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Hardware acceleration in Firefox Beta

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Today I'm going to talk to you about the new Firefox beta with something very interesting, hardware acceleration. First you have to know that hardware acceleration is something that would enable a very significant jump in terms of performance, in a sense that today browsers render the pages in a CPU which is basically the microprocesor of your computer. There is a very powerful piece of hardware inside the computer, the graphical processor, and this graphical processor is for now, unused, but if we could leverage this piece of hardware you will see a performance do a very significant jump provided that you have good drivers, and the right piece of software... Let me show you a web page, it has a video, a fun video, and then you have a text, and you have also a footer ...a fixed positioned footer with an image. Let me show how... This is a computer in memory. Firefox uses a system called layer compositing where we divided the page itself into three different layers: one is for the video, and we do a hardware acceleration for the video, and then we have the text itself, where we use direct 3D for rendering the text, and then we also have on the right for rendering the image itself. In this case, we have... an effect going on, which is a rotation over the image, and so this is what we do, we use the GPU also for rendering. Now if you put things all back together, this gives... this page, and this is call compositing, where we take several layers all together and merge them into a single image you see on the screen, and this is can be done either by the CPU or we could be also leverage the GPU, and this is what we do, and it goes much much faster than the road. And also because we have WebGL inside Firefox 4, this is what we do, WebGL, it's a 3D language for rendering 3D objects. So we have this pyramid and this cube being rendered by the GPU, which is really fast. To give you a better idea of how fast we are compared to non hardware accelerated browsers, let me show you a little demo written by my friend Paul Rouget. Paul here has this browser, which is actually Firefox 4 with hardware acceleration disabled, and it has these images, and what you'll see that we can do stuff with the CPU, but it's pretty slow and the rendering is not very smooth as you can see, but it does work, so you get an experience that is not as good as you could do, well the browser is not that fast, as you can see we get 14 frames per second, in this case. Let me show you the same code, but running inside Firefox with hardware acceleration turn on, so I'll do that here. And you'll see, it's much smoother, and performance is just amazingly better. So this is are the two, you know, basically how you can compare a normal browser running in a CPU only, and then the browser using the CPU, and also levereging the graphical hardware, it makes a lot of difference in terms of user experience and speed. This is what you'll find in Firefox 4 Beta. Thanks for listening.

Video Details

Duration: 4 minutes and 12 seconds
Country: France
Language: English
Views: 1,627
Posted by: inma_610 on Nov 8, 2010

Firefox 4 Beta features hardware acceleration to render pages. Mozilla's Tristan Nitot explains what hardware acceleration is and how it is used to make Firefox 4 faster.

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