Google Chrome on Linux: slow, memory hog

I’ve run the Google Chrome on Linux beta since it first become available, and my impression is: slow. I might be unusual, in that I typically have dozens and dozens of tabs open, and that may break Chrome’s model of shoving each page into its own process, and this PC has “only” a gig of RAM, but it’s slower than FireFox for the same task. Things were a lot worse before I loaded AdBlock and FlashBlock for Chrome. Now my CPU isn’t pegged at 100%.

Embedded JavaScript is affected by this performance hit, so that particular tools that I have help do my stuff, well, don’t anymore.

Most annoyingly, it seems, although I haven’t confirmed it, that the back button causes a page reload: it doesn’t come out of the cache. Or the slowness could make it look that way. But how long can it possibly take to render a page anyway?

On the upside, it hasn’t crashed, and I would have expected FireFox to mysteriously die without any explanation by now (a sign that Firefox is going to die soon is that tab-swaps/page loads become very slow, indicating a similar root cause which I’m guessing is memory exhaustion). Firefox has always done the mysterious death thing, and I was hoping that upgrading to 3.5 would fix things, but no dice.

I’m trying to decide whether it’s preferable to have my browser snappy, but occasionally fall in a big pile and get back up again, or a laggard that rolls with the punches. Perhaps I’ll split my browsing between them simultaneously; vital stuff on Chrome and throw-away stuff on FF, but that’s going to be a bit tough on my brain.

Well, it turns out that Chrome is a memory hog. I bought another gig of RAM, and wouldn’t you know it, the PC is flying. My suspicions were tripped when all of the RAM was in use, most of the paging file and the little orange disk activity light was slowly burning a hole in the wall on the other side of the room.

7 thoughts on “Google Chrome on Linux: slow, memory hog

  1. daniel

    Or preferable to close some of those tabs? I might regularly have half-a-dozen open, no more than that, though I concede I regularly re-open some pages to see what the latest is (eg Gmail, Twitter).

  2. ifeanyi

    I experienced similar snail like speeds from chrome on linux. I have been wondering what all the fuss about chrome is based on. I suspect it’s only fast on windows XP and crap on any other platform.

  3. Almafuerte

    Chrome IS a memory hog. I am truly worried, because there are no good browsers.

    Opera: Proprietary. Out of the question.
    Firefox: Slow, memory hog, unstable. Best usability, poor performance.
    Chrome: Gets slow when you load many tabs (Which I do all the time). JS debugger sucks. No good adblock plugins (I tested them all, they either have a huge delay before blocking elements, or they just don’t work properly.
    Konqueror: I am a Gnome user, It’s ugly, huge rendering issues.
    All other gecko-based browsers: They share many of Firefox’s issues, since many of those issues are actually in gecko, and none of them has many features I require.

    Safari: Windows/Mac only, Properitary.
    IE: Let’s not even get into that …

    So, the web is currently unusable for heavy surfers like me.

    I run GNU/Linux (I build my own custom kernels, and I use a Core 2 Duo 2.16ghz laptop with 3 gb of RAM, and a Quad processor-dual Xeon (For a total of 8 cores) and 8 GB of RAM Workstation). On any of them, any browser gets slow after 30 or so tabs. I hate the world.

  4. nvrs

    chrome is by far the fastest browser on linux. Compared to firefox it runs circles around it. Now, you get some minuses with the sandboxed tab model the main being the extra memory needed for duplicated resources for each tab (js interpreter, rendered etc). However the difference is not that big and all new machines come with minimum 2 Gb or Ram which is more than enough for many more than a dozen tabs…
    The only thing that we need now is a good adblock plugin, for the time being i stick to the flashblock plugin which does the dirty job (for me flash is the worst thing that has happened to the web since IE).

  5. Steve

    I have to agree on this one. I love Chrome and have been using it for a while in OS X and Windows. On those systems it is the ultimate browsing experience – fast, stable, and able to handle any kind of media I want to watch.

    On Linux it seems like Chrome can barely keep up with me scrolling through a long forum page. Sure it doesn’t crash on video, but it also doesn’t put out more than a slide show on higher resolutions. It actually makes Firefox seem fast.

    I remember reading some Google dev talk about how they new their Linux rendering engine had its hitches and they were working on a major leap foward…. too bad that hasnt shown up in any of their beta or dev builds.

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