Q&A Firefox is the best browser for PC gamers?

The_King

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Unlike game consoles, PCs are multi-purpose machines. We use them for productivity work, watching media, browsing the web, gaming, and much more. PCs are also great at managing multiple tasks at once, which is often an important advantage for PC gaming—you can quickly change playlists in a music player between rounds, or look up tutorials for a difficult section without switching devices or exiting anything.
However, not all software plays nice with PC games. Web browsers can be demanding on system resources, especially with RAM—something that many PCs are already short on as games move towards 16GB of memory as a minimum requirement. Most web browsers also use your GPU for rendering pages and media content, which is a great feature most of the time, but maybe not so much when you’re trying to play Call of Duty: Warzone.

There are also other factors to consider that make some browsers better while gaming, like gaming-specific features or integration with popular services and platforms. In this guide, we’ll highlight the best web browser for PC gaming, based on performance testing and available features.
To test RAM usage, we opened three tabs with the same pages across all browsers: a YouTube video playing at 480p, and the home pages of two news websites with various videos, images, and ads. This should roughly simulate what most people might have open in a browser while gaming—music or videos streaming in the background, plus a few guides or wiki pages. Content/ad blocking was turned off across all browsers, and we let the tabs run for a while (while scrolling/clicking elements) to determine the minimum and maximum usage.
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SeriousHoax

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I have an attention span of more than 30 seconds, so I don’t really need a low resource browser while I play a game. I also have a smart phone sitting on the desk if I need quick info.
Same. Why would anyone want to have the browser opened in the background while playing a game unless you are a streamer! The only times when I open a browser is if I got stuck in a game and needed help. As you said, in those cases I usually search the required info on my smartphone.
 

The_King

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Same. Why would anyone want to have the browser opened in the background while playing a game unless you are a streamer! The only times when I open a browser is if I got stuck in a game and needed help. As you said, in those cases I usually search the required info on my smartphone.
I am running a dual monitor setup. So I can have my Browser open on the second screen while I game.
 

SeriousHoax

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I am running a dual monitor setup. So I can have my Browser open on the second screen while I game.
I see. That's a scenario I wasn't thinking about. But I guess you probably won't change your preferred browser just because it uses a little less ram. If you are a Firefox user anyway who's the winner of this particular test then that's great of course.
 

SecureKongo

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Same. Why would anyone want to have the browser opened in the background while playing a game unless you are a streamer! The only times when I open a browser is if I got stuck in a game and needed help. As you said, in those cases I usually search the required info on my smartphone.
Believe it or not but some people actually watch Youtube or Twitch while playing. 😄
 

Evjl's Rain

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Reasons from the article: Firefox uses less RAM than other browsers when opening 3 tabs while having lower performance in benchmarks --> not a valid point for me to use as a browser for gaming

Instead, according to the article, chrome 90 should be the winner because it scores the highest in benchmarks while consuming the similar amount of RAM compared to other chromium browsers (3 tabs). Edge is slightly better in the minimum RAM usage but the same in the maximum

The winner: Firefox​

No matter if you’re in the middle of a game, or just browsing the web normally, Firefox is the way to go. While Firefox did score slightly lower in performance testing compared to Chromium-based browsers, like Microsoft Edge and Vivaldi, it tended to use the least amount of RAM across all the applications we tried. That’s an important factor when games want to use as much of your available memory as possible.

Firefox is also just an excellent browser in general. It has an easy-to-understand interface, plenty of extensions, cloud synchronization, and mobile versions for Android and iOS. Mozilla also has a good track record with defending user privacy and security, and unlike most other browsers, all its code is freely available to look at. By comparison, Chrome and Vivaldi are only partially open-source, and Edge and Opera GX don’t make any of their code available to view.

another test:
 
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Oxygen

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In my case it seems that Firefox uses a lot more RAM than Microsoft Edge with the same tabs open. I'm not really big on having many tabs open as the most amount I'm comfortable with is around 4. In the past I used OneTab to save a bunch of tabs I had open and would come back to them later.

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Most people should be aware that 16GB is the standard (hopefully) and there's no reason why you shouldn't consider upgrading it. Back in the day I was only working with 512mb of RAM on Windows XP and I got by fairly well at that time.
 

The_King

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Reasons from the article: Firefox uses less RAM than other browsers when opening 3 tabs while having lower performance in benchmarks --> not a valid point for me to use as a browser for gaming

Instead, according to the article, chrome 90 should be the winner because it scores the highest in benchmarks
The article is not geared towards using your browser for gaming so Chrome benchmarks is not a primary concern in this article. First paragraph of the article.
Unlike game consoles, PCs are multi-purpose machines. We use them for productivity work, watching media, browsing the web, gaming, and much more. PCs are also great at managing multiple tasks at once, which is often an important advantage for PC gaming—you can quickly change playlists in a music player between rounds, or look up tutorials for a difficult section without switching devices or exiting anything.
However, not all software plays nice with PC games. Web browsers can be demanding on system resources, especially with RAM—something that many PCs are already short on as games move towards 16GB of memory as a minimum requirement. Most web browsers also use your GPU for rendering pages and media content, which is a great feature most of the time, but maybe not so much when you’re trying to play Call of Duty: Warzone.
Which browser benchmarks higher than the other did not lead to the winner verdict in the article, which browser used the least amount of RAM did.
 

