How to tell if you’re using hardware acceleration

Sometimes, Firefox 4 can’t use hardware acceleration. Usually, this happens because Firefox has identified your graphics card (GPU) or driver (the software that runs the GPU) as being unreliable.

To tell if you’re using hardware acceleration in Firefox, enter the address about:support into your address bar. At the bottom of that page is a section labeled “Graphics.” If you’re using hardware acceleration, this section will contain a message similar to “GPU Accelerated Windows: 1/1 Direct3D 10″.

about:support graphics section with hardware acceleration enabled

Hardware Acceleration enabled

However, if hardware acceleration is disabled automatically by Firefox, the about:support Graphics section will simply display the message “GPU Accelerated Windows: 0/1.” (Frequently, issues with graphics drivers are resolved by updating those drivers. Contact your computer or graphics card manufacturer for more details.)

about:support Graphics section with hw accel disabled

Hardware Acceleration disabled

52 comments

  1. It shows:
    GPU Accelerated Windows 2/2 Direct3D 10

  2. And if I don’t HAVE a GPU Accelerated Windows section? Direct2D and DirectWrite are both enabled, but there’s nothing below it. I’m running 4.0b6, is this something added afterward?

  3. And let’s not forget this is for Windows users, if you’re under Linux, layers.accelerate-all is probably still disabled.

    And at least personally, only my fglrx/ATI machine seemed to benefit from it anyway. All the others were already super fast on all the hardware acceleration tests I tried. Moz guys said it was good Xrender support.

  4. Is there any place where the blocked driver versions can be found? Also, how do I recommend a driver to be blicked?

  5. I have been asking Chrome to do the same, thanks for providing this support.

  6. @Toe: This is for beta 7, which will be released later today.

    @José: Not in an easily accessible place. If you know of drivers that need to be blocked, please file a bug at https://bugzilla.mozilla.org !

  7. Thanks for the tip. Where can I find the list of blocked or supported cards? Thanks!

  8. is this only?
    What if I want to use HW acceleration in XP?
    I have a NVIDIA GeForce4 MX 440 with AGP8X, can’t I take advantage of it?

    • You need a DirectX 9 or better graphics card to use hardware acceleration on Windows. Unfortunately, the GeForce4 MX is a DirectX 7 part, so it’s unable to accelerate Firefox.

  9. DW font rendering is very poor in FF4 nightlies. Will this be fixed for the FF4 release? Will Cleartype rendering be available through DW or with D2D?

    • ClearType is already available via DirectWrite, but sometimes we can’t use it because of technical limitations that we’re going to solve for Fx4 final.

  10. Is Bug 594325 the tracking bug for that issue?

    On the post:

    “If you’re using hardware acceleration, this section will contain a message similar to “GPU Accelerated Windows: 1/1 Direct3D 10″.”

    I would mention D2D here, too.

  11. Font rendering is poor on my Windows7 with NVidia Quadro, see http://yfrog.com/n3nvidiaquadrop

    • @WonderCsabo: No, that’s a separate issue – what I’m talking about is more along the lines of bug 363861.

      @Cristian: What problems do you see with the text?

  12. Is hardware acceleration planned for Linux? What can we do to help?

    • @Bryan: Right now we don’t plan on turning hardware acceleration on for Linux, mostly due to driver problems. We will gratefully accept help; I’ve written up a blog post on how to help us debug hardware acceleration problems. It might need to be a whitelist of drivers, rather than a blacklist (as on Windows); helping us figure out what drivers work, and which don’t, will also help a lot.

      As far as I know, you can currently opt in to hardware acceleration of layer composition by going to your options dialog, looking in the Advanced tab, and clicking on “Use hardware acceleration when available.”

  13. Joe, I looked under Troubleshooting Info and for GPU Accelerated Windows it says: ‘3/3 OpenGL’ which leads me to believe it’s on, but when I run the demo at http://demos.hacks.mozilla.org/openweb/HWACCEL/ I get 2-3 fps.
    This is on beta7.

  14. Thanks for the reply Joe. Any idea when the changes will land?

  15. My about:support page only contains ‘Application Basics’, ‘Extensions’ and ‘Modified Preferences’ sections. I can’t find the section labelled ‘Graphics’ at the bottom of the page! Can someone help?

  16. My laptop has an ATI Mobility Radeon 9200 graphics card (DirectX 8 capable). When I go to about:support I get the “GPU Accelerated Windows: 0/1″ message. However, I ran the Grafx Bot test and it shows the following results:

    pass ratio: 100% (1581/1581)
    acceleration rate: 92%

    I’m confused. If my video card is not able of accelerating Firefox, why I get those positive results.

  17. The Direct2D font rendering is not so crisp, looks blurry.

    I have put a screenshot with Direct2D enabled and disabled here: http://yfrog.com/2pdirect2dfontrenderingp

    How much slower is Firefox 4 with Direct2D disabled? Do I still get Direct3D 9.0 acceleration like on Windows XP?

    I don’t really care about a few FPS when fonts look blurry.

  18. pour savoir si mon matériel est ok ?

