Google Chrome by default runs a new process for each tab that is opened. I am running Ubuntu 15.4 with Chrome 43.0.2357.134 (64-bit). I currently have a load of tabs opened, and there are 57 processes.

$ ps aux | grep chrome | wc -l

There are several groups of tabs with different pages on the same sites, one of them being the Stack Exchange network. There are also G+ and Google Play Music.

According to chrome://memory-redirect/ those later two take a lot of memory, Google Play Music holds something like 500MB without even playing.

In total, my Chrome currently eats about 4.3GB of my 8GB of RAM.

Now I am wondering about garbage collection. Is it better to close and open fresh tabs when I want to abandon one site and go somewhere else, or should I rather reuse a tab (and thereby process) by just typing in a different URL?

Which one is more memory-effective?

  • 1
    Why don't you just try it out? ;) – Lenniey Jul 24 '15 at 8:26
  • Why is garbage collection important to you? Just because it uses half of what it can isn't a bad thing... It's using what it can use. If it uses a great deal more, than garbage collection will kick in and work (harder). In regards to which tab to use, I don't think it will matter, it should be coded in such a way it will release memory when it's out of scope – Dave Jul 24 '15 at 8:36
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    @dave mainly because I am curious. – simbabque Jul 24 '15 at 8:39

Both approaches should amount to approximately the same overall performance in terms of memory.

If you close the tab the process is terminated and memory is released.

If you reuse the tab then old objects will be cleaned up by the garbage collector when it decides it is time to run (i.e. low available memory, etc).

In either case, the amount of memory required for the currently open tabs should be the same, so performance should be roughly the same.

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