Russian software company Yandex, which also makes browsers, has alleged that AMD graphics drivers are unfairly favoring other Chromium-based browsers which mainly include Google Chrome, and perhaps Microsoft Edge too. In a blog post describing its new findings, the firm has alleged that AMD drivers would crash over five times less and would eat up on average, 8% less memory when these drivers would detect the “chrome.exe”file.
The chart below shows the crash pattern of the AMD drivers. The line in red represents the number of driver crashes when using the chrome EXE file workaround.
Yandex developers apparently stumbled upon this finding when investigating a webpage scrolling issue that wasn’t present on Chrome and Edge. This issue seemed to resolve when the “browser.exe”file was renamed to “chrome.exe”.
Brave CEO Brendan Eich drew attention to this report on Twitter:
Yandex reports  that renaming their Chromium-based browser's GPU process name to "chrome.exe" decreases GPU process crashes 5x and memory consumption by 8% when AMD drivers are used. Why? Driver authors hardcode chrome.exe and optimize for Chrome.😠
— BrendanEich (@BrendanEich) March 17, 2023
Yandex has explained this in detail in a blog post on Habr (Google-translated to English):
Once our team encountered a bug: on Lenovo laptops in Yandex Browser, scrolling web pages from the touchpad was too sharp, but in other browsers (Chrome and Edge) this problem was not observed.
After looking at the code, we realized that our touchpad event handling logic does not differ from the open source Chromium, on which both our browser and Google Chrome are based. So the problem was somewhere else.
For the sake of interest, we tried to rename the executable file of our browser from browser.exe to chrome.exe – and voila! Jumps during scrolling have been fixed. Probably, in the touchpad drivers, a certain list of application file names was “hardcoded”, for which the fix for this problem was applied.
The results surprised us a lot: for users with AMD video cards from the experimental group, the number of GPU process crashes decreased by 5.5 times, the memory consumption of the GPU process decreased by an average of 8%, and the opening of web pages in the browser and interface responsiveness also slightly accelerated
Yandex says that it has reached out to AMD regarding these findings and has also already included the optimization, ie, the executable file renamed to chrome.exe, in its browsers starting with version 22.9.0.
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