  19. How can i know if i’m using XRender on Linux, or not? about:support says nothning about it.

    (according to this, on Lin Fx uses XRender to HW Accel : http://hacks.mozilla.org/2010/09/hardware-acceleration/)

  20. @Cristian: The top image is Direct2D, right? For some reason, you don’t have ClearType turned on for Direct2D, but you do for GDI (on the bottom). Can you file a bug on this?

    Yes, you’ll still get layers acceleration (Direct3D 9) if you turn off Direct2D.

    @WonderCsabo: We always use XRender, because Cairo’s X backend uses it. We have since Firefox 3.0, in fact!

    @Rob: We don’t turn on hardware acceleration by default on non-DirectX 9 cards. We’ve seen a lot of problems when we tried this. GrafxBot forces it on, though, and it seems you just got lucky with your card.

  21. Would it be possible to add more information in about:support about why the graphics acceleration was turned off? “1/0″ looks pretty cryptic and doesn’t answer the question WHY the acceleration has been turned off (no DX9, broken driver, …).

  22. Is there a way to force it on? will any DX8 videocard be supported?

    Thanks! I appreciate the information.

  23. mine got 12 FPS. is that good?

    also, when checking in about:support, GPU accelerated Windows says “1/1 Direct3D 9″. why not 10?

    am using win7 64bit.

  24. I have 1/1 OpenGL and are getting 15FPS (and X takes close to 100% of the CPU) on the HWACCEL test with Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:2.0b8pre) Gecko/20101106 Firefox/4.0b8pre under GeForce 7600 with 2.1.2 NVIDIA 260.19.12 drivers. I get the same results when I set layers.accelerate-none to true and layers.accelerate-all to false.

    I’m getting 121 unexpected fails for the reftest, two in libpr0n and the rest under layout, nothing seem to be related to HW acceleration. Some appear to be failures due to Firefox refusing to load external XUL.

    This is what I get in the error console when a new window/pane is opened.

    OpenGL LayerManager Initialized Succesfully.
    Version: 2.1.2 NVIDIA 260.19.12
    Vendor: NVIDIA Corporation
    Renderer: GeForce 7600 GS/PCI/SSE2
    FBO Texture Target: TEXTURE_2D

    glxinfo | grep -iP ‘(version|render)’
    direct rendering: Yes
    server glx version string: 1.4
    client glx version string: 1.4
    GLX version: 1.4
    OpenGL renderer string: GeForce 7600 GS/PCI/SSE2
    OpenGL version string: 2.1.2 NVIDIA 260.19.12
    OpenGL shading language version string: 1.20 NVIDIA via Cg compiler

    From what I can tell, everything looks like it should be ok so what gives?

  25. Hey Kim. No idea what is up on yours, but I get over 75FPS these days on my system (info below) running Ubuntu 10.10. I will note that I had compiz disabled since it seemed to lag Hedgewars, and I didn’t care enough about it to dig into things further. 75FPS was just using Xrender, no layers.accelerate-all

    DISPLAY=:0 glxinfo | grep -iP ‘(version|render)’
    direct rendering: Yes
    server glx version string: 1.4
    client glx version string: 1.4
    GLX version: 1.4
    OpenGL renderer string: GeForce 9800 GT/PCI/SSE2
    OpenGL version string: 3.3.0 NVIDIA 260.19.06
    OpenGL shading language version string: 3.30 NVIDIA via Cg compiler
    GL_NV_conditional_render, GL_NV_copy_depth_to_color, GL_NV_copy_image,
    GL_NVX_conditional_render, GL_NVX_gpu_memory_info,

  26. Hmm. Can’t tell if the comment was queued for review or not. No message. Let’s try again…

    Hey Kim. No idea what is up on yours, but I get over 75FPS these days on my system (info below) running Ubuntu 10.10. I will note that I had compiz disabled since it seemed to lag Hedgewars, and I didn’t care enough about it to dig into things further. 75FPS was just using Xrender, no layers.accelerate-all

    DISPLAY=:0 glxinfo | grep -iP ‘(version|render)’
    direct rendering: Yes
    server glx version string: 1.4
    client glx version string: 1.4
    GLX version: 1.4
    OpenGL renderer string: GeForce 9800 GT/PCI/SSE2
    OpenGL version string: 3.3.0 NVIDIA 260.19.06
    OpenGL shading language version string: 3.30 NVIDIA via Cg compiler
    GL_NV_conditional_render, GL_NV_copy_depth_to_color, GL_NV_copy_image,
    GL_NVX_conditional_render, GL_NVX_gpu_memory_info,

  27. OK, so, I tried it (4.0b8 pre nightly) on my MacBook Pro. This one, like all 2-1/2 – 3-1/2 year old MBP’s, has an Nvidia 8600M GT. Not the fastest in world, admittedly, but, there are millions of these out there, and, it is fast enough to get 4 FPS on the listed test using Chrome, and 4-5 FPS using Safari. So, why is my Minefield performance stuck at 2 FPS, 1/2 what the other two browsers get?

