Online streaming platforms like Twitch have gained immense popularity over the years, providing a platform for content creators to showcase their talents and engage with a vast audience. However, many users have reported encountering a common problem: high CPU usage when watching Twitch on web browsers like Firefox and Chrome, particularly on Windows 11 or 10 PCs. In this article, we will look into the reasons behind this issue and provide you with some effective solutions to tackle the problem.
Why does Twitch use so much CPU?
High CPU usage occurs when the central processing unit (CPU) of your computer is overloaded with tasks, leading to sluggish performance, increased fan noise, and even system crashes. Several factors contribute to Twitch causing high CPU usage:
HTML5 and resource-intensive elements
Twitch made the transition from Adobe Flash to HTML5 to enhance the streaming experience for its users. While HTML5 offers several advantages, including better performance and security, it can be resource-intensive, especially when handling high-definition video streams and interactive elements like chat, emotes, and overlays. The constant rendering and processing of these elements can put a strain on the CPU, leading to increased usage.
Related concern: High GPU Usage While Watching YouTube or Twitch Videos
Chat and emotes animations
Twitch chat is a vital part of the streaming experience, allowing viewers to interact with each other and the streamer in real-time. However, the constant flow of chat messages and animated emotes during live streams can put additional stress on the CPU. Emotes with complex animations can be particularly demanding, consuming CPU resources even when the stream itself is not resource-intensive.
Extensions and overlays
To enhance their broadcasts and engage with their audience, streamers often use various extensions and overlays on their Twitch channels. These additional elements can add to the CPU load, especially when multiple streams with extensions are open in different tabs. Features like donation alerts, follower notifications, and interactive games can consume additional CPU resources, contributing to high CPU usage.
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Third-party browser extensions and add-ons can interfere with Twitch’s performance, causing additional CPU usage. Some extensions may inject code into Twitch pages, leading to conflicts that result in higher CPU utilization. It’s essential to review and manage your browser extensions, disabling those that are not necessary or causing performance issues.
Solutions to reduce Twitch’s CPU usage
Adjusting the video quality settings on Twitch can significantly reduce CPU usage. By default, Twitch streams at the source quality, which can be resource-intensive. Lowering the video resolution from source quality to 720p or 480p will lessen the burden on your CPU, as it won’t have to work as hard to process the video stream.
To change the quality settings, click on the gear icon (“Settings“) on the Twitch player and select a lower resolution that suits your preference and hardware capabilities.
FrankerFaceZ and BTTV extensions
FrankerFaceZ and BetterTTV (BTTV) are popular browser extensions that enhance Twitch’s functionality, providing additional emotes, chat features, and customization options. While these extensions are valuable for many users, some of their features might contribute to increased CPU usage.
Consider disabling certain features, using their lightweight versions or disabling the entire extension to mitigate the impact on your CPU. Additionally, keep these extensions updated, as newer versions often include performance improvements.
Use alternate browsers
While Chrome and Firefox are widely used, other browsers like Microsoft Edge or Opera might handle Twitch streams more efficiently. Different browsers have varying levels of optimization and resource management, which can affect CPU usage. Test Twitch on different browsers to find one that utilizes your CPU more effectively for streaming purposes.
Firefox vs Chrome for Twitch
Both Firefox and Chrome are built on different architectures and have their own methods of handling media content. This might lead to variances in CPU utilization when using Twitch.
- Firefox: Uses a system called Quantum which is designed for parallel processing. While this system is efficient, certain extensions or settings might interfere with its efficiency when streaming.
- Chrome: Chrome’s multi-process architecture may spawn multiple processes for different tabs, extensions, and plugins. This can result in high CPU usage, especially when many tabs are open alongside Twitch.
Disable hardware acceleration
Both Chrome and Firefox have hardware acceleration enabled by default, which offloads certain tasks to your GPU (Graphics Processing Unit). While this can improve overall performance in some cases, it can lead to increased CPU usage, especially if there are conflicts between the GPU and CPU.
To disable hardware acceleration in Chrome, click “Settings,” then “System,” and toggle off “Use hardware acceleration when available.”
In Firefox, click “Settings,” search for “Hardware Acceleration,” and uncheck the box. Experiment with both hardware acceleration enabled and disabled to determine which setting works best for your specific hardware and Twitch usage.
Limit active Twitch tabs and background processes
Having multiple Twitch streams open in different tabs or running streams in the background can strain your CPU, especially if they are running simultaneously. Close inactive Twitch tabs and avoid leaving streams running when not actively watching them.
Additionally, ensure that other resource-intensive applications are not running in the background, as they can compete for CPU resources with Twitch.
Update browser and GPU drivers
Ensuring that your browser and GPU drivers are up to date is essential for optimal performance. Software updates often include optimizations and bug fixes that can improve overall performance, including CPU usage on streaming platforms like Twitch. Check for updates regularly and install them to take advantage of the latest improvements and enhancements.
High CPU usage when using Twitch on Firefox or Chrome can be a result of various factors, ranging from video quality settings and resource-intensive extensions, to hardware acceleration. By understanding the root causes and implementing the solutions mentioned above, users can enjoy a smoother Twitch streaming experience. Ultimately, the key is to experiment and find what combination of settings works best for your specific system.