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Firefox 4 B4 Bringing Direct2D GPU Acceleration

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 5 comments

Adventurous Firefox fans, there's a new beta coming on Monday that'll add a couple considerable features.

The fourth beta of Firefox 4 will be hitting on Monday, and notable will be the inclusion of hardware acceleration for Windows users that have the hardware and software to support Direct2D.

Firefox using your GPU to render won't be on by default – at least not yet. Mozilla's VP of engineering tweeted that Direct2D will be included in beta 4, but it isn't quite ready for everyone to be running it yet. Instead, the feature will be enabled through user intervention by modifying the config.

Mozilla details in its Wiki of how to turn it on and what to look out for:

D2D status:

  • Direct2D is not turned on by default for Firefox 4 beta 4. (We weren't confident enough to turn it on for all users.)
  • However, all the code in Firefox 4 beta 4, and it should work reasonably well for everyone.
  • We really need testers, both on the beta and on nightlies. (We plan to enable Direct2D in nightlies as soon as beta 4 is tagged and branched.)
  • To turn on Direct2D: Go in to about:config and set mozilla.widget.render-mode to 6, and gfx.font_rendering.directwrite.enabled to true.
  • To turn off Direct2D, once it is on by default, set mozilla.widget.render-mode to 0.
  • To check whether you are running with Direct2D, go to about:support and look at the bottom. (Once bug 586046 lands, there will be even more information about your graphics card in there.)
  • Please look out for memory usage, rendering speed, and any rendering problems you might see. Also focus on interactions with plugins like Flash.

Firefox beta 4 will also bring with it the first official implementation of Tab Candy, the super slick way of managing lots of tabs.

While we hate it when the weekend ends, we're excited to try the new Firefox beta 4 that'll work our GPUs.

Discuss
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  • 1 Hide
    Silmarunya , 21 August 2010 02:47
    This could help FF close the massive speed gap between it and Chrome/Opera, so it's a very good thing. On the other hand, Chrome and Opera are already working on hardware acceleration too...

    FF really isn't in a good position now, especially when it comes to raw speed.
  • 1 Hide
    ben BOys , 22 August 2010 00:51
    agreed with above even though i'm using firefox now i'm only using it because chrome is broken on 1 or 2 sites is use such as the ...Nexus sites for mods. And as soon as i know they are totally fix firefox can kiss my white bottom
  • 0 Hide
    wild9 , 23 August 2010 01:54
    I'm sure Commodore Amiga users would look at that and chuckle..
  • 0 Hide
    shakari , 23 August 2010 03:56
    Only reason why i'm useing firefox atm is Ad block plus, chromes ad block just doesnt feel right yet, but when it does i'll prob head that way. Though if firefox really does get some good performance with the next version i'll stick with it.
  • 0 Hide
    Silmarunya , 24 August 2010 01:58
    shakariOnly reason why i'm useing firefox atm is Ad block plus, chromes ad block just doesnt feel right yet, but when it does i'll prob head that way. Though if firefox really does get some good performance with the next version i'll stick with it.


    Opera has native ad blocking. You can copy/paste a filter list (FanBoy's list for example, which is also available for Chrome and FF) into an Opera file and if you encounter anything else you don't like, from an add that isn't on the list to a too flashy picture on a website, just right click and select 'block content'.

    It's a bit more work, but works just as well as FF ad blocking and Opera is tied with Chrome for speed.