I don't own a single PC game, but I'm thrilled for this Microsoft Edge gaming feature

Microsoft Edge Vertical Tabs
(Image credit: Future)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft started testing a new feature in Edge that limits how much RAM the browser can use.
  • There are options to limit RAM usage at all times or only while you play games on your PC.
  • The feature is part of a controlled rollout to Edge Canary, meaning only some users in the Canary Channel can try the feature at this time.

Microsoft Edge has a new feature in the works that should help PC gamers get the most out of their systems. A new section in the Edge Settings page allows you to limit how much RAM the browser can use. Enabling the option will free up system memory for a game you're playing or any other app you have running.

The change was spotted by Leo Varela, who shared screenshots of the Edge Settings page section for the feature. The section is currently in testing in Edge Canary, but as usual it's part of a controlled rollout, so you may not see it yet.

Web browsers are notorious for eating up RAM. That's not an issue if you have a PC with a lot of RAM, but things can get bogged down if you use a device with a lower amount of memory. A browser gobbling up RAM can also be an issue if you're trying to use other programs at the same time, such as playing your favorite game. The new Edge feature lets you cap the RAM Edge can use, freeing you up to allocate system resources to games or other apps.

There are a few settings available for the feature at the moment. You can select to only have Edge limit its RAM usage when you're gaming or you can always limit the RAM Edge can use. There's also a slider to select how much RAM Edge can use at any given time. Options start at 1GB of RAM and range all the way up to 16GB of RAM, which should be enough for quite a few tabs.

Obviously, limiting how much RAM Edge can access may affect browser performance, but that's a reasonable sacrifice if your primary focus is another app or a game.

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Not just for gaming

I admit that I don't own a single PC game. I don't even have Steam installed on my computer. But despite being a console peasant, I appreciate the new feature for Edge, even if one of its main use cases is gaming.

Almost my entire workflow is web-based, and Microsoft Edge is my primary browser. I write my research for articles and write posts in Edge. I also use web apps for Slack and AirTable, both of which run in Edge and are "installed" as apps. Needless to say, I can end up with a lot of tabs open at once.

When I'm on the go and away from my main PC, I have a computer with a lot less RAM. I've run into some hiccups when trying to stick with my normal workflow and then hopping into a photo editing app or other program. Limiting RAM usage in Edge at all times will ensure that I have some memory left on my PC to use other tools.

Microsoft Edge | Free

Microsoft Edge | Free

Microsoft Edge is the default browser on Windows. It's based on Chromium, so it's compatible with the vast majority of the web. There are several Insider versions of the browser, allowing you to test new features and provide feedback to Microsoft. Edge Canary testers can try a new feature that lets you limit how much RAM the browser can use at any moment.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.