[RndTbl] Check your hardware acceleration settings!

Alberto Abrao alberto at abrao.net
Mon May 9 18:46:20 CDT 2022

Hello everyone,

in anticipation of our meeting tomorrow, it may be a good idea to check 
your browser's hardware acceleration settings, especially if you were 
having issues before.

First of all, Chromium used to be a lot more "daring" than Firefox. That 
has changed somewhat: if you had issues on previous meetings, now is a 
good time to try both browsers again and see which one performs better.

Also, Nvidia is a cluster-yeah, as is tradition. Always remember Linus' 
words of wisdom. If your card is new enough (aka anything past 7xx 
series, if I recall correctly), you probably want the proprietary 
driver, as nouveau does not work with them well - if at all - because of 
the signed firmware blobs they use.

Intel/AMD is smooth sailing. If you're hurting, a few packages usually 
bring extra features that gets all the juice out of the card. I won't go 
into specifics, this is very hardware/distribution dependent. A lot more 
can be done to "massage" both browsers into submission, but there is the 
potential for things to blow up. If you have issues during meetings that 
disabling video streaming is enough to solve, reach out to me and I will 
try to see if there's anything I can do to assist.

For Firefox:

- First of all, make sure you're running the latest version. Hardware 
acceleration was greatly improved in the last 5 or so versions.

Here's a quick primer:

1) at the address bar, type  "about:support"

2) Scroll down to "Graphics". On "Compositing", you want to see 
"WebRender", *NOT* WebRender (Software).

3) If you see WebRender (Software), you may want to force it. There be 
dragons, and you have been warned:

- At the address bar, type about:config

- There, search for gfx.webrender.all. Double click on it to enable.

For Chromium:

Type chrome://gpu at the address bar.

- If Video Encode/Decode is enable, you're golden.

- If not, and other things such as OpenGL/Canvas/Compositing are, you 
may be good enough. CPU utilization will be high, but it'll plow through 
if your machine is new enough - and by that I mean most circa-2011 and 
up x86 processors. Exceptions that come to my mind are some AMD 
A-series, C-series, and E-series (Ax-xxxx, C-xx etc) but you will be 
able to use hardware acceleration with these, so using the CPU to "plow 
through" is a moot point.

- Still, if you want to force whatever you can, do the following:

1) type chrome://flags at the address bar.

Enable (preferably one at a time, testing in-between):

- Override software rendering list
- Hardware-accelerated mjpeg decode for captured frame
- Accelerated 2D canvas
- Hardware decode acceleration for k-SVC VP9

2) Test. If you have issues, disable some and/or all.

If you want to try some stuff on your own, the ArchLinux Wiki has some 
good resources, although you have to translate the packages it 
references to the equivalent in your distro.

I hope that helps. If you have any questions, please reach out here and 
we'll talk.

Kind regards,
Alberto Abrao

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