Chromium Gets GPU Acceleration, Chrome Next

29 Ago/10

Hardware accelerated rendering seems to be a new web browser trend, as developers of all major browsers have confirmed that their browsers will support it in one form or the other.

The latest announcement in this regard came from the Chromium team just two days ago. Google has for some time worked on implementing hardware acceleration in Chromium, and the announcement acts as a primer to summarize those efforts.

The underlying infrastructure consists of a new gpu process which “accepts graphics commands from the renderer process and pushes them to OpenGL or Direct3D”.

The gpu process sandbox had to be modified to allow the renderer process to access those graphics apis.

With this basic piece of infrastructure, we’ve started accelerating some content in Chromium. A web page can naturally be divided into a number of more or less independent layers. Layers can contain text styled with CSS, images, videos, and WebGL or 2D canvases. Currently, most of the common layer contents, including text and images, are still rendered on the CPU and are simply handed off to the compositor for the final display. Other layers use the GPU to accelerate needed operations that touch a lot of pixels. Video layers, for example, can now do color conversion and scaling in a shader on the GPU. Finally, there are some layers that can be fully rendered on the GPU, such as those containing WebGL elements.

After these layers are rendered, there’s still a crucial last step to blend them all onto a single page as quickly as possible. Performing this last step on the CPU would have erased most of the performance gains achieved by accelerating individual layers, so Chromium now composites layers on the GPU when run with the –enable-accelerated-compositing flag.

gpu process chromium

gpu process chromium

To get optimal results users need to start Chromium with the –enable-accelerated-compositing flag.

The new gpu process is currently only available in Chromium, but it is likely that it will be integrated in one of the coming Google Chrome Dev releases. It will take some months probably before it will be available in beta and stable releases of Google Chrome.

© Martin for gHacks Technology News, 2010. | Permalink | Add to, digg, facebook, reddit, twitter
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