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GPU-Accelerated Opera 12 Alpha Available for Download

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 19 comments

Opera's first hardware accelerated browser is available for download and provides a first impression how well Opera will perform in this category.

Opera warns those who download the software that this is an alpha version and hiccups (and even blue screens) may occur. I found that those warnings are, in fact, reasonable and not exaggerated. Opera 12.00 alpha is a very early preview that has plenty of issues and should not be used for everyday tasks.

What is new in this browser is acceleration for WebGL content as well as well as full hardware acceleration that goes beyond the previous software-accelerated backend Vega. When Opera says "full" hardware acceleration, it means "full", as there is not just acceleration for features such as Canvas, but also renders the entire user interface of the browser on the GPU. There is only a hardware accelerated OpenGL backend available, however.

It is difficult to get an idea how well hardware acceleration will work in Opera 12. I noticed that benchmarks such as Webviz do not run at all in Opera 12 and the IE Fishtank WebGL port from Mozilla shows errors in Opera 12.00 alpha. However, the Asteroids Canvas 2D benchmark delivered a score of 2165 on my Phenom II X6 1055T system, which was up from 1580 of the previous Opera Next release without hardware acceleration. In comparison, Chrome 14 scored 2575, Firefox 7 1227 and IE 9.0.3 2864. In Microsoft's Mr. Potato Gun test, 12 alpha scored 15,399 points versus 1141 of the non-accelerated version. However, Chrome scored 34,876, Firefox 7 34,988 and IE 9.0.3 52,344.

It is too early to draw any conclusions how fast Opera 12 will be in those tests, once the browser is more stable. So far, it is just a download for die-hard Opera fans. Originally, the hardware acceleration feature was promised to be released with Opera 11, which was announced in December of last year.

Check out the Opera 12 alpha download here.

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  • 14 Hide
    tipoo , October 16, 2011 1:53 AM
    Exciting. Opera already feels like the most buttery smooth browser out there without GPU acceleration, with it I can't wait to see how great it is. Seriously, more people should give Opera a run, stick with it for at least a week and see if it grows on you. I've had the least problems with it of any browser, and I do have updated versions of them all on my PC.
Other Comments
  • 14 Hide
    tipoo , October 16, 2011 1:53 AM
    Exciting. Opera already feels like the most buttery smooth browser out there without GPU acceleration, with it I can't wait to see how great it is. Seriously, more people should give Opera a run, stick with it for at least a week and see if it grows on you. I've had the least problems with it of any browser, and I do have updated versions of them all on my PC.
  • 5 Hide
    phenom_x8 , October 16, 2011 2:51 AM
    @tipoo
    Agree, in my slowly but sure connection, the turbo feature it have absolutely awesome when boosting page load! I hope they improve this feature (or add it) for video streaming(and adding option to download it directly from browser)
  • -2 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , October 16, 2011 2:55 AM
    i would switch to Opera today if i could sync my bookmarks, history and passwords list with it from crappy FF.

    opera with hardware acceleration will be a beast.
  • 2 Hide
    maddy143ded , October 16, 2011 6:05 AM
    yes the HW acceleration does work, i updated the browser and noticed a definite GPU usage anytime i open a new page......
    it uses on an average 20 - 30 % of my HD5770.
    and being a Opera user since it first came out, i must say this is definetly a welcome feature...
    but this new update again broke something in the memory feature.
    Opera can be the best browser out there , but to become that they need to improve their memory efficiency..
  • 7 Hide
    maddy143ded , October 16, 2011 6:14 AM
    alidanopera was the worst browser out of the box compared to ie, firefox and chrome. it shares none of the simple comands that the other 3 do that are basicly standard browser commands at this point, and the ones it does share... are few.the way that switching tabs was handled out of the gate was a nightmare, with me trying to swich tabs, i couldnt get to the next one it would go to a seemingly random tab. and than there was netflix, youtube, gametrailers, all of which for me, on 11 had major problems with video.right now, i still use it, but only for browsing the web while i am in the middle of a game as it has the least tabs open and is better on memory than chrome.


    you need a history lesson....
    Opera was the one to introduce, most of the ground breaking features that chrome and FF now a days tout as their own..
    Tabbed browsing - first seen in opera(long back in 2002 or 2003)
    session saving feature - first seen in opera.
    has the best history caching in the browser industry. you close like hundred tabs in your opera browser and can be assured that when you again open the browser most of the pages will be available on start, and then be updated .
    and it is the fastest browser to work with in html. you don't need flash for everything.

