Chrome ‘Gorges’ on RAM

Starting last night and concluding very early this morning was my main production machine upgrade to OS X Mountain Lion. Everything went smoothly — I did a ‘clean install’ so cloned my startup drive, installed, and then migrated everything over — which took HOURS but fortunately was pretty much working without my involvement.

Coming back after my lunch meeting, I was somewhat surprised to hear my hard disk whirring and crunching. Not in a bad way, but that there was a lot of disk activity going on. Since I’m someone who typically has fourteen tabs open in one window (all my ‘workspace’ stuff like Gmail, Docs, my hosting provider CPanel, etc.) but typically I’ll have a second window open with client’s work in it. 

In addition, like you probably do there are numerous other apps open and running: Photoshop, Skype, maybe Firefox or Safari (or both), Keynote and others. 

OS X’s Activity Monitor showing all the Google Chrome processes loading and running in system memory. Yikes. (click for larger view)

But Chrome was acting like a guy at a Coney Island hot dog eating contest: with all the tabs open, Google Talk running and so on, Chrome was using OVER 4GBs OF RAM! Wow.

Fortunately my MacPro has 10GBs in it and I know enough about how my machine runs that I know when something is awry and I manage it (e.g., closing that second window full of tabs!). While I love have sessions open in other tabs — and that Google Chrome was architected from the beginning to have each tab be independent so a crash in one wouldn’t crash the entire browser and all tabs — it still sucks up so much memory that I have to shut Chrome down when I’m doing any other intensive task like video editing, screen recording and the like.

So if you are experiencing machine slow downs, or if you have 2GB, 4GB or so of RAM in your machine, either run just a few tabs or quit it altogether when things get slow. Hopefully Google will find ways to optimize Chrome in new ways so this will quiet down and not shove RAM in its mouth like that contestant above!

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