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article imageGoogle Chrome to make slow PCs a little faster this December

By James Walker     Oct 10, 2016 in Technology
Google has announced that an upcoming version of its Chrome web browser will reduce memory usage by as much as 50 percent. In some cases, even more significant savings could be observed. The improvements will make Chrome easier to use on low-end PCs.
Chrome is known to be fairly resource-intensive, demanding more processor time and memory than rival browsers. Over the past year, Google has embarked on a major clean-up effort, bringing the sprawling browser into check and making it more accessible across the range of devices it's designed for.
Last week, it detailed changes coming to Chrome's V8 JavaScript engine in December that will bring some much-needed improvements to the browser's memory management. Google has made a series of optimisations that have enabled it to dramatically cut Chrome's RAM requirements, creating a smoother experience on budget devices that have limited amounts of memory.
The most noticeable improvements will be on websites that make heavy use of JavaScript. The usual candidates are modern sites and web-apps that have a lot of interactive elements such as video players, adverts and animated transition effects. The vast majority of websites now use JavaScript in some way. Chrome's sped-up processing reduces the time needed for this code to run, making the site more responsive and giving your computer some extra space to breathe.
On its test sites, Google observed the new Chrome release using an average of 50 percent less RAM than the current stable version of the browser. It assessed JavaScript performance on a selection of the most popular websites, including YouTube, The New York Times and Reddit, to determine the scores.
Not all sites will benefit from the changes in the same way. Many are unlikely to see tangible improvements but others could experience even greater reductions. When looking at the New York Times' mobile site, a 66 percent decrease in RAM usage was experienced.
The improvements will make Chrome easier to use on devices that have limited memory. Tabbed browsing will also be faster while consuming less resources. A browser's memory usage can quickly increase once you've got a few tabs open, leaving your PC without enough RAM to handle other apps and services you might be using as well. Many low-end Windows devices have 1GB or 2GB of RAM. A 50 percent reduction in Chrome's usage will be especially noticeable to users of these tablets and laptops.
The improvements will ship with Chrome 54, set to be released to the public on December 6th. If you want to reduce your device's RAM consumption today, you can switch to the Chrome Beta channel which already includes the new memory optimisations. Running pre-release software does come with risks though. You may face unexplainable bugs when using a beta release.
Google plans to make further changes to Chrome's RAM management over the coming months, this time focusing on mobile devices. Chrome is used by millions of smartphone users each day on devices that may have as little as 512MB of RAM. Google's next round of improvements will target these devices, making mobile browsing less frustrating by boosting performance on modern sites.
More about Google, Google chrome, Ram, Memory, Performance
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