Microsoft Edge might let you limit its RAM usage soon including a setting just for gamers

Edge browser gaming
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft Edge is fine. Unfortunately, fine doth butter few parsnips in the world of browser choices, as it's often jokingly referred to as the browser you use on a new Windows install to download something better. Still, if some new features in the latest Canary build of the browser are anything to go by, soon you might be able to control its RAM usage, with a mode specifically for gaming, too.

According to Twitter user Leopeva64, the latest Canary build of Edge has a new section in its settings page that allows you to limit the browser's RAM usage with a handy slider (via The Verge). More than that, another setting also appears to let you control whether the RAM limiter engages for gaming only or is enabled by default, a feature that strikes as actually very useful for those of you running smaller amounts of RAM on a gaming PC.

In the example screenshots it appears that the slider can be set between 1GB and 16GB of RAM, presumably on a system with 16GB total. That's about the minimum amount we'd recommend for a modern gaming PC, and even then with some RAM-hungry games you'd be far more comfortable with 32GB if you like to keep multiple applications open in the background, including a browser loaded with tabs.

This isn't the first time we've seen Microsoft Edge enable features designed to curtail its resource usage, as it also currently includes an "efficiency mode" that limits resources, primarily for better battery life on mobile devices.

This new setting seems more specifically targeted at gamers though, and may well come as a welcome addition for PC gaming enthusiasts still persevering with the default Windows browser. C'mon, we know you're out there. Rejoice!

On my occasional jaunts into the Task Manager, I'm often surprised by just how much RAM browsers like Google Chrome and Firefox can consume with a few concurrent tabs open, and even on my 32GB system I perform a regular culling before opening up a demanding game. 

However, Edge isn't the first to play with these sort of settings. Opera GX is a version of the Opera browser "built for gamers", and has featured a built-in RAM and CPU limiter for some time, while Chrome itself has a "memory saver" setting that in my experience, doesn't appear to save much.

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It's worth noting that limiting RAM usage in Edge is likely to incur heavy performance penalties, with Microsoft warning that "setting a low limit may impact browser speed". Unless the company has pulled off a minor miracle, it's likely to limit the number of tabs and content-heavy sites the browser can handle by a significant amount, depending on how you set it.

Still, strike a potential win for the often maligned Microsoft browser then, should this feature make it into an eventual release build. It'll probably take a lot more than this to convince the majority of PC gamers to switch over, but regardless, it's nice to see Edge attempt to cater for the PC gamer crowd, at the very least.

Andy Edser
Hardware Writer

Andy built his first gaming PC at the tender age of 12, when IDE cables were a thing and high resolution wasn't. After spending over 15 years in the production industry overseeing a variety of live and recorded projects, he started writing his own PC hardware blog for a year in the hope that people might send him things. Sometimes they did.

Now working as a hardware writer for PC Gamer, Andy can be found quietly muttering to himself and drawing diagrams with his hands in thin air. It's best to leave him to it.