The latest Firefox 4 beta has just been released. It comes with Direct2D acceleration activated by default.
What is hardware acceleration?
“Hardware acceleration” is basically using the GPU when it’s possible (instead of the CPU). This makes page-drawing operations faster.
There’s two different levels of acceleration going on:
- Content acceleration speeds up rendering the actual page content, such as the text, images, CSS borders, etc. Content acceleration is also used to speed up the 2D HTML canvas. On Windows Vista/7, we use Direct2D for this and it has been activated in this new beta.
- Compositing acceleration speeds up putting together chunks of already-rendered content (layers) together for final display in the window, potentially applying effects such as transforms along the way. For example, if you had a HTML5 video that was playing, and it had CSS effects applied to it that was making it rotate and fade in and out, that would be using compositing acceleration to make that go fast. (This feature is not activated by default yet.)
Hardware Acceleration by operating system:
These optimizations are available only if you have compatible hardware and the associated drivers.
|Operation||Linux||Windows XP||Windows Vista/7||Mac OS X|
|Compositing||OpenGL||Direct 3D||Direct 3D||OpenGL|
: Quartz is basically CPU-only. QuartzGL (GPU acceleration for the Quartz 2D API) is not activated in Firefox for now (nor in other browsers).