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Opera Browser Finally Gets Hardware Acceleration

By - Source: Opera | B 18 comments

Opera has released version 12 of its web browser.

For those who are looking for an alternative browser next to IE, Chrome and Firefox, the latest Opera release delivers a few new features, most notably experimental hardware acceleration.

If you have been following browser technologies, you may know that Opera has been promising hardware acceleration for more than a year and originally promised this feature to be available with version 11. It's not final, but explicitly described as "experimental", so don't expect to function flawlessly just yet.

Opera 12 also comes with new themes, as well as webcam apps that include PhotoBooth, as well as Polaroid and Facekat. Polaroid even implements WebRTC functionality. Also new is an overhauled security engine that is much more transparent to the user, 64-bit support on Windows and Mac, improved JavaScript performance as well as right-to-left text support.

And just in case you are wondering, yes, Opera declined to comment on the rumor that it may soon turn into the official Facebook browser. Opera 12 can be downloaded from opera's homepage.

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  • 2 Hide
    kartu , June 18, 2012 6:22 PM
    Can't say it felt slow without it.
    Actually memory footprint is the only thing that concerns me, but that's a typical problem for all modern browsers.
  • 7 Hide
    csf60 , June 18, 2012 6:31 PM
    You forgot to say it comes disabled by default. To enable it you have to follow this instructions:
    http://my.opera.com/desktopteam/blog/2012/04/20/update-on-hardware-acceleration-in-opera-12
  • 6 Hide
    Cryio , June 18, 2012 6:42 PM
    Opera 12 isn't the juggernaut it was supposed to be. This happened because many of v12 strong points were introduced in 11.60, so there you go. It has improved memory consumption in comparison to 11.64.

    Opera 12: The first browser with native 64 bit support.
    The first browser with (albeit experimental) FULL hardware acceleration (on BOTH OpenGL and DirectX) on every OS out there.
  • 1 Hide
    Cryio , June 18, 2012 6:51 PM
    Toms Hardware, I have a request. Can you make another Grand Prix when Windows 8 comes out, in x64, with all the latest browsers out there, presumably Firefox 14, Chrome 20, Safari 5.2 and IE10, and Opera 12 x64.

    Then, when all the metro browser are out, another round with Firefox 15 x64 (it should be out by then, December), Chrome 21, Safari 5.2.x, IE10 (with updates, oh yeah) and Opera 12.5 x64 (or 12.1/12.2, the one that comes out by then)
  • 4 Hide
    belardo , June 18, 2012 9:01 PM
    How about this... not just a performance comparison between the browsers... because SPEED isn't everything.

    How about feature and function comparison.

    Opera 12 flies.
  • -2 Hide
    sykozis , June 18, 2012 9:47 PM
    cryioOpera 12 isn't the juggernaut it was supposed to be. This happened because many of v12 strong points were introduced in 11.60, so there you go. It has improved memory consumption in comparison to 11.64.Opera 12: The first browser with native 64 bit support. The first browser with (albeit experimental) FULL hardware acceleration (on BOTH OpenGL and DirectX) on every OS out there.


    IE was the first 64bit browser....Opera is a few years late on that (about 8 years actually).... Unless you play browser based games, "acceleration" of DX and OGL in a browser is nothing to get excited about.
  • 0 Hide
    bison88 , June 18, 2012 10:11 PM
    I'm curious to know if Opera 12 has started sandboxing add-ons like FF/Chrome appear to do these days. Just noticed in the task manager under each browser session there is a separate process going on that says "opera_plugin_wrapper.exe".
  • 2 Hide
    mitch074 , June 18, 2012 11:01 PM
    @sykozis: if you're talking about Internet Explorer 5 running on Windows 2000 IA-64, then maybe - however, this one was never delivered as final. The first shipping browser with a 64-bit version could very well have been Opera, which was made from the get go to be cross-platform. Personally, the first natively supported 64-bit browser I used was Konqueror on KDE 3 - until Firefox 3 came out, which fixed all the problems in the 64-bit builds of Gecko. The Mozilla Suite had shipped in user-contributed (thus unofficial) builds ever since the project turned open source.
  • 2 Hide
    devBunny , June 18, 2012 11:22 PM
    "The first shipping browser with a 64-bit version could very well have been Opera "

    Not if it's only just coming out. I've been using Pale Moon x64 for a while now. It's a browser, it's 64-bit, I reckon it qualifies as a contender but there may still have been another Firefox project that got in first. ;-)
  • -1 Hide
    blazorthon , June 19, 2012 4:53 AM
    kartuCan't say it felt slow without it. Actually memory footprint is the only thing that concerns me, but that's a typical problem for all modern browsers.


