Out of the box, in Google Chrome hardware acceleration is enabled. The feature is designed to make your browser faster by making use of your computer’s graphics card. However, while keeping the feature on is the right move for most people, you may need to disable hardware acceleration if it’s causing issues.

What is hardware acceleration?

Hardware acceleration makes use of your computer’s graphics card to speed up the browser and free up your CPU. As your GPU is designed to perform video-based calculations, it’s often better suited for tasks like watching videos or playing browser games.

If you have a dedicated sound card, that can also be used for hardware acceleration, providing higher quality playback and recording than your motherboard audio.

So, should I turn hardware acceleration on or off?

Whether or not you should disable hardware acceleration depends on your scenario. On lower spec PCs, disabling hardware acceleration may make watching high-resolution video (such as 4K) all but impossible.

However, while hardware acceleration in Chrome provides significant advantages for most people, for some it can cause instability. On some devices, Chrome can lag or crash with it enabled, especially on Linux machines.

Lag caused by hardware acceleration is typically the result of an underlying driver or browser incompatibility that should be fixed, if possible. In the meantime, you can turn off Google Chrome hardware acceleration to see if this solves the issue.

How to Enable or Disable Chrome Hardware Acceleration

If you haven’t touched the hardware acceleration setting previously, there’s a good chance it’s already on. Due to its inherent benefits, Chrome tends to enable it by default. Still, it’s worth checking if your performance is sluggish. We’re first going to show you how to turn hardware acceleration on or off, then move on to how to check if the changes have taken.

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  1. Open Chrome settings


     Press the three dots in the top-right corner of your browser, then click “Settings”.

  2. Click ‘Advanced’


    You’ll find the “Advanced” button at the very bottom of your Chrome settings window, underneath the “On startup” section.

  3. Toggle ‘Use hardware acceleration when available’ on or off


    Once you’re done, press the “Relaunch” button to apply the changes.

  4. Check hardware acceleration status with chrome://gpu


    In your browser bar, paste chrome://gpu to open the GPU diagnostics page. In the “Graphics Feature Status” list, with hardware acceleration off, you’ll see several items marked as “Disabled”.

That about finishes this Chrome hardware acceleration tutorial. Just remember to troubleshoot the underlying issue if you are having problems. An incorrect video card driver could cause instability in other areas of your system.

You can follow this guide to grab the latest Nvidia drivers, and this one to check what graphics card you have.

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