YouTube is a popular video-sharing platform that millions of people use every day to watch their favorite content. However, some users have recently reported experiencing high GPU usage while watching YouTube videos, especially on Firefox (can happen on Chrome and Edge too). This issue can lead to computer lagging, overheating, and other performance-related problems.
In this article, we will explain why GPU usage spikes while watching YouTube videos and how to fix this issue.
What is GPU usage?
Before we dive into the problem, let’s briefly explain what GPU usage is. GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) is a specialized processor that handles all the visual and graphical computations of your computer. It’s responsible for rendering images, videos, animations, and other graphics-related tasks.
When you open a video on YouTube, your computer uses the GPU to decode and render the video. The higher the video quality, the more GPU resources are required to process the video smoothly.
Why does YouTube use GPU?
YouTube uses GPU to provide a better video-watching experience to its users. By using GPU, YouTube can deliver high-quality videos, smoother playback, and faster loading times. Additionally, GPU usage enables YouTube to support various video formats, resolutions, and frame rates, ensuring that every user can enjoy their content without any issues.
However, with the recent update that introduced the ambient mode feature, some users are experiencing high GPU usage spikes while watching YouTube videos on Firefox.
Related issue: Game Lag When Watching YouTube or Twitch on Chrome
What is Ambient Mode on YouTube?
Ambient mode is a new feature that was introduced in October 2022 for dark mode users on both desktop and mobile. The feature uses dynamic color sampling to make the screen adapts to the video by picking up its tone in real time as glowing background. This feature is energy and resource-consuming for some users, and some computers couldn’t manage the high requirement needed by the new feature.
High GPU usage when watching YouTube
Several users have complained about the sudden high jump in GPU usage (and sometimes memory usage as well) while browsing YouTube, notably on Firefox users with the dark mode of the popular video-sharing platform. The dissatisfaction comes because some computers couldn’t manage the high requirement needed by the new feature, while the company doesn’t offer a lite solution for it.
While running YouTube in dark mode, their 3D GPU usage skyrockets even after turning off Windows 11 animations feature which could potentially cause it.
How to fix YouTube high GPU usage issue
If you’re experiencing high GPU usage while watching YouTube videos on Firefox or any other browser, there are several solutions you can try.
Turn off Ambient mode on YouTube
The first solution is to turn off the Ambient mode feature on YouTube. Here’s how you can do it:
- Open your browser and go to YouTube.
- Click on the gear icon on the bottom right corner of the video player.
- Click on Ambient mode to toggle it off.
By turning off the Ambient mode feature, you can significantly reduce the GPU usage while watching YouTube videos on Firefox.
Suggested tip: How to Set YouTube to Always Play Highest Video Quality
Use a different browser
If you’re still experiencing high GPU usage on Firefox, you can try using a different browser, such as Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge. These browsers use different GPU settings and may be more efficient at handling GPU resources while watching YouTube videos.
Disable hardware acceleration
Disabling hardware acceleration can help reduce GPU usage while streaming videos. To do this in Firefox, go to Options > Advanced > General, and uncheck the box next to “Use hardware acceleration when available“.
Update your graphics card drivers
Another solution is to update your graphics card drivers. Outdated drivers can cause performance issues and high GPU usage while watching YouTube videos. To update your drivers, go to the manufacturer’s website and download the latest drivers for your graphics card.
High GPU usage while watching YouTube videos can be a frustrating issue, but there are several solutions you can try. By turning off the Ambient mode feature, disabling hardware acceleration on your browser, using a different browser, or updating your graphics card drivers, you can reduce GPU usage and improve your video-watching experience.
In addition, it is completely normal for a website like YouTube to consume some of your GPU resources as it renders the videos. While the solutions mentioned above can help reduce GPU usage, it’s important to note that your GPU may not be powerful enough to play YouTube videos while maintaining a low GPU usage. If you’re still experiencing high GPU usage after trying these solutions, you may need to consider upgrading your GPU to a more powerful one.