Chrome 18 arrives, with GPU acceleration -- get it now!

Google Chrome 18 has just landed as a stable release, and while it has the usual mix of minor tweaks and security fixes, the real news is its graphics improvements.

Part of this comes from the browser enabling GPU-accelerated rendering for 2D Canvas content, which could bring a real performance boost to canvas-based animations and games. (Or that’s the plan, anyway. If you have any issues, or just want to find out what’s happening on your system, then entering chrome://gpu will give you more information on the browser’s current GPU acceleration usage.)

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And if you’re running Chrome on an older system then you’ve probably already noticed that it can’t display rich 3D content via technologies such as WebGL. But that all changes with Chrome 18, thanks to the inclusion of SwiftShader, a software rasterizer which automatically activates for users who can’t run content on the GPU.

While this kind of software solution is never going to compete with a real GPU, SwiftShader is fast enough to be genuinely useful. As the authors point out, the system can be 100 times faster than basic implementations, like Microsoft’s Direct3D Reference Rasterizer, and is even quicker than some integrated graphics hardware. So although you’re not going to want to play Call of Duty with it, for 3D web content the technology makes a great deal of sense.

Other changes are less newsworthy, though still important, as they include a lengthy list of bug fixes and resolutions for some notable security issues. A post on the Google Chrome Releases blog tells you more, if you’re interested, or you can simply download Google Chrome 18 now.

10 Responses to Chrome 18 arrives, with GPU acceleration -- get it now!

  1. SoundMix says:

    Ok browser if you like rolling dice.

  2. Really pleased with the performance increase. The JavaScript animations are a fair amount smoother!

  3. Bob Grant says:

    I still get nothing but 'Aw Snap' errors for everything on it. Been having this problem since v17. (I love Chrome otherwise) Using Waterfox until I can get Chrome to work again.

    [running on a Dell 1558, i5-450 processor, 6GB ram at 1333MHz, a Radeon 5470m, and Win7 Ultimate x64]

    • ismail hammoud says:

      This maybe a problem with your computer hardware or windows copy. I used to have these issues on my Desktop pc, but it runs perfect on my new core i 5 laptop with radeon 6470+windows ultimate x64 :) 

  4. Manov rao says:

    I prefer chrome due to it's less cpu power consumption.

    • altarius says:

      well...chrome itselfs has low-pcu, but when running this version of chrome, other system-processes do have an 7% cpu usage increase

  5. ilev says:

    There is serious bug in Chrome regarding GPU acceleration on laptop with AMD graphic video card running Catalyst graphic switcher. Many web pages display black screens.

    • Jeremy Collake says:

      I wouldn't doubt it... they go so quickly to new major versions and have such a limited beta test group, that some problems are bound to happen (as I've seen myself). Of course, no browser is without their share of unique issues.

    •  It's seems to be happeninng to to me. On MBP 15'' with AMD Radeon HD 6770M canvas images are corrupted.

  6. frankwick says:

    When running v 18 my cooling fan is on a lot.  It did not do this in in v17 nor in IE9 that also uses GPU acceleration.

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