Firefox Devs Enable WebRender on Modern AMD and Intel GPUs

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by AlphaAtlas, Feb 4, 2019.

  1. AlphaAtlas

    AlphaAtlas [H]ard|Gawd Staff Member

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    As was previously announced, the Mozilla devs are working on an overhaul to Firefox's rendering engine. Instead of rendering the web on a CPU with GPU acceleration as a side feature, like Chrome, Firefox and Edge currently do, "Webrender" approaches the task more like a game engine would, and make heavy use of modern GPUs. Previously, the feature was only enabled on specific desktop Nvidia GPUs, meaning users had to force enable it in about:config on most platforms, But in Mozilla's latest graphics team newsletter, the Firefox developers say that Webrender is now enabled by default in Firefox Nightly on some Intel and AMD GPUs. Digging a little deeper, the revisions on Mozilla's website show that webrender is enabled on generation 9 Skylake (UHD 530) Intel IGPs and up, as well as AMD's "Sea Islands" GPUs (which includes the R9 290X, Kaveri APUs, and the 7790) and up.

    I've been using Firefox Nightly (with webrender force enabled) and Vivaldi (which is based on Chromium) side by side for the past couple of months, both on a desktop PC with a 980 TI and a laptop with an old AMD llano APU, and to my eyes, the experience is like night an day. Web pages consistently load significantly faster on Firefox, scrolling through them feels smoother and stutter-free (particularly on a high-refresh monitor), and aside from one funky update a few months ago, the experience has been just as stable as the Chromium-based browser. GPU usage also spikes higher when rendering webpages on the bleeding edge Firefox build. As soeren-hentzschel points out, Webrender is scheduled to come to the stable Firefox channel on May 14, 2019, but you can try running Webrender on Firefox Nightly right now. Unfortunately, there's no word on when the feature will make it to Android and iOS devices.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
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  2. mkk

    mkk [H]Lite

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    Neat, must test.

    Brace for future report on how GPU driver bug allows web pages to do "fun things".
     
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  3. AlphaAtlas

    AlphaAtlas [H]ard|Gawd Staff Member

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    FYI, you can check if webrender is active by typing in "about:support" into the URL bar and scrolling down to the "Graphics" section.

    webrender.jpg

    But I can "feel" it if it's enabled or disabled, kinda like how the windows desktop doesn't feel smooth if my refresh rate silently resets to 60hz.
     
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  4. Galvin

    Galvin 2[H]4U

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    Mine says direct3D layers. so 2080ti isn't supported atm. Using firefox 65
     
  5. AlphaAtlas

    AlphaAtlas [H]ard|Gawd Staff Member

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    Hmmm, it might be too new. You can force enable it by typing "about:config" in the URL bar, searching for "gfx.webrender.all", and toggling the value to "true"

    EDIT: Oh nevermind, as mentioned above you have to download Firefox Nightly, not the stable branch.
     
  6. Galvin

    Galvin 2[H]4U

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    no prob, i can wait
    thanks

    There is webrender stuff in there though
     

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  7. trparky

    trparky Gawd

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    I'm running Firefox version 65 and all I had to do is go into about:config, add a new Boolean value named "gfx.webrender.all.qualified" with its value set to True, restart Firefox, and WebRender was enabled as per about:support.
     
  8. 5150Joker

    5150Joker 2[H]4U

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    Going to give this a try.
     
  9. Galvin

    Galvin 2[H]4U

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    I tried this too, but there are bugs. Sometimes twitch live stream goes black when I go to other tabs. I use the firefox twitch player addon. So i'll wait until its out in the next version when they have the kinks worked out.
     
  10. lollerwaffle

    lollerwaffle Gawd

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    Yeah it works fine on my 1070 with the current Beta build (66.0b4). The above

    are good!
     
  11. AlphaAtlas

    AlphaAtlas [H]ard|Gawd Staff Member

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    FYI your mileage may vary when using webrender on the regular or beta firefox branches. They aren't going to have all the recent webrender-specific optimizations and fixes.
     
  12. GSDragoon

    GSDragoon [H]Lite

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    Nice, another justification for wanting to splurge on a Radeon VII.