How to get WebGL and hardware acceleration working

A few years ago, we showed off hardware acceleration support in Opera. Now the time has finally come for you to try not only that, but also our brand new WebGL implementation. Head over to the Core Concerns blog to download the Opera Labs build and post your feedback.

Since it seems that people are having some problems getting it working, I thought I would mention a few things you should keep in mind. …

It's cross-platform. Really!

First of all, while only a Windows build is available for now, this is a true cross-platform implementation. This means that WebGL will not only work on desktop, but also on mobile phones and other devices capable of running a Presto-based browser.

Expect builds for other platforms in the future.

No Direct3D… yet

As a cross-platform browser, we have chosen to get the cross-platform OpenGL implementation out there first. Unfortunately, it seems that Windows does not ship with OpenGL drivers by default. This means that you will probably have to install the latest drivers for your graphics cards manually.

As the announcement on the Core blog explains, Direct3D support on Windows is definitely coming in the future.

It's experimental

Keep in mind that this is an Opera Labs build. It should be considered to be experimental at this point, and should not replace your current Opera installation.

Get the right drivers

Verify that it is working

Once you have installed the latest driver manually, you can check the opera:about page. If it says that the Vega backend is OpenGL, you are good to go! If it says "Software, you will need to install a driver with OpenGL support.

Give WebGL a try

Once everything is set up correctly, you should be able to take WebGL for a spin.


21 thoughts on “How to get WebGL and hardware acceleration working

  1. Originally posted by BS-Harou:

    I've got nVidia GeForce 6600 GT. […] But Opera still uses software backend.

    I happen to have the very same graphics processor. Vega claims to use software rendering here, too. I tested using WinXP/32bit nVidia drivers version 263.14 – they should support OpenGL up to version 2.1 with this GPU.[*]_____[*]

  2. Yea I thought it was weird, because I was pretty sure they said: "You need openGL 2.x and only then will you be covered in the juice of awesome"Since there is no OpenGL 2.2 (I don't think so), I do think I support 2.xWill post a comment in the core blog.

  3. Originally posted by chadsort:

    Is there any way to disable hardware acceleration and return to software mode?

    +1Even the installer won't work.

  4. Originally posted by BS-Harou:

    I've got nVidia GeForce 6600 GT.

    The link of Haavard states you'll need a G80 chip (so 8000 series and onwards) for OpenGL 3.0. I can't find anything about OpenGL 2, but I think these have the same requirements. So that means you're out of luck until the D3D (Direct3D) back-end gets releasedScratch that, Sam Van den Vonder proves there should be OpenGL 2 support. Maybe they check for some extension support which the NVidia driver doesn't support and they (Opera) think is part of OpenGL 2? Anyway, seems to be a bug (which should probably be "filed" in the comments of the Core blog.

  5. I've got nVidia GeForce 6600 GT. I installed latest driver and I even try to download the NVIDIA's OpenGL driver separately from the link above. But Opera still uses software backend. Any ideas what is wrong?

  6. I've the newest driver for my Mobility Radeon 9700 (, Catalyst 8.591, 25 Feb 2009) which fully supports OpenGL 2.1 and still now HA and WebGL. Any ideas?

  7. Please report and discuss specific problems in the Core blog. Post system information and such there, so that someone can look into it.

  8. I'm glad to hear that you're going for OpenGL instead of Direct3D! Only allowing use with DirectX is OS discrimination.

  9. Does it work also with Intel graphic cards? Also on many brand laptops (like HP) there is no possibility to install the newest drivers: generic Intel drivers does not install and HP does not provide them.

  10. Haavard, do we maybe need openCL too? Nvidia only started supporting this until the 8 series, this explains why the 6 series (which my card belongs to) isn't supported.

  11. Intel GMA will not support this, due to lack of OpenGL 2.x; further, the low clock-speed and shared memory will further reduce performance. Only the most recent chips support a decent version of OpenGL, and some finally have hardware geometry.[Winkey-R] "dxdiag" [Enter], go to "Display" tab.In my case, the chipset is listed as GMA 950, so I cannot test the hardware side of things. Is there any value in testing the software fallback?

  12. Originally posted by BS-Harou:

    I've got nVidia GeForce 6600 GT. I installed latest driver and I even try to download the NVIDIA's OpenGL driver separately from the link above. But Opera still uses software backend. Any ideas what is wrong?

    Originally posted by HuRRaCaNe:

    My card (XFX 6600GT) definitely supports openGL 2.0 and yet, the backend isn't openGL.

    It seems like the hardware acceleration might require more than just support for OpenGL 2.x or that Opera is detecting/blacklisting cards that should work since a lot of cards (like mine) can use OpenGL 2.x but are blocked. I have an ATI x1400 with the latest available driver and full support for OpenGL 2.x. All Nvidia cards from the GeForce 6 series onwards and ATI cards from Radeon 9500 – X600 series onwards support OpenGL 2.0. I tweeted that to BSHarou and Haavard but others might be interested too.

  13. @Cutting Spoon — thanks. I have 950 too, unfortunatelly. It's a pitty. I have impression, that Opera became memory hungry since VEGA introduction (perhaps due to poor graphic chip), I was hoping, that hardware acceleration will fix it.

  14. I just want to point out the fact that it's not just the WebGL/3DCanvas, it's THE WHOLE BROWSER UI hardware accelerated! That's really a brilliant use of Opera's architecture and I seriously doubt any other browser will ever make it.Good luck boosting the fastest browser even more 🙂

  15. Actually, to be accurate I think nearly all parts of Firefox are processed with XULrunner and rendered with Gecko, so (in theory) HA should be making their UI faster. But it doesn't seem to have done so, I may be wrong….Jurgi: Core blog mentioned they may also support DirectX, which would somewhat work with Intel GMA.

  16. @Cutting Spoon the stuff that makes the Firefox UI slow is (I believe) more related to their threading model where the UI script has a low priority compared to those being run in pages – even background pages.

  17. Ah. Okay, thanks! I know there's supposed to be database work and improvements to the priority model. (no 3sec pause when clicking bookmarks button for the first time in a session, I hope?)But these 11.10 builds are landing a pile of stuff rapidly.

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