How and Why to Use Hardware Acceleration on Chrome?

If you’ve been around computers for quite some time, you’re probably familiar with the CPU and the GPU. The CPU is responsible for doing the calculations and processing. Meanwhile, the GPU is there to take care of graphical tasks. Fun fact: Did you know that the foundation of the GPU was first set in the 70s?

On our smartphones and computers, the CPU is typically responsible for doing all the processing. The GPU tends to stick to taking care of the graphics in games. That means that even videos and animations in a web browser such as Chrome are handled by the CPU, even when the GPU is more than capable.

Well, that’s how it is by default. But with hardware acceleration, things can be different.

This article will tell you what you need to know about hardware acceleration Chrome and the benefits and potential problems that it might bring.

Do you have a particular question about hardware acceleration in Chrome? Then use the table of contents below to jump to the most relevant section. And you can always go back by clicking on the black arrow in the right bottom corner of the page. Also, please note that some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. For more details, check the Disclosure section at the bottom of the page. 

What is hardware acceleration in Chrome?

Like many applications nowadays, Google Chrome has a hardware acceleration option. This feature can be turned on and off quite quickly, and what this Google Chrome hardware acceleration does is to make Chrome load faster by offloading some of the processes to the GPU.

Instead of processing these in the software, which effectively means the CPU takes care of them, they go to the hardware, in most cases, the GPU, to run them more efficiently. After all, sometimes the hardware is better suited to performing these functions than the CPU. Not having hardware acceleration on, in many cases, is like wasted potential.

For Chrome hardware acceleration, the GPU takes care of browser games, animations, or videos that you might be playing. Not only will the GPU do it better, but it will take some load off the CPU to let it work better.

How to know if Google Chrome hardware acceleration on or off?

Having Google Chrome hardware acceleration on definitely sounds like something with many benefits. You might want to know whether you have it turned on already or not. After all, making google Chrome faster is something that anyone would want.

Fortunately, there is a very easy way to check this.

In the address bar of the browser, simply type in “chrome://gpu.” Then you’ll be able to tell if you’ve got hardware acceleration on. You should see “Hardware accelerated” next to the items in “Graphics Feature Status”. That means you’re good!

You can check the other cool things that you can do straight from the address bar in Chrome, besides a shortcut for opening settings and checking your hardware acceleration.

This is definitely the fastest and easiest way to be sure of this.

How to enable hardware acceleration Chrome?

If you don’t have hardware acceleration on, you probably want to know how to switch it on. That performance boost is too sweet not to take advantage of.

This is also very easy to do! You just need to follow a few steps to turn on your Chrome accelerator.

  1. Click on the menu button in the top right corner. Then click on “Settings.” Alternatively, you can type “chrome://settings” in the address bar.
  2. Scroll all the way to the bottom of that window. Click on the text that says “Advanced.”
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the settings that appear. Look for the “System” section.
  4. Under that, there should be an option that says, “Use hardware acceleration when available.” If your hardware acceleration is off, this should be toggled off. Simply enable it!
  5. You may have to reload Chrome before the hardware acceleration takes place.

How to turn off hardware acceleration in Chrome?

Browser hardware acceleration is a great thing to have enabled. Still, it can come with the potential for bugs and other issues. If this occurs, you will likely want to figure out a way to turn it off.

Switching off hardware acceleration can be done in just a few steps.

  1. Click the menu button in the top right corner. Then click “Settings.” You can also type “chrome://settings” in the address bar.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of that window. Click on the text that says “Advanced.”
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the settings that appear. Look for the “System” section.
  4. Under that, there should be an option that says, “Use hardware acceleration when available.” If your hardware acceleration is already enabled, this should be on. All you have to do is turn it off, and you likely won’t run into any issues!

Google Chrome hardware acceleration problems

It might sound like Chrome acceleration only brings good things. For the most part, that is true. However, some of the most notorious problems you can experience in Google Chrome are caused by your Chrome video acceleration settings.

Some users complain of webpages lagging when hardware acceleration is on. Sites like YouTube can suffer from desyncing, freezes, and stutters when hardware acceleration is on. Sometimes, the browser in Chrome can disappear as a result!

As the most used web browser in the world, many users get annoyed with these issues, as they have been persistent for many years now. They can get bad enough to prompt a person to turn the feature off entirely.

Should I use hardware acceleration Chrome?

There are a lot of issues that Chrome hardware acceleration can cause. But at the exact same time, it can make your Chrome browsing experience very smooth. Choosing whether or not to use it can be difficult.

However, I believe that the easiest way to answer this question is to try it out. 

A lot of people get a smoother and faster browsing experience and no lag or issues of any kind. The truth is, you can’t know if you’re going to be lucky like that until you give it a shot! If you run into any problems, you can turn it back off in just a few moments. No harm is done.

Credits: Thanks for the photo to Canva.

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