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How to check that Firefox uses hardware GPU acceleration?

asked 2018-08-10 21:38:45 -0600

abitrolly gravatar image

updated 2018-08-10 21:43:48 -0600

I've got an Intel CPU with HD 4400 graphics, and recently Firefox 61 on Fedora 28 started to overheat my laptop very quickly when rendering graphics content. I suspect that at some point FF switched to CPU and doesn't use GPU for WebGL, canvas and graphics. Intel website says that everything should just work in recent Linux (Fedora 27+). It does not seem to work for me. Is there a reliable procedure to check that my GPU is working good and that Firefox uses it?

I am going to run Phoronix benchmark for HD 4400 which works outside Firefox to see that there is no problem with my GPU. I want to do this, because I don't know the correct way to detect GPU and lspci output is too generic.

# lspci | grep VGA
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Haswell-ULT Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 0b)

neofetch fails to detect HD 4400 model too.

# neofetch
          /:-------------:\          anatoli@blackred 
       :-------------------::        ---------------- 
     :-----------/shhOHbmp---:\      OS: Fedora 28 (Workstation Edition) x86_64 
   /-----------omMMMNNNMMD  ---:     Host: 20CLS7WW00 ThinkPad X250 
  :-----------sMMMMNMNMP.    ---:    Kernel: 4.17.12-200.fc28.x86_64 
 :-----------:MMMdP-------    ---\   Uptime: 6 hours, 4 mins 
,------------:MMMd--------    ---:   Packages: 2702 
:------------:MMMd-------    .---:   Shell: bash 4.4.23 
:----    oNMMMMMMMMMNho     .----:   Theme: Adwaita [GTK2/3] 
:--     .+shhhMMMmhhy++   .------/   Icons: Adwaita [GTK2/3] 
:-    -------:MMMd--------------:    Terminal: tilix 
:-   --------/MMMd-------------;     CPU: Intel i5-4300U (4) @ 2.900GHz 
:-    ------/hMMMy------------:      GPU: Intel Integrated Graphics 
:-- :dMNdhhdNMMNo------------;       Memory: 2944MiB / 7681MiB 

Then I switch to Firefox 61.0.1 and look into about:support, there is a mention of GPU #1 with 3.0 Mesa 18.0.5 driver. The whole paste is here. I remember that Mesa shipped software driver for Linux, and I am not sure if this driver means that hardware acceleration is available for Firefox. One suspicious thing on about:support is Compositing: Basic.

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And the whole GPU section doesn't show any signs that hardware acceleration works.

image description

"Acceleration blocked by platform" and other disabled statuses are likely indicate that GPU is not used for WebGL, canvas and other parts that in-browser applications and games use. But I can not prove that. Is there a way to reliably measure / detect that hardware GPU features are enabled and working for web content in Firefox 61+ Quantum without software emulation?

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answered 2018-08-11 13:33:34 -0600

steveebey73742 gravatar image

Did some research, and found, Firefox disables hw acceleration on all distros, by default. Open about:config in a tab, and set the preferences shown here, to true. Restart firefox and see how it works for you.

layers.acceleration.force-enabled   true
layers.omtp.enabled                 true
layout.display-list.retain          true   true
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But why? Is WebGL also affected by these settings? How to test that it works with these settings enabled?

abitrolly gravatar imageabitrolly ( 2018-08-11 18:08:55 -0600 )edit

No reason given, from Mozilla. As to WebGL, if you google WebGL you should find several test sites. This is not really a fedora problem, but I thought I would help out anyway.

steveebey73742 gravatar imagesteveebey73742 ( 2018-08-12 06:59:33 -0600 )edit

Tests.. Yes, Phoronix test partially failed - - and it doesn't run inside Firefox. It would help if test could disable and enable GPU to compare.

abitrolly gravatar imageabitrolly ( 2018-08-13 11:47:05 -0600 )edit

if you are running kernel 4.17 then the problem could be that your cpu is being set to lowest speed, by the governor. There has been an issue on my computer, and others, that all cpu frequency settings are being set to lowest supported value, for both min and max speed, regardless of which governor you have installed. to see what speed you are running at, run

sudo cpupower frequency-info and see what the current cpu frequency shows.

steveebey73742 gravatar imagesteveebey73742 ( 2018-08-13 12:34:18 -0600 )edit

Click this linkto go to WebGL conformance test site, run by, this should put your mind at ease as to whether or not your WebGL works.

steveebey73742 gravatar imagesteveebey73742 ( 2018-08-14 00:12:27 -0600 )edit

answered 2018-08-12 15:36:53 -0600

tanwald gravatar image

For me it's the second time within a few month that I cannot render WebGL content on Fedora/Firefox. Last time the Mesa Driver was blacklisted and this time I don't find a way to enable it again. On Brave and Chromium or even Firefox on Mac everything works as expected...

The settings mentioned above did not help on my system.


OpenGL vendor string: Intel Open Source Technology Center OpenGL renderer string: Mesa DRI Intel(R) HD Graphics 630 (Kaby Lake GT2) OpenGL core profile version string: 4.5 (Core Profile) Mesa 18.0.5 OpenGL core profile shading language version string: 4.50 OpenGL core profile context flags: (none) OpenGL core profile profile mask: core profile OpenGL core profile extensions: OpenGL version string: 3.0 Mesa 18.0.5 OpenGL shading language version string: 1.30 OpenGL context flags: (none) OpenGL extensions: OpenGL ES profile version string: OpenGL ES 3.2 Mesa 18.0.5

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Please do not post questions as answers. it is confusing to others that might be searching for solutions to the same problem, to see answers, that are really just questions.

steveebey73742 gravatar imagesteveebey73742 ( 2018-08-13 07:53:20 -0600 )edit

I can read this answer as a emotional version of no, this is impossible and I can relate to it too. :)

abitrolly gravatar imageabitrolly ( 2018-08-13 11:45:16 -0600 )edit

Sorry, my comment was a bit misleading. I wanted to mention that the graphic rendering issues with Firefox on Fedora might be of a more general type and maybe not related to cpu/gpu usage...

tanwald gravatar imagetanwald ( 2018-08-15 12:53:13 -0600 )edit

Therefore it is more than important to have clear troubleshooting instructions.

abitrolly gravatar imageabitrolly ( 2018-08-16 22:21:10 -0600 )edit

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Asked: 2018-08-10 21:38:45 -0600

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Last updated: Aug 11