Chrome 18 enables GPU-powered Canvas 2D, adds SwiftShader

By on March 29, 2012, 7:00 PM

Google has released the latest stable version of Chrome (v18.0.1025.142 for those counting), bringing nine security fixes and more notably, enhanced support for graphically intensive applications. Previously offered in beta, the update officially introduces GPU-accelerated Canvas 2D (an HTML5 element) on "capable" Windows and Mac systems, but there's no mention of support for Linux.

As you'd expect, the feature provides faster and smoother performance in games and other GPU-intensive Web applications, while reducing load on your CPU. I don't see an option to disable GPU-accelerated Canvas 2D in chrome://flags so I can't offer a performance comparison with the feature on and off, but I get around 50fps when rendering 1000 fish in Microsoft's FishIE Tank test.

Additionally, Google has licensed TransGaming's SwiftShader, which should allow users with older machines to experience decent 3D performance with a software GPU. According to TransGaming's FAQ, SwiftShader offers 3DMark06 score of 320 with a quad-core 3.2GHz Core i7, which exceeds most integrated graphics solutions. The company offers a free downloadable DX9 Shader Model 3.0 demo.

Performance improvements aside, Google issued several thousand dollars in rewards for security fixes, with five "medium" flaws patched as well as three with a "high" severity rating. The update also includes the new Adobe Flash Player 11.2, which plugs many of its own holes. As usual, Chrome should update automatically if you already have it installed, or you can grab a copy from our download section.

User Comments: 9

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Chazz said:

hmm I'm getting 60 with firefox nightly at windowed resolution and full screen(2560x1600). Is there a more intensive test?

killamoves said:

Went from 14 fps with 1000 fish before the update to 60 fps after.

VitalyT VitalyT said:

An impressive improvement in speed. All IE10 speed tests Chrome churns through effortlessly, unlike it was before. Before this update Chrome was far behind in FPS from IE10, and now they are at par.

Well done, Google!

sapo joe said:

Still, no x64 version of Chrome. Still, I'm with Firefox x64. WAKE UP GOOGLE!

Guest said:

60 FPS solid with Waterfox, all fish tank numbers, Chrome, not so much.......

Noticed, Waterfox uses video card to accelerate, Chrome didnt.......

Guest said:

For 1000 fish, went from less than 4 fps in Chrome 17 to 55-60 fps in Chrome 18. Running AMD A8 APU with ATI HD6250 on the chip. 4 GB ram. 64-bit Win7 Ult. If this keeps up, I'm back to Chrome; finally! :)

Guest said:

with chrome i cant have the same zoom page on all web pages. so i stay on opera.

Guest said:

updated that command and conquer alliances in the browser before was fine.... now slow and laggy have to use a different browser to play the game now clearly not quite right......

Guest said:

Great. Google Chrome 18 totally broke font rendering for me. Text is almost impossible to read. I suspect it is this feature... and I can't find a way how to deactivate it. Thanks, Google.

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