Take a shiny new Mac Pro, loaded up with a staggering 1.5TB of system RAM – how do you push such a machine to its limits? Forget the usual stress tests or heavyweight benchmarking utilities – what you need to do is open a shed-load of Chrome tabs.
How many such browser tabs can a memory-stuffed Mac Pro 2019 handle? That’s what Jonathan Morrison set out to discover in a YouTube video (Morrison is a prominent Apple tech reviewer on YouTube, and one of very few sent an early Mac Pro to play with).
It turns out that Morrison managed to launch 6,000 tabs in Chrome – not just blank tabs, but actually running a variety of proper web pages (opened via a script) – and that consumed almost all of the PC’s system memory, with overall RAM usage peaking at 1.49TB.
Apple’s victory was in the fact that the Mac Pro (and macOS) didn’t fall over when pulling off this feat, and continued to run normally; in fact it was still able to smoothly multitask between a few other apps which were running at the same time.
Although the same couldn’t be said of Google’s browser. With 6,000 tabs open, one of the Chrome processes became unresponsive. While the browser didn’t actually crash, it seemed to stall, and when Morrison force quit that unresponsive process, every instance of the Chrome closed. And unsurprisingly, on reopening, Chrome did not restore all the tabs successfully (or indeed any of them).
Morrison observed that around the 5,000 tabs mark, the machine ran just fine, and he could freely switch between all the different tabs smoothly.
So at the end of this memory grudge match, the winner – by a technical knockout, perhaps – was the mighty Mac Pro.
Morrison says that he might repeat the experiment with other browsers like Firefox, or indeed Safari, so we might see other similar videos in the future, which could make for interesting comparisons.