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Firefox Nightly can use your GPU to render web browsing

By mongeese · 17 replies
Sep 15, 2018
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  1. Mozilla’s solution to the problem – called WebRender – has recently been enabled in the Firefox beta variant Firefox Nightly by Mozilla developer Jeff Muizelaar. It’s automatically enabled for Windows 10 desktop devices with an Nvidia GPU and you can enable it in settings on other hardware, though he says it isn’t ready for Android yet.

    WebRender is part of Mozilla’s long-term plan to overhaul Firefox to be future ready and has been under testing for many months “without major issues.” Like most Nightly features, full integration into standard Firefox is expected soon. Various Firefox Nightly users have already reported noticeable performance increases, while others are worried that having the browser open in the background could harm game performance.

    You can check out the performance uplift in the example video below:

    Permalink to story.

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 17, 2018
  2. Vulcanproject

    Vulcanproject TS Evangelist Posts: 697   +953

    This would be great, software really should be capable of fully utilising all the resources inside a machine to give the best experience. GPU acceleration has been touted in many applications for a very long time, but it still seems to be overlooked in common applications everyone uses on the average PC.

    I feel a culprit for browsing stutter on many machines is often the dynamic clock speeds of modern CPUs. They can be extremely aggressive to try and save power, shedding cycles. It can definitely result in micro stutters in the split second response ramping back up for a higher load.
    Robinson Ochoa likes this.
  3. NahNood

    NahNood TS Addict Posts: 115   +56

    So does it still crash the nvidia driver periodically?
  4. veLa

    veLa TS Evangelist Posts: 851   +295

    This has the potential to be very impressive.
    Robinson Ochoa likes this.
  5. L Monty

    L Monty TS Rookie

    I like this idea! I hope Chrome does something similar. If not, I may be tempted to switch back to Firefox.

    I have a laptop with i5-8250u and MX150 GPU, and would really love to use the MX150 for more than just casual gaming.

    Although GPU acceleration is already enabled in my browser (again, this is Chrome and not Firefox), I noticed that loading large images (manga pages) in MangaFox spikes up the CPU load, and not the GPU. This is true even if I force Chrome to use MX150 in the nVidia control panel. I find this weird, and can ony speculate that the GPU acceleration is not fully implemented (I.e. probably only used for video acceleration and 3D elements, not 2D images). A fuller implementation will be most welcome.
  6. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,625   +2,364

    Firefox has been dead since they betrayed all their addon developers for the second time in three years. If you don't use Chrome already you might as well because there is no difference between the two now.
  7. PurpleYoda

    PurpleYoda TS Enthusiast Posts: 41   +11

    Funny comment about open browser hurting game performance.. Real gamers don't have ANYTHING open apart from the game ;-P
    Robinson Ochoa likes this.
  8. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,645   +304

    You're right, consoles don't run browsers. :‑Þ
  9. Danny101

    Danny101 TS Guru Posts: 726   +274

    Nice thought if Mozilla can keep Firefox from crashing.
  10. mrjgriffin

    mrjgriffin TS Evangelist Posts: 349   +163

    This has existed in chrome for a long time. go to chrome://flags and type in raster and enable "gpu rasterization and zero copy rasterizer" set raster threads to the max number and put the msaa count to 16. find smooth scrolling as well and disable that lag causing garbage too
    baldmosher likes this.
  11. baldmosher

    baldmosher TS Rookie

    I just did this, but didn't notice any difference. (Intel 620 on-chip GPU displaying 1080p.) That said, I didn't notice it being particularly juddery previously. Can't imagine it'll do any harm to shift some processing to the GPU, though.
  12. JaredTheDragon

    JaredTheDragon TS Guru Posts: 551   +372

    Except that one is natively and intentionally spyware and the other is... More open. And faster. And better at memory-management, and blah blah blah biased propaganda.

    I came to argue that Firefox wasn't actually dead, but then did a bit of updated research for August/Sept 2018 and it turns out it's not even at 10% anymore on desktop. I wouldn't say it's dead, but they lost their edge to the NSA team a long time ago and they probably can't get it back now, unless they actually did something phenomenal.

    That said, aside from one or two extensions I liked before "Quantum" came out, it's been a decent experience since.
    Robinson Ochoa likes this.
  13. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,213   +4,884

    They could mimic Google and bundle their software with every piece of freeware offered online. I'm actually surprised Microsoft hasn't tried using Freeware to reactivate Edge on everyone's machine.
    Robinson Ochoa likes this.
  14. L Monty

    L Monty TS Rookie

    I tried it, but with no difference. When loading scanned manga pages in Mangafox, there is still a noticeable spike in CPU load (well under 1 second, seen in Windows Task Manager) as the page loads.

    Thanks just the same for sharing.
  15. havok585

    havok585 TS Addict Posts: 200   +57

    BS, Firefox dead ? then explain how most people use it? is it because it's actually better ? Chrome has a long way to go until it reaches Firefox.
    Most likely your childish reaction is probably because you dont use firefox and hate on it.
  16. Cody Yandura

    Cody Yandura TS Rookie

    I'm not on anyone's side but Edge already does this.
  17. mrjgriffin

    mrjgriffin TS Evangelist Posts: 349   +163

    :p I figured chrome was doing something like what the article is mentioning based on what the settings say but as you said I havent noticed any lag with the settings on nor off but I like the offload going to the gpu whenever it can
  18. Kelly Kufeldt

    Kelly Kufeldt TS Member

    Actually there is. My bank and my alarm company websites won't open properly in Chrome. I have to use other browsers now, so I just switched back to Firefox until someone fixes the Chrome problem.

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