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:
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.