    FF and FF derivatives have little trouble at all with memory usage right now. Download little Firemin (or palemin, seamonkeymin, etc. etc.) and it drops FF and FF derived browser's RAM usage to almost nothing. On that subject, lunascape also uses even less memory than stock FF even without a program such as the above. Luna generally stays below 200MB-250MB no matter how many tabs you have open, at least on my machines with the latest version.
  • 0 Hide
    mitch074 , June 19, 2012 8:13 PM
    @blazorthon: Firefox doesn't _need_ much memory to run - it just makes use of as much RAM as it can to improve speed:
    - a great deal of the cache is in RAM - this allowed Mozilla to implement a real Private Browsing mode.
    - images are kept unpacked as long as RAM is not scarce
    - the Javascript JIT compiler keeps bytecode in RAM as long as possible to avoid recompiling
    Meaning that if you reduce the amount of RAM, you're suddenly taxing your CPU a lot more and the browser might become less responsive. In some environments, such as mobile devices or SSD-based systems that lack a swap file and have limited RAM but have their fair share of CPU power and don't really do multitasking, this could actually lead to a better experience!
    However, not making use of available RAM is, I think, a bad idea: setting up Firefox to be more aggressive on its memory management might help if you're often running several softwares that each require a lot of RAM, but my own experience tells me that said other software would be the one actually needing to be taught better.
    The fact that Windows' memory and disk management plainly suck is another indication that it's not browsers that need to slim down - when I run a developer WAMP server, an SVN client, Eclipse, two database clients, Outlook and Word + Excel along with Firefox on 4 Gb of RAM and see the computer slow down to a crawl on 15 linutes checkouts while the equivalent setup in Linux hardly hits the swap file and does a checkout in less than 2 minutes, well, I don't think the browser itself needs fixing... There's better things to do than that.
  • 0 Hide
    killerb255 , June 19, 2012 8:56 PM
    Since I haven't kept up with Opera, I don't know exactly when their first x64 browser was release. IE had a 64-bit version since 2005 (Windows XP x64 and Server 2003 x64--that's AMD64/EM64T/Intel64, not Itanium/IA-64). It was, believe it or not, a 64-bit version of the cesspool known as IE6!

    So unless Opera had an x64 version of their browser before 2005, sykozis would be correct.
  • 0 Hide
    blazorthon , June 19, 2012 9:05 PM
    mitch074@blazorthon: Firefox doesn't _need_ much memory to run - it just makes use of as much RAM as it can to improve speed: - a great deal of the cache is in RAM - this allowed Mozilla to implement a real Private Browsing mode. - images are kept unpacked as long as RAM is not scarce - the Javascript JIT compiler keeps bytecode in RAM as long as possible to avoid recompilingMeaning that if you reduce the amount of RAM, you're suddenly taxing your CPU a lot more and the browser might become less responsive. In some environments, such as mobile devices or SSD-based systems that lack a swap file and have limited RAM but have their fair share of CPU power and don't really do multitasking, this could actually lead to a better experience!However, not making use of available RAM is, I think, a bad idea: setting up Firefox to be more aggressive on its memory management might help if you're often running several softwares that each require a lot of RAM, but my own experience tells me that said other software would be the one actually needing to be taught better.The fact that Windows' memory and disk management plainly suck is another indication that it's not browsers that need to slim down - when I run a developer WAMP server, an SVN client, Eclipse, two database clients, Outlook and Word + Excel along with Firefox on 4 Gb of RAM and see the computer slow down to a crawl on 15 linutes checkouts while the equivalent setup in Linux hardly hits the swap file and does a checkout in less than 2 minutes, well, I don't think the browser itself needs fixing... There's better things to do than that.


    Even without something such as firemin, FF is already one of the most RAM-efficient browsers. True, browsers don't needs as much fixing as other software and Windows do, but it's not like there is anything that can't use fixing in the Windows environment. My point was that unlike what kartu said, memory usage is not a severe problem for all modern browsers. Also, I often use an old laptop with a Turion 64 X2 TL-60 and 2GB of RAM, so yes, I know how things work in RAM-tight situations.

    Even with Pale Moon (a FF derivative) without palemin and just under 50 tabs tabs open, Comodo Dragon (a Chromium derivative) with 34 tabs open, a notepad, a calculator, a task manager, and an excel spreadsheet open, I do just fine on this laptop and have about 1.75GB of RAM in use. Granted, I'm running Server 2008r2 X64 instead of Windows 7, but that's still something. It does not slow down to a crawl, although it isn't as fast as it is with less stuff open and even then is obviously not as fast as some of of the higher end desktops that I use.
  • 0 Hide
    heffeque , June 19, 2012 9:14 PM
    Flash works horribly with Opera. Works ok on Chrome, Firefox, IE and Safari, yet on Opera it's just horribly slow, even on v12 with HW acceleration manually enabled.
  • 0 Hide
    mitch074 , June 19, 2012 10:18 PM
    @killerb255: Opera had a 64-bit build of their browser available for Linux 64-bit before 2005. 64-bit IE5 on Windows 2000 for Itanium beat it, however it wasn't official, but Mozilla also provided (although they were user-contributed builds, they weren't official) 64-bit UNIX/Linux builds very early... And 64-bit Konqueror shipped as soon as 64-bit KDE came out. Which goes back quite a while too.
    @blazorthon: I don't think using 2008R2 over Win7 brings much in desktop use. I should try setting mine to dedicate more resources to background services instead of foreground apps, that might help...
  • 0 Hide
    blazorthon , June 19, 2012 10:24 PM
    mitch074@killerb255: Opera had a 64-bit build of their browser available for Linux 64-bit before 2005. 64-bit IE5 on Windows 2000 for Itanium beat it, however it wasn't official, but Mozilla also provided (although they were user-contributed builds, they weren't official) 64-bit UNIX/Linux builds very early... And 64-bit Konqueror shipped as soon as 64-bit KDE came out. Which goes back quite a while too.@blazorthon: I don't think using 2008R2 over Win7 brings much in desktop use. I should try setting mine to dedicate more resources to background services instead of foreground apps, that might help...


    Windows Server 2008r2 x64 uses significantly less memory than Windows 7 x64 and x86, among other advantages. Yes, I've compared vanilla installs on the same laptop in the past and also included Vista x86 and XP x86 in those comparisons.
  • 0 Hide
    mitch074 , June 20, 2012 6:47 PM
    @blazorthon: that's good to know. I wonder what services are disabled in Server R2 to cause this difference in RAM use.