Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

yurkennis

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 1, 2010
73
55
Remember Nov-2021 video reviews all claiming that M1 Pro / Max are extremely powerful browser-wise? As they easily drive dozens Chrome tabs open (but not visible 馃檭), some even running Youtube videos, and the system is still responsive?

Is it actually a relevant benchmark for a heavy Chrome user? How can we properly measure tabs/memory performance of Apple Silicon?

My approach is to measure how many tabs can be kept loaded in memory without slowing down the system. Admittedly, such a test is over-stretching for a regular browser user.

Specifically:
  • open multiple, non-overlapping Chrome windows, all on the same screen
  • launch multiple dozen tabs in each (I used personal bookmarks, mostly from Twitter)
  • !! make each window switch tab every second--effectively forcing Chrome to keep entire session in memory / swap all the time
  • keep adding tabs, keep track of swap used; see when memory pressure becomes yellow and/or system becomes less responsive

I compared 32GB Pro side-by-side to 64GB Max (32 GPU cores), both 16" at Normal Power Mode.

TLDR:
  • at 380 tabs, the 32GB is fully responsive; 640 tabs makes system almost completely busy, seems close to a usable limit
  • 64GB remains absolutely fluid up to 640 tabs (and will likely sustain several 100s more).
Details follow.

Swap used on 32GB Pro vs RAM used on 64GB Max as the number of tabs grow:
Screenshot 2022-01-13 at 20.59.25.png



Here is how number of tabs affect the system responsiveness on 32GB Pro. Each stage assumes some stabilisation period after initial load:
  • at 3 windows totalling 379 tabs, all of them are shown immediately after switch, system fully responsive, memory pressure is mostly green with occasional yellow
  • 4 windows (407 tabs): memory pressure is always yellow;
  • 5 windows (447 tabs): system becomes less responsive while new tabs are opened
  • 6 windows (469 tabs): each tab appears with a fraction-of-second delay after switch, looks like it is read from swap most of the time
  • 7 windows (514 tabs): on most of switches, 1-2 tabs appear blank as if SSD swap starts becoming a bottleneck
  • 9 windows (608 tabs): on most of switches, 3-5 tabs appear blank; closing any single Chrome window takes 15-20 seconds
  • 10 windows (641 tabs): 50%-70% of tabs appear blank after each switch, even after 30 minutes of stabilisation (SSD swap seems a real bottleneck now). Memory pressure becomes occasionally red. CPU cores are used around 90%, fans run at 2300-2700 rpm; total power reaches 48W. Opening the last 30 tabs takes 55 seconds (vs 5 seconds on 64GB Max). Clicking system menu takes few seconds for iStat icons. Looks like the system is completely busy with retrieving tabs from swap and displaying them, in a loop.
In all cases 64GB Max switches all tabs absolutely instantaneously. For 10 windows (641 tabs) open on Max, CPUs are used at 50%, Fans: 1500-1600 rpm; total power: 20W

To ensure that content is always shown from RAM / swap, I disabled network connection for the 10-window setup; content in all tabs remained fully available (both on Pro and Max).

I used Chrome extensions: Copy All Urls to mass-open tabs; Revolver to auto-switch tabs every 1 second.
Chrome Version 97.0.4692.71 (stable release channel).

During the experiment, I had OmniFocus and TOR with ~10 tabs open all the time--which also took a tiny fraction of RAM.
 

donawalt

Contributor
Sep 10, 2015
749
321
Well, I had some time on my hands, so for giggles I accepted the challenge. I opened many of the tabs in my bookmarks, 228 tabs in Chrome. My laptop is a 16" M1 Max with 64GB of memory. I hopped around and scrolled pages, everything looked totally normal and fast. Here is a snapshot of memory usage (I had 11 other windows open, plus two other full screen Windows, one being a Windows VM in Parallels), so I would say it handles 200+ very well:

Screen Shot 2022-01-13 at 8.23.49 PM.png
 

Fomalhaut

macrumors 65816
Oct 6, 2020
1,480
1,205
I know there are people who have hundreds of tabs open. The questions is: Why? Do those people not know about handy features like bookmarks or reading list? 馃
I'm guilty of having dozens of tabs open at once (but generally less than 50-80). The reason? A mixture of working requirements, efficiency and laziness.

My work probably requires a minimum of a dozen tabs (for cloud platform system design and administration). In addition I have task management (Jira, Asana etc.), e-mail, web-based chat sessions (e.g. Teams), admin (timesheets etc.), documentation (Confluence, Google Docs) and *lots* of technical documentation references (API specs, "how-tos").

Considering I probably have to look at maybe 50 distinct pages a day at a minimum, bookmarking, closing, re-opening, and finding my place in a page, all takes a significant time, so it's actually more efficient just to leave pages open where I need them. This is same as having lots textbooks open on your desk with different references. If you closed the book and put it back on the shelf, you'd spend a lot longer finding information.

And lastly, laziness. Of course, the relevancy of the open pages will diminish over time. Sometimes I look for something, read it, and forget to close the tab. I use an inactive tab plug-in to at least reduce the system overhead of these pages, but I would like a tool that actually prompted me to close them (or did so automatically after a pre-defined time).

