Chromium Memory Usage Problems Addressed by Google
Article by George Norman
On 07 Aug 2009
Google has announced that there is a little problem with Chromium, the open source browser project behind Google Chrome. And to be more precise, the problem lies in how the web browser uses memory – it uses too much of it. The problem stems from the fact that Chromium’s multiprocess architecture makes if difficult to use the standard set of tools to measure how much memory is being used.

“The crux of the problem is that Chromium goes to great lengths to share memory between processes. However, that shared memory is difficult to account for in the Windows Task Manager. On Windows XP, using the default Task Manager measurement of memory leads to double counting. On Vista, using the default view leads to under counting. There are a couple of more accurate ways to measure memory utilization in Chromium (or Google Chrome),” explained Product Manager Brian Rakowski.


Here is one of the “more accurate ways to measure memory utilization” that Rakowski mentioned above: open the built-in task manager in Chromium. The task manager available in Chromium measures memory usage more holistically than the default task manager in windows. Click the “Stats for nerds” link (leads to about:memory) and you will get even more details about how much computing power Chromium gobbles up.

There is one other way of measuring memory usage, but it is not as easy to pull off. Rakowski again: “If you don't fully trust Chromium's task manager or about:memory, the gold standard for measuring memory usage is to look at the system's total commit charge before, during, and after using Chromium. It's a little tricky to get right because you'll need to shut down other services that may kick in while you are running your test.”

You will have to follow this procedure:
- Shut down all unnecessary services
- Reboot
- Measure the Total Commit Charge of the system via the Windows task manager
- Run Chromium
- Measure the Total Commit Charge once more
- Close the application
- Measure the Total Commit Charge yet again
- Find out how much memory chromium used by subtracting the first measurement from the second one

Tags: Google, Chrome, Chromium, Memory usage
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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