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Firefox 74-Should I Be Using Hardware Acceleration On My PC?

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woodbine
 
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Post Posted March 16th, 2020, 5:19 am

Hello to all, this is my first post and have just joined. I have just downloaded Firefox 74 onto my Acer Aspire M3910 desktop pc after many years of IE. I wanted to make Firefox as fast as possible, so looked at changing a few settings or disabling unnesessary features.

My questions are;

Looking at my pc's spec in the attached image and bearing in mind I don't have a dedicated GPU - should I leave the Performance Settings as 'Use Recommended Performance Settings' or use Hardware Acceleration?

If I should use Hardware Acceleration, what level should I set the Content Process Limit at?

What confuses me about the Content Process Limit is i have read that if the pc has a dedicated GPU and RAM of more than 8GB (mine is 3GB and doesn't have dedicated GPU), then the CPL should be more than the Firefox default setting of 4. However, when I looked at CPL in my Firefox about:preferences the default is actually 8.

Thanks for any help and advice.

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mightyglydd

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Post Posted March 16th, 2020, 6:19 am

I'd turn off HA and leave the default setting at 4.
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Virtual_ManPL

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Post Posted March 16th, 2020, 1:40 pm

I would recommend:
- update Intel GPU drivers to latest one and leave hardware acceleration enabled (fonts on Windows are much more sharper and clearer, scrolling is much more smoother, not to mention better performance)
- set "Content process limit" preference at 1 value (based on only 3GB RAM, so probably at least around only 1,5-2GB of RAM is usable to Firefox).
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Tushman
 
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Post Posted March 16th, 2020, 8:23 pm

woodbine wrote:What confuses me about the Content Process Limit is i have read that if the pc has a dedicated GPU and RAM of more than 8GB (mine is 3GB and doesn't have dedicated GPU), then the CPL should be more than the Firefox default setting of 4. However, when I looked at CPL in my Firefox about:preferences the default is actually 8.


I don't know who told you it should be 4, the default setting is 8. The higher you set the limit, the more system RAM it will require. On a PC with only 3 GB of RAM, I would start low (say 2 or 3) and then slowly increase it in increments of 1 until you notice a degradation in performance.

Instead of worrying about the Content Process Limit, think about upgrading your memory. Doing so will far outpace any "improvements" you will see by fiddling around with the CPL.

At the very least, you should upgrade to 8 GB system RAM. That particular Acer model has a maximum capacity of 16 GB system RAM. (3 GB RAM these days is nothing.) If you've never done yourself before, look up some Youtube videos. Upgrading the system RAM is one of the easiest things you can do on your computer. As the GEICO commercial says: It's so easy a caveman can do it....
Last edited by Tushman on March 16th, 2020, 8:35 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Tushman
 
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Post Posted March 16th, 2020, 8:26 pm

Virtual_ManPL wrote:I would recommend:
- update Intel GPU drivers to latest one and leave hardware acceleration enabled (fonts on Windows are much more sharper and clearer


Contrary to popular belief, hardware acceleration does not make fonts sharper. It some cases, it has the exact opposite effect.

Virtual_ManPL

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Post Posted March 17th, 2020, 3:02 am

Tushman wrote:
Virtual_ManPL wrote:I would recommend:
- update Intel GPU drivers to latest one and leave hardware acceleration enabled (fonts on Windows are much more sharper and clearer
Contrary to popular belief, hardware acceleration does not make fonts sharper. It some cases, it has the exact opposite effect.
In my case, based on my tests, not some imaginary belief or some external tests, text font rendering under Direct3D 11 (Advanced Layers) compositing with enabled Direct2D and DirectWrite is much more sharper and clearer. At least for me and my morbid and unhealthy eyes. :lildevil:
But like always, better test it yourself, to see how it's on your end with your hardware and software configuration.
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Tushman
 
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Post Posted March 17th, 2020, 5:24 pm

Virtual_ManPL wrote:In my case, based on my tests, not some imaginary belief or some external tests, text font rendering under Direct3D 11 (Advanced Layers) compositing with enabled Direct2D and DirectWrite is much more sharper and clearer. At least for me and my morbid and unhealthy eyes. :lildevil:
But like always, better test it yourself, to see how it's on your end with your hardware and software configuration.


