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Mozilla adds hardware acceleration to Firefox 3.7

Mozilla adds hardware acceleration to Firefox 3.7


Credit: Bas Schouten

In Microsoft’s recent exposé on Internet Explorer 9, the firm revealed that it would be harnessing Direct2D hardware acceleration to improve the browser’s font rendering. Not to be outdone, Mozilla developer Bas Schouten has already implemented Direct2D acceleration into Firefox beta 3.7.

Direct2D is similar to Direct3D in that it allows the software to make calls directly to the graphics card. However, whereas Direct3D is concerned with three-dimensional geometry, Direct2D is designed explicitly for rendering two-dimensional objects. That difference aside, the performance characteristics between the APIs are similar in that scenes of greater complexity rely more heavily on the processor. When it comes to browsing, that means complex sites see relatively little acceleration, while simpler sites have more free CPU power to render faster.

The system requirements for Direct2D web acceleration are Windows Vista or Windows 7, and any DirectX 10+ GPU. Users interested in trying hardware browser acceleration for themselves can read the developer’s comments here, and grab the Firefox 3.7 beta here.


  1. faun
    faun oooh. Lets hope they first sort the crashing problems properly eh.
  2. Butters
    Butters Well, you sort of know what you are getting into when its an Pre Alpha 1 release, has a bomb as an Icon, and is code name "Minefield".

    With that said, it hasn't crashed on me yet, and I've been scouring the web for deals.
  3. faun
    faun 3.6 isnt even released yet, why wont they work it into a 6.5 release instead of a .7
  4. AlexDeGruven
    AlexDeGruven It's probably a significant enough change to the core to warrant a separate dot release. Adding an entirely new level of rendering would qualify in my book.
  5. pigflipper
  6. Tim
    Tim Ah finally, hardware acceleration in 3.7! Maybe it's time for me to switch from IE6!

    Or maybe not?
  7. ardichoke
    ardichoke :tim::tim::tim::tim::tim::tim:
    The time to switch from IE6 was about 6 years ago. Way to miss the boat... about a dozen times.

    Oh... and IE6 doesn't have hardware acceleration either. So what you're implying doesn't even make sense. Then again that's about par for the course.

    /me feeds the troll.
  8. MachineDog
    MachineDog Any idea why scrolling is far smoother in Chrome than in Firefox?
  9. ardichoke
    MachineDog wrote:
    Any idea why scrolling is far smoother in Chrome than in Firefox?
    Scrolling is just as smooth in Firefox as Chrome for me... perhaps you have some shady plugins installed? Or are lacking proper video card drivers?
  10. MachineDog
    MachineDog You know, now that I'm looking into it further, it seems to be an issue with only certain pages with large amounts of flash ads or ajax. In particular, Google Reader gives me issues. Tried this with all addons disabled.
  11. smooth Scrolling with the middle mouse is much smoother in firefox than chrome

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