Wednesday, March 9, 2011

WebGL & Hardware Acceleration in Different Browsers

There is a new race these days in the world of web browsers and it is how fast they can render graphics. As more and more people are trying to make web browsers as the rich media client, we see that hardware acceleration in browsers is getting the next point of race among the web browsers. If JavaScript benchmarking wasn’t enough, most new benchmarks these days are looking towards at WebGL (The JavaScript for 3D) and hardware acceleration in browsers.

There aren’t too many games out there yet, that use the WebGL extensions and so I believe this is another race from the browsers that isn’t about better user experience but more to win points in the benchmarks. Nevertheless, since the worst fairing browser IE9 has improved on the performance of WebGL and uses your computer’s graphics card to accelerate graphics in browsers, it is the every alternate browser’s moral responsibility of sorts to give you enhanced performance. This means that every other browser vendor will now tell you to update your graphics drivers, to prevent crashing of your browser and improve performance. While updating graphics drivers is not what the average computer user would do, the browser manufacturers will blame that crash on the graphics driver.

Here are some numbers comparing browsers in simple WebGL benchmark on a Windows 7 with Intel 2.5Ghz i5 and 4GB of RAM:

Browser (version/platform)

Frames per second (higher is better)

Firefox 3.6.15 6 FPS
Opera 11.01 14 FPS
Chrome 10.0.648.127 12 FPS
Firefox 4 Beta 12 60+ FPS

All browsers in the list are released stable versions, other than Firefox 4 which enables hardware acceleration only version 4 of their browser, but is still unreleased. Clearly, Firefox is very fast and possibly the ones who are running ahead in optimizations of WebGL. Nonetheless, other browsers (Opera 11.50, Chrome 11 and IE9) are also competitively close. I wanted to highlight really how fast things can get with some hardware acceleration.

2 comments:

Vikash said...

Most new benchmarks these days are looking towards fastest technology. New Update today's required.

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Ayush Patel said...

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