Updates are rolling out- Chrome 17 stable channel released yesterday, today Google Chrome 18 Beta. Beta version of Chrome 18 has been released brings 2D canvas improvements and enables 3D content on older GPUs.

SwiftShader, Software Rasterizer displays 3D Content in Chrome on Older GPUs

This is good news for users with older GPUs and graphics drivers- you can’t experience 3D Graphics or rich content powered by WebGL till now-  now Chrome displays 3D Content via SwiftShader licensed from TransGaming by Google emulates as real GPU. Its better to have something in Operating Systems like Windows XP instead of nothing.

“Although SwiftShader won’t perform as well as a real GPU, it will be an improvement for many of our users on older operating systems such as Windows XP.” Chrome blog post reads.

Google automatically enables SwiftShader, software rasterizer on older PCs which can’t run content on GPU.  You can try this on a 3D Content page by enabling –blacklist-accelerated-compositing and –blacklist-webgl flags.

GPU Accelerated 2D Canvas

Canvas-based games and animations can now run faster as Chrome team enabled GPU-accelerated rendering of 2D canvas content for Windows and Mac users. Visit Chrome://gpu page to see the feature that are being accelerated.

“This is a tricky area to optimize, due to the wide variety of hardware and operating system configurations found in the wild. We’ve made a series of small improvements to the way this acceleration works in the latest release, and we’re seeking feedback on it from our Beta users. “

You can download Google Chrome 18 Beta from here.