Battery Performance and Browser tabs

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by ks-man, Nov 24, 2010.

  1. ks-man macrumors 6502a

    Sep 25, 2007
    I was reading a lot of posts about battery performance on the new MBAs and comparing other users' experiences to mine. One thing that is often cited but I can't get a good feel for how big of an impact it has is the number of tabs that are open in a browser.

    The bulk of the stuff I do with my MBA is browsing the web. I would typically call it "light" browsing but that is based on my definition (not watching video) and perhaps not by other people's definitions. I typically have between 4-8 tabs open. Will this use up significantly more battery than if I browsed with only one tab open? If I am looking to maximize my battery performance and get a noticeable increase in life (an extra hour or two) because I'm not at home and don't have close access to a charger should I only browse with one or two tabs?

    On a similar note, does having more tabs open use more processing power and RAM? I'm only questioning this with respect to a noticeable amount. Clearly having extra tabs open will have some impact but I always figured it to be a de minimis amount such as minutes rather than house with respect to battery life.

    Is having two tabs open on Google Chrome like having two full instances of the application? Or in another way would having 7 tabs open be equal to 7x the battery, ram and processor usage as 1? I'm not referring to watching videos, loading pages or running flash on 7 pages at a time, but just having an open page that is fully loaded on a secondary tab.

    Thanks for the help.
  2. dmelgar macrumors 68000

    Apr 29, 2005
    Having a tab open does not directly relate to battery life.

    A tab does use more memory. Battery consumption is based on CPU usage.

    IF a tab is displaying flash, some other plugin such as silverlight, potentially animated gifs or background operating javascript, such as GMail, Yahoo mail, Google stock quotes, then additional tabs might keep doing things, using up CPU and therefore battery power.

    Mac OS X is very good at managing memory. You could open up tons of tabs and not experience any slowdown or increased battery drain, if the tabs display static web pages. Even if the system ran out of RAM it would use the SSD and swap memory. For tabs, it would be pretty fast.

    Bottom line, these systems are very capable unless you throw flash at them.
  3. jahman macrumors regular

    Feb 12, 2010
    The number of tabs shouldn't make a difference really. The browser will only be rendering the page you're looking at although other tabs may have pages which perform additional refreshes in the background using Javascript or simple HTML refresh which will increase CPU load. The more tabs you have though, of course, the more RAM will be used but unless you're exceeding the physical RAM on your machine necessitating paging which implies extra CPU too this shouldn't have an effect on battery life.

    I usually have 40-50 windows open in Chrome on my laptop and get the expected battery life for the machine;).



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