Opera just released “Opera GX” and advertises it as the world’s first gaming browser. Beyond the gaming-inspired theme and Razer Chroma integration, there’s a very interesting CPU and RAM limiter feature. But will it speed up your PC gaming?
What Is Opera GX?
Opera GX is a desktop web browser for Windows PCs. Despite the name, it’s a browser meant for use within games, as Steam’s built-in browser works in the Steam overlay. It’s not available for game consoles like the Xbox One or PlayStation 4, either.
Like the standard version of Opera, Opera GX is based on Chromium, the open-source project that forms the basis for the Google Chrome web browser and the upcoming Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser. Websites should look the same as in Chrome, and you can install Chrome extensions in this browser, too.
This gaming browser is free and was released in “Early Access” on June 11, 2019—during E3.
What Is a Gaming Browser?
Don’t expect Opera GX to improve your gaming performance dramatically. This browser mostly includes features built for “gamers”: A gaming-inspired theme with Razer Chroma integration, built-in gaming news and deals, a Twitch panel, and sound effects by a game soundtrack designer.
The only feature that could boost your performance is “GX Control”: Built-in RAM and CPU limiters that can restrict how much memory and CPU time your web browser will use.
A Gaming Theme (With Razer Chroma Integration)
The first thing you’ll notice is the theme: Opera GX takes “gaming browser” to heart, going for a dark theme and bright colors typical of gaming peripherals and PCs. With a quick click on the “Easy Setup” icon at the top right corner of the browser, you can select one of a few pre-selected colors—or any color you like—for the browser’s highlights. Customizable wallpapers are available, too.
This browser even features Razer Chroma integration. Activate the “Razer Chroma” option here, and any color you choose in the browser will be duplicated on any Chroma-enabled accessories you own like Razer’s DeathAdder Elite gaming mouse or BlackWidow keyboard. It’s a slick way to tweak your browser theme and RGB lightning all at once.
GX Control: RAM and CPU Limiters
Beyond the theme and Razer Chroma integration, the most interesting feature is something the browser calls “GX Control.”
Click the GX Control button in the sidebar, and you’ll get a panel with a “RAM Limiter” and “CPU Limiter.” For example, you could force the browser to use only 3 GB of your system’s 12 GB of RAM or limit it to 10% of your system’s CPU resources.
This is a pretty unique feature. Leaving it enabled all the time will make your browser slower, of course. But if you’d rather not manually close tabs to free up resources for games, the limiters could perhaps help.
It’s unclear whether you’ll get a performance boost from this, of course. Windows is supposed to manage resources automatically, and your browser should get out of the way while you’re playing a game. But that doesn’t always work correctly, which is why gamers tend to close their browsers and not leave 100 tabs open in the background while playing games.
“Before Opera GX, gamers often shut down their browsers to not slow down their gaming experience. We came up with the GX Control feature to make people’s games run more smoothly without requiring them to compromise on what they do on the web,” explains Opera’s Maciej Kocemba.
It’s also worth noting that this browser won’t speed up web games in any way. Its performance features are exclusively about getting out of the way and limiting resources available to web pages.
What Else Does a Gaming Browser Include?
This browser is built for gamers. The “GX Corner” panel sits at the left corner of your tab bar at all times. It features news about upcoming games and a deals aggregator with links to games on sale. It also features a “Daily News” section which, by default, provides you with a dedicated stream of gaming news.
The sidebar features a built-in Twitch panel where you can browse the channels you follow, see who’s online streaming right now, and even get notifications when a channel you’re following starts live streaming.
Opera GX also plays “GX Sound” sound effects, including when you hover over icons on the Speed Dial (New Tab) page. Opera is proud of this, boasting that they were “composed in collaboration with sound designer Rubén Rincón and the band Berlinist, who recently received a nomination in the BAFTA Games Awards for Gris game original soundtrack.” If you don’t like them, you can disable them.
You’ll Get Normal Opera Browser Features, Too
Opera GX also touts several other features found in Opera. For example, messengers are also available in the sidebar—Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Vkontakte, and WhatsApp are integrated, and you can chat right from your browser’s interface.
Like Opera, Opera GX also features a built-in adblocker, free VPN, and a “video pop out” feature that lets you play a video in a smaller overlay outside your web browser. Opera promises a “Video over game” feature is coming so you can watch a video walkthrough or another video on top of a game while you’re playing it, but that isn’t available yet.
Should You Use It?
If you love the look or want features like Razer Chroma and Twitch integration, then go ahead and use Opera GX. Despite the unusual look, this is a pretty standard Chromium browser that should work just like Chrome with websites.
That’s the main attraction here, however: The aesthetic and the built-in game culture features like Twitch integration and gaming news. The initial version of Opera GX even identifies its version number as “LVL 1.”
The limiters are one of the most interesting features we’ve seen in a browser in a while and could be worth playing with. Don’t expect huge performance increases, however. And watch out: If you leave those enabled all the time, you’ll just end up using a slower browser.