    if opera was more like APPLE then it would be the richest company.. because it could have patented and then sued other companies for copying its features.
  • 4 Hide
    frostmachine , October 16, 2011 6:26 AM
    maddy143dedif opera was more like APPLE then it would be the richest company.. because it could have patented and then sued other companies for copying its features.


    we are so lucky Opera is not like Apple. Else everyone will be stuck without tabs, sessions, etc. The dark age of IE.
  • 1 Hide
    de5_Roy , October 16, 2011 6:42 AM
    love their mobile browser. desktop one, not so much.
  • 3 Hide
    marshsmello , October 16, 2011 7:52 AM
    Opera is THE browser in my case. First thing is the ease of GUI customization, I can really change every little thing I don't like. Second, mail and news reader integrated into GUI (that side panel switch by clicking the edge of the window is awesome). I see Chrome and some other browsers now have a speed dialer, which is standard in Opera for two or three years. They polished working with tabs to perfection. The drawback to innovation is that they put many new things and features which I call "experiments" that I don't usually need so I turn them off. But from time to time they nail it and I can use the new and better feature few years before mainstream. I would recommend Opera to those people who like to have few more things well integrated under the same hood and flexibility and courage to tweak them. Much like Firefox with plugins but more elegant.
  • -1 Hide
    nikorr , October 16, 2011 8:49 AM
    At last...
  • 0 Hide
    lolsir , October 16, 2011 10:59 AM
    I want to thx opera for making my live easier when i had the most crappiest cpu of all time the intel celeron 2.6ghz on dell dimension :/ . Opera made web browsing wayyy faster then firefox. I still use it on my new quad core desktop :) . One thing i want in opera is firefox like addons. The gpu accelration sounds cool and i always wanted it opera.
  • 3 Hide
    ivyanev , October 16, 2011 11:11 AM
    GPU accelerated or not Opera does the job, and the sync feature between mini and the desktop browser is awesome.
  • 0 Hide
    cookoy , October 16, 2011 1:55 PM
    those preliminary tests show v12 is definitely better than v11.5 but still lags behind other browsers. opera is my ever reliable backup when my primary browser fails to deliver.
  • 2 Hide
    tipoo , October 16, 2011 2:18 PM
    cookoythose preliminary tests show v12 is definitely better than v11.5 but still lags behind other browsers. opera is my ever reliable backup when my primary browser fails to deliver.


    "Lags behind" how exactly? Its always on the heels of Chrome in my tests, far ahead of Firefox and IE in most. In real use, you can't feel the speed differences between it and Chrome, but the UI is a bit more smooth which matters more.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , October 16, 2011 7:14 PM
    Loving Opera. It feels so much faster than Chrome and Firefox, even without the hardware acceleration, pages load 2x 3x quicker. It's not my imagination....

    Can't wait for Opera 12 release, but right now Opera 11.5 is REALLY good.
  • 0 Hide
    back_by_demand , October 16, 2011 7:44 PM
    I wonder if Opera for the Wii will get an update?
  • -5 Hide
    alidan , October 16, 2011 8:01 PM
    maddy143dedyou need a history lesson....Opera was the one to introduce, most of the ground breaking features that chrome and FF now a days tout as their own..Tabbed browsing - first seen in opera(long back in 2002 or 2003)session saving feature - first seen in opera.has the best history caching in the browser industry. you close like hundred tabs in your opera browser and can be assured that when you again open the browser most of the pages will be available on start, and then be updated .and it is the fastest browser to work with in html. you don't need flash for everything.if opera was more like APPLE then it would be the richest company.. because it could have patented and then sued other companies for copying its features.


    i can remember something called mozilla, that was a bit before firefox... but i cant remember when that came out...

    opera being the first for tabbed it probably true, but that thing handles them like crap, again, out of the box, it becomes far more tollarable after you customize it a bit. but even than, discounting extensions, firefox and chrome JUST the browser has better customize abilities.

    and yea, i dont need flash for everything, but damn near everything has flash in it. and when i have 1 tab, and flash still plays like crap, something is wrong with your browser.

    and best history thing... i have to argue that... as chrome has a very good method, and firefox does too. but somethings firefox drops the ball... but if i really want to close everything, i can book mark all the tabs at once, and open them one at a time, and firefox has the best bookmark methods native.
  • 0 Hide
    jgutz2006 , October 17, 2011 1:25 PM
    mayankleoboy1i would switch to Opera today if i could sync my bookmarks, history and passwords list with it from crappy FF.opera with hardware acceleration will be a beast.


    Xmarks works with all of the big browser names that i know of, or at least use including Opera
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , October 18, 2011 4:38 AM
    Strangely behind for a browser known to be cutting-edge; this comes almost a year after IE9.