I've been using Firefox since the very early days on a variety of PCs ranging from very robust systems to bottom of the barrel. In my experience, using hardware acceleration on a PC that doesn't have a dedicated graphics card doesn't have any discernible benefit whatsoever. If you have "morbid and unhealthy eyes" as you say in your own words, your opinion on what looks good to you on your screen isn't all that reliable is it? Might as well ask a blind person, 'Hey does this shirt look good on me?'

malliz
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Post Posted March 17th, 2020, 5:34 pm

I think you are both missing the point here. Personally I look at system specs first and on the boards we have enough anecdotal evidence that earlier on-board Intel graphic cards do not handle Hardware Acceleration well.
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mightyglydd

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Post Posted March 17th, 2020, 5:39 pm

Yep agreed.
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Tushman
 
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Post Posted March 17th, 2020, 5:56 pm

malliz wrote:I think you are both missing the point here. Personally I look at system specs first and on the boards we have enough anecdotal evidence that earlier on-board Intel graphic cards do not handle Hardware Acceleration well.


So are you implying the newer ones do? You may be right about that but what's the upside to using it? On the OP's system with a paltry amount of RAM and no dedicated graphics card, I see no benefit to using it whatsoever.

Also curious, what do you consider to be new or old? You said in your post:
malliz wrote:...earlier on-board Intel graphic cards do not handle Hardware Acceleration well.

malliz
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Post Posted March 17th, 2020, 6:02 pm

How about we just help the OP without two pages of turgid discussion?
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malliz
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Post Posted March 17th, 2020, 6:15 pm

Around ten years old in fact. Looks like an original install as well so the hardware is of the same era.
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Tushman
 
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Post Posted March 17th, 2020, 6:17 pm

malliz wrote:How about we just help the OP without two pages of turgid discussion?


Already covered.
I don't know who told you it should be 4, the default setting is 8. The higher you set the limit, the more system RAM it will require. On a PC with only 3 GB of RAM, I would start low (say 2 or 3) and then slowly increase it in increments of 1 until you notice a degradation in performance.

Instead of worrying about the Content Process Limit, think about upgrading your memory. Doing so will far outpace any "improvements" you will see by fiddling around with the CPL.

At the very least, you should upgrade to 8 GB system RAM. That particular Acer model has a maximum capacity of 16 GB system RAM. (3 GB RAM these days is nothing.) If you've never done yourself before, look up some Youtube videos. Upgrading the system RAM is one of the easiest things you can do on your computer. As the GEICO commercial says: It's so easy a caveman can do it....


Also, I see no problem in discussing the benefits of using or not using hardware acceleration is it is one of the questions asked by the OP.

mightyglydd

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Post Posted March 17th, 2020, 6:39 pm

#KeepFightingMichael

Virtual_ManPL

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Post Posted March 18th, 2020, 5:36 am

Tushman wrote:I've been using Firefox since the very early days on a variety of PCs ranging from very robust systems to bottom of the barrel.
Same here. 8-)

Tushman wrote:In my experience, using hardware acceleration on a PC that doesn't have a dedicated graphics card doesn't have any discernible benefit whatsoever.'
I have different opinion about this, per different experience:
Virtual_ManPL wrote:[...] fonts on Windows are much more sharper and clearer, scrolling is much more smoother, not to mention better performance) [...]
of course, it's only, if everything working properly and without any issues, but testing it yourself won't hurt or at least shouldn't. ;)

Tushman wrote:If you have "morbid and unhealthy eyes" as you say in your own words, your opinion on what looks good to you on your screen isn't all that reliable is it? Might as well ask a blind person, 'Hey does this shirt look good on me?'
Heh, that last part made me laugh :lol: , but thankfully and fortunately, I'm not blind. [-o<
In this point, I meant that, I'm very sensitive to text font rendering.
If you know/associate me from Bugzilla, you know that, per dozens bugs, which I reported about it.
Especially, when blurry and fuzzy grayscale antialiasing, instead of sharp subpixel antialiasing is used for text font rendering, under default DPI and ClearType settings.

malliz wrote:I think you are both missing the point here. Personally I look at system specs first and on the boards we have enough anecdotal evidence that earlier on-board Intel graphic cards do not handle Hardware Acceleration well.
True, if it's not blacklisted already,
but if not, I would still test it, to verify it myself, if it's working in that case properly and without any issues.
As tester, I would even force enable disabled settings, to see it myself, if it's still broken, or maybe it's already "magically" fixed, either by latest GPU drivers or by Firefox, etc. :lildevil:
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