I envy people who only need to look at one thing at a time for a long period; it must be very relaxing not to have to switch focus a 100 times a day.
 

RedTheReader

macrumors 6502
Nov 18, 2019
255
530
My approach is to measure how many tabs can be kept loaded in memory without slowing down the system. Admittedly, such a test is over-stretching for a regular browser user.
I have hundreds of tabs open on a 14" base MacBook Pro (16gb of 6400 Mhz memory). It's nice to see a test as thorough as yours, but you really hit the nail on the head with that line: such a test is sort of irrelevant for almost everyone, including crazy hundred-tab people like you and me. When my system can't keep older tabs loaded in, it just purges them from memory (I'm assuming using swap memory), and everything stays fast and responsive.

This is the first system I've ever used that can actually do this well; everything else has always slowed down after a few weeks of uptime. Granted, this system does crash randomly like all the others, but the key difference is that it doesn't slow down before it does.

Edit: Spelling/Grammer
 
Last edited:

telo123

macrumors regular
Mar 11, 2021
210
220
Bruh, I get anxious when there鈥檚 10 tabs open, let alone 100+ on the daily 馃槄. Interesting test though.

Can anyone repeat the same on Safari and see how that goes?
 

maxoakland

macrumors member
Oct 6, 2021
74
46
I know there are people who have hundreds of tabs open. The questions is: Why? Do those people not know about handy features like bookmarks or reading list? 馃
If it鈥檚 in the reading list or the bookmarks, I will never *ever* look at them again. I know this from personal experience
 
  • Like
Reactions: RedTheReader

PsykX

macrumors 65816
Sep 16, 2006
1,477
1,228
You can't be an organized person if you have 400 tabs opened.
It's like opening drawers at home and never closing them.
 
  • Haha
Reactions: Handsome Bacon

Slartibart

macrumors 65816
Aug 19, 2020
1,164
1,529
genuinely out of curiosity: these open tabs are bookmarked too, aren鈥檛 they? if not: open tabs survive OS updates? 馃馃く
 

winxmac

macrumors regular
Sep 1, 2021
190
208
I have 19 tabs on Chrome and 29 tabs on Firefox using a total of 10.5GB [including background processes] out of 16GB DDR3 RAM on Windows...

I'm just wondering why you need to put your macOS device to its limits? Also, is there a need for you to open that many tabs and are you opening the sites because you are getting information from them or just to max out the device?
 
Last edited:

mi7chy

macrumors G3
Oct 24, 2014
9,115
9,936
Realize this is probably more of a benchmark/stress test but for anyone using more than a few dozen tabs how do you manage and switch between specific tabs? Chrome has built-in tab search but it only seems to work on keywords after the domain and not the domain itself. So, if I have a bunch of other tabs opened in addition to this thread, searching for any variation of "forums.macrumors.com" doesn't show the opened tab but "how many chrome" does with option to switch to it.

Update: Disregard. Was using Chrome address bar which doesn't search open tabs by domain while the tab search (down arrow in upper right or command-shift-a keyboard shortcut) does search open tabs by domain. Ideally, both should behave the same.
 
Last edited:

telo123

macrumors regular
Mar 11, 2021
210
220
I have 19 tabs on Chrome and 29 tabs on Firefox using a total of 10.5GB [including background processes] out of 16GB DDR3 RAM on Windows...

I'm just wondering why you need to put your macOS device to its limits? Also, is there a need for you to open that many tabs and are you opening the sites because you are getting information from them or just to max out the device?
He probably doesn't use that many tabs. It is most likely just a scientific curiosity that this experiment was done.
 
  • Like
Reactions: satcomer

MrGunnyPT

macrumors 65816
Mar 23, 2017
1,250
772
I'm guilty of having dozens of tabs open at once (but generally less than 50-80). The reason? A mixture of working requirements, efficiency and laziness.

My work probably requires a minimum of a dozen tabs (for cloud platform system design and administration). In addition I have task management (Jira, Asana etc.), e-mail, web-based chat sessions (e.g. Teams), admin (timesheets etc.), documentation (Confluence, Google Docs) and *lots* of technical documentation references (API specs, "how-tos").

Considering I probably have to look at maybe 50 distinct pages a day at a minimum, bookmarking, closing, re-opening, and finding my place in a page, all takes a significant time, so it's actually more efficient just to leave pages open where I need them. This is same as having lots textbooks open on your desk with different references. If you closed the book and put it back on the shelf, you'd spend a lot longer finding information.

And lastly, laziness. Of course, the relevancy of the open pages will diminish over time. Sometimes I look for something, read it, and forget to close the tab. I use an inactive tab plug-in to at least reduce the system overhead of these pages, but I would like a tool that actually prompted me to close them (or did so automatically after a pre-defined time).

I envy people who only need to look at one thing at a time for a long period; it must be very relaxing not to have to switch focus a 100 times a day.
Well I have around 25-50 and I'm a Solution Architect so I can understand your use case....
 
  • Like
Reactions: Fomalhaut
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.