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Demoing Direct2D

Since there are occasions where people might want to demonstrate Direct2D browser hardware acceleration. I'll briefly describe here how to do this.

Required Software

You need to be running either Windows 7 or Windows Vista with the Vista Platform update. Windows 7 is preferred because of it using WDDM1.1

Required Hardware

You'll need to make sure you have DX10 compatible hardware or higher. DX9 hardware may work, but performance will vary significantly. Onboard graphics chipsets may also not function quite as you'd like them to. NVIDIA or ATI hardware is at this point the best hardware to demo this on. In order to check for recent enough drivers and DX 10 support, go to Run, and execute 'dxdiag'. Under the 'display' tab it should display DDI: 10 (or higher), and on windows 7 it should display WDDM: 1.1

Installing a Build

Mozilla 2.0 (mozilla-central) builds contain support for Direct2D and DirectWrite. As of August 17, 2010, Direct2D and DirectWrite were turned on by default for DirectX 10 hardware.

Checking if you are running Direct2D

Look in 'about:support'. At or near the bottom, you will see an item that tells you whether Direct2D is enabled.

Using Direct2D if it is not turned on for you

By default, Direct2D and DirectWrite are turned on for DirectX 10 hardware. If you want to try to force it on (check about:support to see if it worked), follow these steps:

  1. Enter 'about:config'
  2. Click through the warning, if necessary
  3. Enter render in the 'Filter' box
  4. Double-click on 'gfx.font_rendering.directwrite.enabled' to set it to true
  5. Double-click on 'mozilla.widget.render-mode' and change its value to 6
  6. Restart the browser

Special note: If you disable DirectWrite using this method, Direct2D will also be turned off.

Turning off Direct2D

If you suspect Direct2D has caused a bug, you can check by turning off Direct2D:

  1. Enter 'about:config'
  2. Click through the warning, if necessary
  3. Enter render in the 'Filter' box
  4. Double-click on 'mozilla.widget.render-mode' and change its value to 0
  5. Restart the browser

To revert to the default behaviour, change 'mozilla.widget.render-mode' to -1.

Some good sites

Some good sites that show off the advantages of hardware acceleration well are the following: