Why is Brave Using High CPU & Memory (vs. Chrome)

Published by Nyau Wai Hoe - Updated on

When users switch to alternative browsers, one of the primary reasons is often the pursuit of a more efficient and faster browsing experience. Brave, a relative newcomer in the browser wars, touts itself as a more privacy-focused and efficient alternative to mainstream options. Many users, especially those on newer systems like Windows 11 and the widely-used Windows 10, are considering alternatives to mainstream browsers to make the most of their system’s capabilities. But is Brave’s performance up to par? Let’s look into the factors that cause Brave’s high CPU and memory usage and compare it with Chrome.

Also see: High GPU Usage While Watching YouTube Videos

Brave High CPU and Memory Usage

Understanding browsers and resource usage

Before we discuss the about brave and its high CPU and RAM usage issue, it’s essential to understand why browsers use system resources, particularly the processor and memory.

  1. Rendering Websites: Modern websites are not just simple HTML. They contain dynamic content, scripts, animations, and multimedia elements. All of these require processing power to render and display.Brave browser 100% CPU usage
  2. Extensions and Plugins: These additional functionalities can significantly affect the performance of the browser. Some might be lightweight, while others could be resource-intensive.
  3. Background Processes: Browsers, especially modern ones like Brave and Chrome, run several background tasks. These include updating the browser, syncing data with cloud accounts, and checking for push notifications.

Handy guide: How to Limit CPU Usage of a Process in Windows 11

Why might Brave use high CPU and Memory?

Despite its promises of efficiency, there are several reasons why Brave might occasionally appear resource-intensive, sometimes using as much as 100% CPU:

  1. Shields: One of Brave’s hallmark features is “Shields,” which actively block trackers, ads, and other potentially harmful elements on web pages. While this feature can make browsing faster and more private, the process of continuously monitoring and blocking these elements can consume CPU resources.Why does Brave browser use high CPU and RAM
  2. Hardware Acceleration: This is a feature available in many browsers, including Brave. It offloads some graphical tasks to the GPU. While it can make rendering smoother, it might appear as high CPU or memory usage in some scenarios.
  3. Extensions: Just like Chrome, Brave supports a wide range of extensions. However, if you have extensions that are poorly optimized or hog resources, they can cause Brave to consume more CPU and memory.Brave browser extensions
  4. Background Processes: As with other browsers, Brave has background processes. For instance, when you open multiple tabs, each tab might run its process, consuming more resources.

Useful tip: How to Clear RAM Cache in Windows 11

How to reduce Brave browser CPU and RAM usage

The first thing you should investigate when experiencing unusually high CPU usage while opening certain websites across multiple tabs is the hardware acceleration in Brave. Disabling this feature is often reported on community forums like Reddit as the most effective solution to address the high resource usage issue in Brave. To reduce Brave’s CPU and RAM usage, consider the following steps:

  1. Click on the “Brave” menu at the top-left.
  2. Click on “Settings”.Brave browser settings
  3. Scroll down to “System”.Brave System Settings
  4. Toggle off “Use hardware acceleration when available” if you notice issues related to it.Disable hardware acceleration in Brave browser
  5. Also, try to regularly audit and remove unnecessary extensions.

Linked issue: Twitch and YouTube Causing High CPU Usage on Firefox or Chrome

How does Brave compare with Chrome in CPU usage?

Now, the burning question: Is Brave more efficient than Chrome?

  1. Base architecture: Both Brave and Chrome are based on the open-source project called “Chromium.” As a result, their core rendering engines are similar, meaning they share several architectural similarities.
  2. Ad & tracker blocking: Brave’s built-in ad and tracker blocking can, in many instances, lead to faster page loading times compared to Chrome, especially if Chrome doesn’t have an ad-blocking extension installed. Blocking these elements means fewer resources to load and process.
  3. Extensions: Since both browsers support the Chrome Web Store, they’re on relatively equal footing here. The difference in performance would be based on what extensions a user installs and runs.
  4. Vanilla performance: In a head-to-head comparison with no extensions and default settings, performance can vary based on the website being visited and the specific tasks being done. However, in general, Brave might have a slight edge due to its aggressive ad and tracker blocking.
  5. Memory handling: Historically, Chrome has been criticized for its high memory usage, especially with multiple tabs open. Brave, with its default settings, can offer a more efficient memory handling experience because it doesn’t need to process as many elements from websites.

Brave vs Chrome in CPU usage

Brave’s CPU Performance: In general, Brave’s CPU usage might be relatively lower compared to Chrome when both browsers have similar pages loaded with ads and trackers. With its built-in ad and tracker blocking, Brave can potentially reduce the number of active scripts and content, leading to slightly lower CPU usage.

Chrome’s CPU Performance: On the other hand, Chrome’s resource usage might appear higher due to Google’s ecosystem and services integrated into the browser. Features like automatic sign-ins, Google Sync, and other background processes can contribute to elevated CPU consumption.

However, it’s important to note that the difference in CPU usage between Brave and Chrome might not be substantial in everyday browsing scenarios. The extent of the impact largely depends on the specific websites visited, the number of extensions installed, and other individual usage patterns.

Related resource: Game Lag When Watching YouTube or Twitch on Chrome

Brave high power usage and energy consumption

While we’ve discussed the CPU and memory consumption of the Brave browser, another critical aspect worth considering is its power usage, especially on portable devices like laptops. High CPU and memory utilization can translate to increased energy consumption, causing a faster battery drain.

Brave high power usage and energy consumption

Even though Brave’s “Shields” feature helps in blocking trackers and ads, thus potentially reducing the need for processing power, the continual monitoring for these elements can be energy-intensive. This means that if you’re using Brave on a laptop or mobile device, you might notice a faster depletion of battery life during intensive browsing sessions.

Comparatively, any browser that requires more processing power – be it Brave, Chrome, Firefox, or any other – will typically consume more energy. It’s always a balance between features, performance, and power usage.

Pro tip: How to Test CPU Throttling in Windows 11

Conclusion

Brave offers a compelling package for those seeking a privacy-focused and potentially more efficient browsing experience. While it can occasionally show high CPU or memory usage due to its features and processes, it often provides a more resource-efficient experience compared to Chrome, primarily because of its built-in “Shields” feature.

However, users must remember that individual experiences will vary. It’s always a good practice to monitor the extensions you install and keep an eye on the settings to get the best out of any browser.


Nyau Wai Hoe
Nyau Wai Hoe is the Founder and Chief Editor of WindowsDigitals.com. With a degree in software engineering and over 12 years of experience in the tech support industry, Nyau has established himself as an expert in the field, with a primary focus on the Microsoft Windows operating system. As a tech enthusiast, he loves exploring new technologies and leveraging them to solve real-life problems.

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