Mozilla embraces Direct2D GPU rendering, laughs in the face of IE 9
There’s very little we know about Internet Explorer 9 but certainly one the most interesting bits that is already publicly available is that it will support hardware graphics acceleration. And here come those bad guys from Mozilla Foundation to steal the limelight again.
Internet Explorer 9 will undoubtedly have other surprises in store for us, if we live long enough to see its release (it will probably be out in 2011). Nonetheless, getting beaten at its own game again surely hurts.
Of course we saw that coming at the moment Microsoft published the Windows 7 Direct2D API but it’s happening even sooner than we expected. Apparently Bas Schouten and his team already have at their hands a Firefox browser that can render everything using Direct2D, making intensive usage of the GPU (including the browser UI elements themselves). And the load times it shows on some websites, compared to the regular version are impressively different. You can check them out after the break.
So if you have a half decent GPU at hand you might save yourselves quite some time when browsing simply structured websites. On complex ones with more text than images for example the GPU-accelerated rendering shows pretty small-to-none advantage over the conventional CPU-powered rendering. Still the results are pretty encouraging and indicate that the sooner GPU-assisted rendering makes its way to the desktop browsing, the better.
Some time will pass before we actually get that browser to our computers, but with the developers already having a working version, the first beta can’t be that far away.