Advanced Essential Chrome Tweaking Tips
Chrome Flags - Experiments are where the fun begins!
In the URL bar, type in "chrome://flags", which will bring you to the main Chrome experimental features page. A word of WARNING: some settings here could make things go south pretty quickly if you play around too much. However, if you experience issues, just click the "Reset all to default" bottom at the top left of this page. In this Chrome settings area, there are loads of spicy options to adjust. If you are an advanced user, you may wish to go ahead and refine settings to how you see fit. I'll just list the key settings below that I adjusted which made a big difference to my Chrome browser. Hit F3 for an easy way to search for settings on this page.
Maximum Tiles: Google has done quite a lot of work recently to improve Chrome memory management by reducing the amount of RAM it uses, but we can make some changes to improve things further. The "Maximum tiles for interest area" allows you to set how much RAM that Chrome is allowed to use. For those with newer computers and 8-16GB of RAM or more, go ahead and set this to "512".
On the other hand, if you find that Chrome is using too much RAM and slowing down other software on your computer, you can try reducing it to 256, 128 or 64. Play around with these settings a little and then decide on a setting that works best for your computer. Ideally, set it to "512" as that is one of the main settings which makes a big difference to improving Chrome performance.
Experimental Canvas Features: Enable for a decent performance boost.
Number of raster threads: Change this setting to "4" and it will improve the load speed of images in Chrome by a decent margin.
Fast Tab/Window Close: Enable this option since it provides a marked difference in the time it takes to close a tab or window.
Override software rendering list: Enable this setting to allow GPU acceleration on unsupported systems.
Enable GPU rasterization: Enable this setting to speed up the rendering of websites.
Native Client: Disable this for a modest Chrome performance improvement. Do note that some Chrome features and apps require for this to be enabled, such as the ability to say "Ok Google" to start a voice search.
Disable all touch features: If you're using Chrome on a device without a touchscreen, go ahead and disable all of the following, as they are not used.
- Enable touch events
- Disable touch adjustment
- Enable pinch scale
- Enable touch initiated drag and drop
- Enable touch based text editing
Simple Cache for HTTP: This setting was untested, but I've read reports that it provides a modest performance boost for cached content. Give it a try if you are feeling adventurous.
The Great Suspender
I don't think any Google Chrome tweaking guide would be complete without including mention of The Great Suspender. This extension works to improve memory management issues in Chrome by suspending tabs that have been idle for a user set amount of time.
Given Google's recently improvements to memory management in Chrome, I no longer use this extension, but if you want to be more in control of Chrome's memory usage, go ahead and install it. I'd recommend setting the idle time to five minutes, in which tabs get physically suspended after that time. You can also go ahead and select "Automatically unsuspend when tab gains focus", which will automatically refresh the page when you open the tab.
This extension is more useful for those with systems with lower amounts of system RAM. If you have 16GB or more, its effectiveness is becoming less and less nowadays as Google strives to improve Chrome memory usage and management.
Only allow Chrome one process per website (don't use this)
There is an option to limit Chrome to only one system process per website, as found in various other guides online. Let's take Facebook for example. If you have a bunch of FB tabs open, a new system process will be created for each of those. The theory is sound; if one of the tabs crash, it won't take down the rest of the tabs/windows with it since it's running in a dedicated system process.
I tested this setting, and instead of improving Chrome and system performance, it made it worse - far worse. Therefore, I would recommend NOT adding "--process-per-site" to your Chrome desktop shortcut. It may have been effective in the past, but at least for me during testing, it isn't now. And I checked the system processes for "chrome.exe" in the Windows Task Manager where it was running multiple processes for the same site.
That concludes TweakTown's Google Chrome Performance Tweaking Guide. I'm far happier with Chrome now after applying the mentioned tweaks and tips, and I hope you experience a similar effect after following this guide.
If you have any issues with the guides or suggestions to add for further improving Chrome performance and usage, please do leave a comment below for us.
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