Evjl's Rain

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The article is not geared towards using your browser for gaming so Chrome benchmarks is not a primary concern in this article. First paragraph of the article.

Which browser benchmarks higher than the other did not lead to the winner verdict in the article, which browser used the least amount of RAM did.
the problem is when playing games, people demand highest FPS possible -> close the browser
other options: use 32bit browsers -> they use significantly lower RAM than the 64bit variants without noticeable performance drop -> I'm using chromium 32bit now, almost no difference from the 64bit in terms of performance
moreover, we can use cleanmem to optimize RAM usage of all processes or only whitelisted processes (browser.exe) -> this can lower the mem. usage by a huge margin

The test is inconclusive because they only tested these browser with 3 tabs opened. How about 1 tab, 5 tabs or 10 tabs with/without extensions? According to other tests, firefox almost always uses higher memory than chromium browsers
 

TairikuOkami

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Honestly I would have expected more from pcgamer. I want apps to use RAM rather than disk/CPU. The slim differences can be trimmed by using apps like memreduct if needed.
Believe it or not but some people actually watch Youtube or Twitch while playing. 😄
I listen to Youtube when playing. The only hitch can be caused by hardware acceleration, which can be disabled or dealt with by choosing the right codec: VP9 (CPU) or H264 (GPU).
For the record, when you open a guide or whatever in steam browser ingame (steamwebhelper.exe), it is basically chromium, but not optimized, so it is better to use a real browser.
 
F

ForgottenSeer 85179

This is a very cherry picking argument for a browser.
In real world it doesn't matter as Windows control RAM anyway.

Edge also move unneeded tabs to sleep which should improve RAM usage a lot.

I never close Edge while gaming as I switch often from game to browser if I need waiting for something.
 

SecureKongo

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Honestly I would have expected more from pcgamer. I want apps to use RAM rather than disk/CPU. The slim differences can be trimmed by using apps like memreduct if needed.

I listen to Youtube when playing. The only hitch can be caused by hardware acceleration, which can be disabled or dealt with by choosing the right codec: VP9 (CPU) or H264 (GPU).
For the record, when you open a guide or whatever in steam browser ingame (steamwebhelper.exe), it is basically chromium, but not optimized, so it is better to use a real browser.
At least Steam Browser doesn't need you to tab out everytime you wanna search sth etc. Otherwise using Steam browser is a pain in the a** because it freezes regularly. I would only use Steam browser to listen to music and maybe look for a guide when I'm stuck in a game, but real browsing or watching streams is nearly impossible on it.
 

blackice

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At least Steam Browser doesn't need you to tab out everytime you wanna search sth etc. Otherwise using Steam browser is a pain in the a** because it freezes regularly. I would only use Steam browser to listen to music and maybe look for a guide when I'm stuck in a game, but real browsing or watching streams is nearly impossible on it.
I’ve been a Steam user since the beginning, I’ve never used the browser. It never even dawned on me to try.
 

Templarware

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When I'm gaming, my browser is always closed. When I need to check something in-game, like the location of something when I'm stuck, I use Steam's browser, that's what it's there for. But the best browser for gamers is Opera GX, without a doubt. You can limite it's RAM and CPU usage while gaming, and that's ok because when you're gaming you don't need the best YouTube or Twitch quality, since you're only just listening. Then, it has many great features for when you're not gaming, I don't like to use a browser without a side bar anymore.
 
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Freki123

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When my pc can't handle playing the game and a youtube videostream for audio in 144p or so I think in the long run you will need to upgrade the pc :D
Yes I can change the browser or put them on a lower cpu priority or so but in the end it's just trying to delay an pc upgrade (atleast for my logic).
 

The_King

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In my case it seems that Firefox uses a lot more RAM than Microsoft Edge with the same tabs open. I'm not really big on having many tabs open as the most amount I'm comfortable with is around 4. In the past I used OneTab to save a bunch of tabs I had open and would come back to them later.

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Most people should be aware that 16GB is the standard (hopefully) and there's no reason why you shouldn't consider upgrading it. Back in the day I was only working with 512mb of RAM on Windows XP and I got by fairly well at that time.
The high memory usage in FF is likely from an extension or using an extension that makes use of Firefox container tabs. If I
enable Facebook containers in my FF ram usage jumped up from 469 to 580 with the same 3 tabs open.

I used the following 3 websites Youtube , Techpowerup and MalwareTips.
Brave 710.6MB
Chrome 528.4MB
Edge 497.4MB
FireFox 469.1MB + Facebook container ext enabled 580MB

3 Tab Open Test.jpg


*Depending on your own browser config ram usage may vary.
 
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