Linux Browsers GPU (2d/3d) support review (firefox/chrome)


Firefox 4.0 beta 9 was release a few days ago and Chromium (chrome) 10.x is coming along nicely, showing that things are starting to stabilize while developers ready their code for 2011 releases.

So i decided to fire up both of them, and give them a good spanking of 2d/3d tests, to see how far they would go without going belly up.
First the test subjects:
On the left side, with a 4.0 tag and almost out of beta, we have firefox 4.0 beta 10 daily build:
Build identifier: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:2.0b10pre) Gecko/20110117 Firefox-4.0/4.0b10pre

On the right side, we have the new kid with a lot of muscles, Chromium 10.x dev version:
 

Chromium 10.0.642.0 (Developer Build 71583) Ubuntu 10.10
WebKit 534.16
V8 3.0.7
User Agent Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux x86_64; en-US) AppleWebKit/534.16 (KHTML, like Gecko) Ubuntu/10.10 Chromium/10.0.642.0 Chrome/10.0.642.0 Safari/534.16

 

Both have 2d/3d and webgl support activated to the extent of their capabilities in Linux.
On the Hardware side, we have a HP Pavilion dv7:
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GT 230M
CPU: Quad Core i7 with two threads per core
Driver: NVIDIA proprietary blob version 260.19.29
So lets start with some spinning, courtesy of no other than Microsoft IE team itself :)
I run both browsers through their passes in this test, and they both passed with flying colors:
Chromium:
Firefox:
This test is significant as it tests / accelerates HTML5 Canvas, and really shows how fast things can go with GPU enabled.
Next we decided to look at some fishes, and come up with this:
Chromium:
Firefox:
Some might say:
AH! you only put 20 fishes in there!
Ok, so how about 1000???
Chromium:
It slows down a bit, but that is more my HW then anything else, try this same test with gpu disabled and see how many FPS you get ;)
Now is time to torture firefox:
he’s a little slower, i suspect that in this case is HW + a little slower javascript engine (although he performed very well indeed, this test stresses the machine a lot).
Ok, so both browsers behave the same?
Not quite, Chromium believe it or not, does a much better job when in comes to GPU, it has implemented more features than firefox 4.0 as of now. In my testings i found even some mozilla tests that work fine (with GPU in chromium, but not in firefox 4.0 for linux), heres one example:
Chromium:
Firefox:
But now you will say:
WAIT A FRAGGIN MINUTE! Firefox 4.0 actually has MORE FPS then chromium!!!
AHHH so you have been paying attention! :D
Ok, it didn’t in firefox 4.0 beta 9, but in beta 10 they fixed this “kind” of acceleration, so now firefox is actually a little faster than chromium :D
Now, for something a little different, lets see an amazing WebGL demo produced from the kind folks at Mozilla (maybe you’ve heard of them ;)):
Chromium:
Firefox:
Note this ISN’T a video, its webGL, openGL rendered in real-time inside the browser with a lot of HTML5 going on in there:

Mozilla is showcasing our Flight of the Navigator (FOTN) demo, and I wanted to tell you a little bit about it.  FOTN takes advantage of many of the new and improved features of Firefox 4, and is an example of the kind of things you can do with HTML5, WebGL, web audio, and faster JavaScript.

So check the port for a better understanding of what the future holds.
In conclusion, we can see that the lack of proper GPU acceleration in Linux where greatly exaggerated, not only we have it, and even better, it is stable and fast :) I’ve been using both browsers for months without having a single crash caused by GPU acceleration.
Truth be told, this browsers rarely crash and when they do, it’s usually just one tab (because of the sandboxing and other stuff going on in there).
So get excited, lots of good stuff coming our way :D
BTW the linux distro is Kubuntu 10.10 64 bits severely altered by myself (i contribute for both ubuntu/kubuntu) :D
Enjoy!
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