What is Hardware Acceleration and How to Enable in Browsers?
To many users, browsers seem to be a very simple tool for accessing information over on the web. However, web browsers are very complex and perform many tasks including rendering graphic-intensive content on your PC display. If you look at your Task Manager, you will notice that your browser consume much of the resources on your PC owing to the demand for the many tasks running in the background. Fortunately, modern devices support hardware acceleration, which allows apps to use specialized hardware to perform intensive tasks for better performance. In this post, we will discuss all you need to know about hardware acceleration, and how to enable or disable the feature in Chrome and other popular browsers.
What is Hardware Acceleration?
Hardware Acceleration is simply the process through which computers or applications uses specialized hardware components (accelerator) to execute their task more efficiently. By default, the CPU is responsible for the execution of all the tasks, but this can be overwhelming at times. Thus, some apps and services utilize other hardware components to offload the CPU, saving the resource for other tasks while enhancing system performance.
In your browser, Hardware Acceleration is a setting feature that enables the browser to maximize your hardware, passing some bulky tasks such as graphic and video loading to other hardware components. Enabling the features improves the browser performance as well as freeing up the CPU to handle other tasks. Nonetheless, you may need to turn off the hardware acceleration feature if the acceleration is ineffective.
Enable/ Disable Hardware Acceleration in Modern Browsers
Let us explain how to turn on or off the hardware acceleration in popular browsers.
Enable or Disable Hardware Acceleration in Chrome
By default, the Hardware Acceleration feature is activated in Google Chrome. If you suspect some issue with the feature like Chrome crashing, lagging or freezing, disabling this feature may help.
- Go to the “Customize and control Chrome” menu (click the menu icon on the upper-right corner of the browser window) and select “Settings” located almost at the bottom of the menu list.
- Scroll down the Chrome settings page and click the arrow at the bottom of the page to expand the “Advanced” settings.
- Navigate to the “System” section and click the switch next to the “Use hardware acceleration…” option.
- The switch is grey in color when the feature is disabled.
- Relaunch the browser to save the changes.
- To turn on the feature, click the switch and restart the browser.
Enable or Disable Hardware Acceleration in Firefox
- Open Firefox, click the menu icon on the right-most edge of the toolbar and select “Options” from the menu items.
- Scroll down the “General” options to find the “Performance” section.
- To access the hardware acceleration option, uncheck the “Use recommended performance settings” box.
- Tick the checkbox to allow hardware acceleration feature in the browser.
- You may also set a limit for the content process by expanding the limit options and pick your preferred processes.
- To turn off the feature, go back to the performance options and uncheck the hardware acceleration option.
Enable or Disable Hardware Acceleration in Opera Browser
Opera browser is another popular browser with several useful features such as built-in battery saver, VPN and Ads blocker. The browser also has the hardware accelerations, which is enabled by default.
- To turn off the feature, open the opera browser and click the browser icon at the top left corner of the window to access the browser menu.
- Select “Settings” from the menu items.
- On the left sidebar of the settings page, click “Advanced” to expand and then the “Browser” settings.
- Go to the “System” section and click the blue switch to turn off hardware acceleration.
- Restart the browser save the changes.
- The process is the same when you need to turn on the feature, go back to the system settings and click the switch to enable.
The browser performs lot of tasks to display content on your computer screen. While the CPU can solely handle all these tasks, hardware acceleration feature enable the browser to utilize specialized hardware component like the GPU to process graphical content more effectively. Thus, to enhance your browser performance, you can enable the hardware acceleration feature on the browser settings. However, the acceleration may compromise the quality of the video, or cause other browser issue depending on the computer you are using. In such cases, you can use the above guide to enable or disable the feature to enjoy the best browsing experience.