This is driving me crazy and I hope you can help.
Here's a screenshot of the issue.

On the right, Windows Task Manager showing high Chrome CPU usage.
On the left, Chrome's Task Manager showing it's all coming from the Gmail tab. enter image description here

Things I've tried:

  1. Disabled all plugins.
  2. Clearing cookies
  3. Incognito Tab

The Gmail tab will use 45-50% cpu as long as it's the foreground tab.

I've taken to activating a non-gmail tab before unfocusing the browser, but this is a cognitive load I'd love to eliminate.

Why is this happening? Is there a fix?

P.S. - I'm running Windows and this gmail cpu spike doesn't happen in Firefox or Internet Explorer.

P.P.S. - The answer to this question has lead to a new one.
In Google Chrome browser, why does Gmail use so much of the CPU when hardware acceleration is enabled?

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    Have you tried clearing your cookies? Or tried logging in to gmail via incognito? Try and isolate the problem a little more. – SupaJord May 14 '15 at 16:22
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    Updated the question to show I've tried those things. Thanks! – GollyJer May 14 '15 at 16:28
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    I had the same issues on Firefox. After trying a bunch of things, I finally updated my Flash Player plugin which had been out of date for months. This appears to have fixed the problem though I am not sure why. I don't think Gmail uses flash other than for some of the chat/video interface stuff. Hopefully this helps someone. – syntonicC Jul 21 '17 at 19:42

Double-check your hardware acceleration settings in Chrome. Google's scripting (JS, CSS animations) is very "modern" which means it performs poorly on CPU but runs very, very fast on GPUs via modern browsers ... assuming acceleration isn't turned off, which would cause very high CPU usage.

Or there might be a bug with HW acceleration making it nuke the CPU. Firefox and Chrome like to trade off on whose acceleration is borderline worthless and breaks websites. Toggle it, and if turning it off fixes the issue try turning it on again after a Chrome update or three.

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    Hi Arthur. Yes! Disabling hardware acceleration stops gmail from consuming more than 4-5% cpu. Can you update this post to be worded more like an answer and I'll mark it as accepted. Thanks. – GollyJer May 14 '15 at 16:31
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    Excellent. Thanks! This has led to a new question. superuser.com/questions/914855/… – GollyJer May 14 '15 at 16:44

I found this thread and thought my experience could be useful to somebody. I had the very same problem: when logged on Gmail with 2 tabs, 2 accounts, the Gmail tabs took almost 500 MB of RAM and continuously spiked on CPU usage, every few seconds they went from 1-2% to 50%. I disabled all extensions, disabled hardware acceleration, tried everything suggested but with no result. At last I realized I could try to disable the chat and calendar gadgets I still had open in my Gmail tabs. Puff! Magically everything worked fine! Now my 2 Gmail tabs take around 180MB and the CPU usage is constantly around 0 !!! Try to believe. Chrome v. 50.0.2661.102 m, on Win 7.

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