Jan 222011

I’ve been enjoying Pandora Radio for several years. It has been a great way to discover new artists and even new genres of music. I doubt I’d ever have learned of the existence of Dubsteb without Pandora – see my Music, Movie and Book Recommendations page to hear samples of my latest discoveries.

However, the web client was built on Adobe Flash, which makes it a bit of a CPU hog. I’ve long known that playing Pandora used up a lot more CPU time than playing other music (roughly 50% of the CPU for Pandora vs ~1% of the CPU for an MP3 or OGG). Thankfully, I have found a way to reduce the CPU load considerably.

All you have to do is open Pandora in a new browser tab, get your music playing, and then switch to a different tab in the browser. Hiding the Pandora tab stops it from constantly re-drawing itself, and that seems to make a huge difference. Here are the results on my desktop:

Screenshot of CPU usage with Pandora Radio in the foreground

Pandora CPU Usage in the Foreground

Screenshot of Pandora CPU usage in the background

Pandora CPU Usage in the Background

The upshot is that I can cut Pandora’s CPU usage by two thirds. This also reduces the temperature of my processor by 6°C – probably more in the summer months.

  6 Responses to “Pandora Radio CPU Usage is Too High”

Comments (6)
  1. Great solution. I was looking for a solution to this problem online, and there was nothing.

  2. I just connect my iPod touch to our Wi-Fi and use the Pandora App. This eliminates any CPU usage on my desktop.

    • Phones work, too. I have Pandora on my HTC G2, but I really only use that on the go. My computer is the only device connected to my stereo ;)

  3. Thanks for that great & easy solution!

  4. The new Pandora has improved. Sometime earlier this year Pandora rolled out a new web-based player. CPU usage has gone down dramatically since then.

  5. Thanks a ton, I’ve been looking for a solution to this for months, this cut Pandora’s CPU usage from 60-90% to ~30%. My audio no longer lags/stutters when I do anything but listen to Pandora. I was having it open as the only tab in GC but after this I use a single Pandora tab and a blank ‘new tab’ in IE (I use IE for work so no preaching on the ills of IE please).

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