    In about:support it shows “GPU Accelerated Windows: 2/2 OpenGL”, and,
    in about:config, it shows “layers.accelerate-all true” and “layers-accelerate-none false”. Is there anything else that needs to be set?

  28. HWACCEL tests canvas drawing speed, but the 2D canvas isn’t hardware accelerated on any platform except Windows Vista & 7. We have a preliminary plan to make this better in future versions of Firefox, but nothing that will make Firefox 4.

  29. […] a pretty impressive demo called HWACCEL which is quite slow on computers that are ostensibly hardware accelerated. To understand why, you need to understand a little bit about how HWACCEL is […]

  30. abdalrahim fakhouri

    wt about intel graphic cards ?!

  31. I have the use hardware acceleration where available checked, I also get “GPU Accelerated Windows2/2 OpenGL” in about:support.

    But as reported by another mac user, still 4-5 FPS, Id like to help test if you can guide me further? Thanks.

  32. Windows, windows, windows… will you fuckin quit this obsession with Bill Gates??!!!

  33. Annnnd the way to disable the GPU acceleration? I don’t like my GPU jumping back and forth from 2D clocks to 3D clocks… beside that the card goes up about 5c* in temps which annoys me.

    Would like to know.

    • To disable hardware acceleration for whatever reason, go to Options > Advanced > and then uncheck “Use hardware acceleration when available.”

      Hope this helps!

    • Well, I had to do the same thing for the same reason. I really like my laptops battery so seeing a 100% GPU clocks whenever I only scroll a webpage makes me wonder… what the hell is Mozilla thinking?

  34. I had to disable this garbage. It actually makes Mozilla way slower than it should be. As Buttdozer said, what are Mozilla thinking anyway?! Their session recovery is like a stubborn donkey until you turn it off, their plugin-container.exe trick is the biggest counter-productive measure taken in the recent history of all browsers and finally, this hardware acceleration thing?!

    Prehaps if they didn’t make us change their “hidden” settings all the time and gave us a more complete set of readable options in the preferences, this wouldn’t be such a dumpster fire!

    The sad thing here is at the roots, FF4 is actually pretty good. I can’t stand the gimmicks anymore, however. Chrome has serious performance degradation issues, so I’ll be stuck enduring IE until they reslolve most of this mess… and what a mess it is. Uncalled for!

  35. […] you’re all set. 0/1 means that you’re not using the hardware acceleration. Thanks to Joedrew for this information. If it is disabled, the next thing to do is to try to enable it. On a Mac, […]

  36. I using GT240 under Ubuntu 10.04, and driver installed, but firefox still said

    GPU Accelerated Windows0/1

    Does fx4 not support acceleration under Ubu10.04 ?

  37. This is also discriminatory and negligent policy as not all laptop users can update their graphics drivers.

    Even a March 2010 Sony Z is blacklisted when it works perfectly fine with Chrome, Windows 7, and other modern 3D games.

    The drivers are up-to-date enough! The problem is Firefox, including Firefox 7 and 8.

    • NottaNumber321Norerror

      Agreed with NuShrike, if you can’t update a driver beyond a certain point then why is Firefox demanding the impossible??? Looks like this has been going on for a very long time. WHY??????????

  38. Really disgusted with Firefox telling me I need to update due to security risks, then when I do my graphics get messed up. Checking Troubleshooting Information shows ‘WebGL RendererBlocked for your graphics driver version. Try updating your graphics driver to version 10.6 or newer.’ & ‘GPU Accelerated Windows0. Blocked for your graphics driver version. Try updating your graphics driver to version 10.6 or newer.’ but guess what, my ATI graphics driver is version 10.2 and it IS the absolute latest driver that’s available version for my dual-card ATI Radeon X1950XTX-based system! AS if that wasn’t bad enough, I keep seeing Norton Security Suite pop up window saying CPU usage is too high, using an AMD FX-60 dual-core CPU and 2Gigs of OCZ Platinum RAM! What’s the deal with Firefox? I’m using the last AMD FX CPU driver to be released, the last DFI Mainboard driver and BIOS to be released, everything is the latest available update right down to Realtek and Marvell Yukon drivers, everything, so why is Firefox saying my GPU driver is outdated, saying I need to update to version 10.6 that won’t work when version 10.2 is the ONLY stable version that’s available/ released??????????????????????????????????

  39. after 3 reinstallations, registry and disc clean (i’ve choosed usb-ff11, because don’t like data crawling all over my disc), gtx470 driver update, messing with settings in about:config back&forth… I HAVE: 1/1 Direct3D 10 (previously dx9!) and ALMOST normal pulldown menu open speed (although.. opera is faster)

    unfortunately… with HW acceleration ON, flash video switch 2 full screen is still SLOWer then on eeepc netebook with integrated intel graphic :D
    …omg

  40. I would like to enable some effects only for hardware accelerated browsers…

    Is there a way to check wether hardware acceleration is enabled or not with javascript ?

  41. A bottom of line GT6xx (it’s cheap!) worked wonders for my good old Northwood 3.2 Ghz. Don’t regret investing a couple of bucks for something even bigger in return.

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