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Chromium may soon use less memory and start up faster

Chromium-based web browsers such as Google Chrome, Brave, Vivaldi, Opera, or the new Microsoft Edge browser, may soon start up faster and use less memory.

One of the effects of Microsoft switching over to the Chromium development camp is that even more engineers work on Chromium.

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Recent commits could soon improve the startup of the Chrome web browser and reduce memory usage as well.

Chrome starts up quickly on modern systems but if you tried to run it on an older machine, you may have noticed that startup is delayed.  Chromium-based browsers load chrome.dll and chrome_child.dll on startup. It may take more than a second to load these files on slow laptops; a Windows 8.1 laptop with 2-core CPU and HDD read the dll files in 0.48 seconds and 1.13 seconds.

A pre-reading parameter change could drop the loading time significantly. The same laptop would load the two files in less than one second after the changes are made.

On a slow laptop (Windows 8.1, 2-cores, HDD), it takes ~0.48 seconds to pre-read chrome.dll and **~1.13** seconds to pre-read chrome_child.dll. These operations are on the critical path of the startup.

By (a) increasing the priority of the thread that pre-reads images and (b) pre-reading 2MB at a time instead of 1MB, it takes ~0.48 seconds to pre-read chrome.dll and **~0.51** seconds to pre-read chrome_child.dll.

As far as memory usage is concerned, Microsoft engineer Joe Laughlin suggests changes to the in-proc prefetcher that would be beneficial to the browser’s CPU usage and memory usage.

Change the in-proc prefetcher to load the code into Image pages and not MapFile pages to save CPU and improve memory usage, and do nothing on OS builds that enable OS PreFetch of larger files. Note this require the PreFetchVirtualMemory API, so we’ll still read the file as data/MapFile on Win7.

The commits need to be tested and accepted before they (may) land in Chromium. It seems likely that both will find their way into Chromium and thus also into all Chromium-based browsers at one point in time.

Google Chrome is notorious for its high memory usage and any improvement in that regard should be more than welcome by the community.

Now You: What is your take on Chrome’s current memory usage and performance? (via Windows Latest)

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