server workloads where throughput is valued above all else. Due to Chromium’s multi-process architecture, however, the memory footprint is an obvious concern.

The Google staffer notes that early experiments suggest segment heap utilization in Chrome could save hundreds of megabytes in the browser and network service utility processes on some machines. Mileage will likely vary greatly although the biggest gains are likely to materialize on multi-core systems.

Chrome has a spotty reputation as being a serious memory hog. Google has addressed memory utilization on multiple occasions yet still, it remains a concern for many. The switch to segment heap should further steer the ship in the right direction.

Image courtesy Georgii Shipin

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Mine is at 1.7 GB, spread over 17 processes with about 1/3rd at 200-300 MB each, and the others at 5 - 50 MB. I have 7 tabs open.

An explanation of what it's doing might make for an interesting article. For me, I've never cared - I'm on a powerful desktop, I have plenty of RAM, and any amount it is using that contributes to performance is what I want it to do.

I could see where it would need to have make different trade offs on different device types though. What does it do on phones?