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cwa107 12-17-2011 12:42 PM

MacBook/Chrome users: Do you struggle with power efficiency issues?
Having been a diehard Firefox user for many years, I've recently taken a liking to Chrome. With some of the extensions available for it, I've been able to tweak Chome into being the functional equivalent of Firefox, but with the performance of Safari. Even though I've gone through periods where I've tried to cope with using Safari, I find the overall experience to be less than satisfying.

Chrome seems to be the best balance for me in terms of features and performance, but there's still one niggling trait that I can't seem to work around - power efficiency. Even while using sites like Mac-Forums, which don't require any heavy lifting like Flash-based video or anything that would require GPU acceleration, Chrome just seems to require much more power - my battery runtime is immediately cut in half compared to operating under Firefox or Safari.

I do use GfxCardStatus to force the GPU setting of my MacBook Pro into "integrated only", but it doesn't significantly change this behavior. Even shutting down all of Chrome's GPU acceleration doesn't change it. My MBP heats up and I can see significant decreases in runtime just by opening Chrome.

I don't know if this is a bug or something that can be tweaked, but I figured I'd open a discussion and see what others' experiences have been like.

So, for any of you running Chrome as your primary browser - have you noticed the same?

BrianLachoreVPI 12-17-2011 12:55 PM

I've just been noticing that my battery life period - isn't much to talk about - and I'm still primarily using Safari. Granted I haven't done a full drain in a while - but the last time I spent any time off hook - I only got a couple of hours out of it.

chscag 12-17-2011 01:06 PM

I love Chrome but my experience is the same. I only use it on the iMac where it doesn't matter how much power it needs. But when I jump on the MacBook, it's Safari all the way.

dtravis7 12-17-2011 01:50 PM

I hope Vansmith sees this as I know he uses Chrome a lot on his Macbook. I would give it a try here but only have an iBook still.

CrimsonRequiem 12-17-2011 02:03 PM

I use Chrome as well. It seems to hang on websites that use Flash pretty heavily for me. I don't visit websites that use flash very often though. This is on my Macbook.

cwa107 07-06-2013 11:38 PM

Reviving this old thread as I am once again, doing my annual browser switch, trying to get away from Firefox.

Interestingly, it seems that Google has done a bit of work with Chrome on the Mac in terms of power consumption. I can now run it without forcing GfxCardStatus into Integrated graphics mode. While I have seen it switch over to the discrete GPU here and there, it quickly switches back on standard pages and the battery life is starting to compare well to Firefox and Safari.

pigoo3 07-06-2013 11:46 PM

I'm not much of a browser expert...but here's a tidbit of info I ran across recently.

I play the online game RuneScape...and later this month they are releasing a big update (RuneScape 3).

Part of the system requirements/setup are to install Google Chrome (something to do with HTML5...and the game no longer needing plugins or Java).

So I guess there must be some signifiant differences between Google Chrome and Safari (Safari is what I currently use to play RuneScape).

- Nick

vansmith 07-07-2013 07:29 PM

Part of the problem is Chrome's process model - it spawns numerous processes including various workers and separate processes for each tab. Indeed, I can kill a tab in Chrome like I can any other application from the command line. That said, this has one really obvious downside which, of course, is the fact that numerous processes are spawned, killed and managed all by one application. I'm not sure how Google can get around that if they stick with their current model and I imagine that, since it works really well to contain content, they won't be abandoning it anytime soon.

I wonder if that's what's holding back Chrome in the battery department. I know that I struggle with that a little. However, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages (native Cocoa + multiple platform support + excellent syncing capabilities make Chrome extraordinarily attractive for my needs) but I can certainly see how it can be a bother for some.

I seem to have had the opposite experience that you have lately - I've been testing other browsers to see if any of them were able to sway me away from Chrome. I can't do Safari because I need multiple platform support that includes platforms outside of Apple's ecosystem and I can't do the new version of Opera because they've absolutely destroyed it as a quality browser (they stripped out the syncing and bookmarks functionality and somehow thought that this was "reasonable"). So, I ventured over to Firefox and for about a week, I thought I had maybe found a replacement. It was, in some ways, more nimble that Chrome, it had built in syncing and worked on every platform I use (except for iOS but since I view maybe one page a month on my iPod Touch, that's not really a concern for me). However, the syncing functionality is a disaster and a few features that Firefox did were done with greater elegance in Chrome (such as dragging tabs in and out of a browser window). On top of that, Firefox for Android...I'm not sure I have much nice to say about it.

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