When you start to scale that performance Chrome apparently falls flat on its face. What we are talking about here is having multiple tabs open, which is a very common practice today due to the amount of content we like to look at.
Chrome is great for general usage up to a certain point, but when you start opening a lot of tabs it canít cope. Itís closest rivalĖFirefox, can though, and in fact excels at coping with hundreds of tabs.
To do this he used a script that opens 150 of the most popular websites in a browser instance automatically. One page is opened in a new tab every 1.5 seconds. On the latest Firefox nightly build that process takes roughly 6 minutes and 14 seconds
. On Chrome, itís a totally different story with the time escalating to 28 minutes and 55 seconds
. Thatís well over 4x slower than Firefox.
In fact, Wagner found that once you get past 70 tabs Chrome really starts to struggle
. The reason seems to be down to the different way in which each browser handles data and tabs. Chrome uses a multi-process model where a new process is started on a per tab basis. Firefox takes a different route and has a single process running that handles all tab data.
It seems that either through a bug or design issue Chrome doesnít end up handling every new tab as a new process
. Instead some processes can end up having to cope with multiple tabs and itís also handled unevenly e.g. one process has 2 sites where as another has 20 sites
At 150 tabs open this leads Chrome to stop responding and max out memory use at 5GB
. Firefox on the other hand only used 2GB of memory and continued to work
under the same conditions.