If you noticed Chrome using more RAM, you are correct. Google has patched the Spectre CPU vulnerabilities in the Chrome browser but this has resulted in Chrome using more RAM than it did before. Google has confirmed in a blog post that a feature that protects users against Spectre side-channel attacks results in increased RAM usage. The feature offers protection against attacks that use the speculative execution features of most processors in order to get access to parts of the memory which aren’t meant to be accessed.
Google’s new Site Isolation feature is enabled by default so Chrome users will notice the RAM usage increase only when they have downloaded the latest version of the browser.
“There is about a 10-13 percent total memory overhead in real workloads due to the larger number of processes,” explained Google software engineer Charlie Reis who added that Google has to render more processes with Site Isolation which is not possible to achieve without sacrificing some performance.
Following this update, RAM usage for Chrome across Chrome OS, Windows, and Mac will be increased but it won’t be this way forever. Google says that “Our team continues to work hard to optimize this behavior to keep Chrome both fast and secure.”
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