Everyone wants their computer to be as fast and responsive as possible, right? Well, there is a way you can make your computer faster without changing any hardware. There is a great feature in Windows called hardware acceleration, and it can make your computer run faster.
This article will explain what hardware acceleration is, and when you can use it.
What is Hardware Acceleration?
Hardware acceleration is the process of utilizing computer components to help speed up software processes. Generally, this means using your computer’s graphics card to help speed up processes that would normally run on the CPU.
This can make your computer faster in multiple areas. For example, when you watch a video in Windows Media Player, your computer’s software uses the CPU to process the playback. When you use hardware acceleration and enable your computer’s graphics card, Windows Media Player will use the GPU instead of the CPU to playback videos.
This can make your computer faster when watching HD videos. It can be used on almost any program, but it’s usually applied to programs that are graphics intensive like games or video editing or virtual machines (like VirtualBox).
What Are The Benefits of Using Hardware Acceleration?
Hardware acceleration can have many benefits to your computer. For example, it will generally make your games run faster and smoother. It also allows you to play high-resolution videos in Windows Media Player without stuttering or slowdown.
It saves battery life on laptops because the GPU doesn’t need as much power as the CPU does when performing the same functions. In VirtualBox, hardware acceleration means you can use your virtual machine at a higher resolution without it being choppy or slow on older computers with weaker CPUs and GPUs.
You might have to experiment with the settings a little bit depending on what you’re using it for, but generally hardware acceleration will make your computer faster and more responsive overall.
When can you use Hardware Acceleration?
Hardware acceleration can be used on any program that uses the uses the GPU for processing power.
For example, Windows Media Player will use your computer’s graphics card to playback HD videos instead of using the CPU when hardware acceleration is enabled.
If you have a crappy laptop with an old processor and not enough RAM for virtual machines, then enabling hardware acceleration in VirtualBox can help speed up your virtual machine.
Are There Downsides To Using Hardware Acceleration?
Hardware acceleration can have a few downsides. For example, some programs might not work well with it enabled. This is usually due to the program being made for computers without hardware acceleration or needing more power than your computer’s graphics card provides in order to run smoothly.
If you are using an older laptop without much processing power, enabling hardware acceleration in VirtualBox might make your virtual machine run more slowly.
Another downside is that some programs will use the GPU even if you are not using them, which results in lower battery life on laptops.
However, this shouldn’t be an issue with newer computers or batteries than can handle it without too much of a power drain.
While there are some downsides to hardware acceleration, overall it can make your computer faster and more responsive without changing any of its components.
How To Start Using Hardware Acceleration in Windows?
You can use hardware acceleration in variety of ways depending on what you’re trying to do.
Video Encoding Acceleration
Programs such as Adobe Premiere and Handbrake can take advantage of your computer’s graphics card to speed up the video encoding process.
Check for this option in their settings and enable it if available.
In VirtualBox, you can turn on hardware acceleration in the guest settings to make your virtual machines run more smoothly and quickly.
You can also enable this in the BIOS of your computer to use it for any virtual machine you open automatically.
Windows Media Player
In Windows Media Player, you can turn on hardware acceleration in the settings to make your HD videos play back more smoothly and more quickly. Follow these steps to enable hardware acceleration in your windows media player.
- Open Windows Media Player and click “Now Playing” at the top of the menu
- Select the “More Options”
- Click the “Performance” tab on the “More Options” panel.
- Check the box that says “Turn on DirectX video acceleration for WMV files”.
GPGPU (General Purpose Acceleration)
You can also use hardware acceleration for general tasks other than video playback.
For example, you can run programs that normally requires a lot of CPU power on your computer’s graphics card instead.
This is known as GPGPU (general purpose computing using the GPU).
It could allow you to do things like rendering videos faster, editing photos and video, playing games on older computers with weaker CPUs or running complex simulations without needing a super expensive computer.
However, only certain programs support GPGPU acceleration at the moment such as Blender (a free program for rendering videos), FFmpeg (an open-source tool that can do many different things depending on how you use it) and HandBrake (a similar program to Adobe Premiere that can also take advantage of your computer’s graphics card).
Hardware Acceleration in Web Browser
Web browsers also benefit from hardware acceleration.
For example, Google Chrome uses hardware acceleration to improve graphics intensive websites.
Some web browsers, like Opera use hardware acceleration to make your computer faster when typing in text fields.
For example, if a website has a video and you’re using Google Chrome, the HTML will tell Chrome to use your computer’s graphics card instead of its CPU when playing back videos.
This is why websites with high-resolution videos play more smoothly on some browsers than others – it depends on whether or not they are compatible with hardware acceleration in that web browser.
However most web browsers have this option turned off by default for stability purposes. For example, using Firefox I couldn’t tell the difference when I enabled hardware acceleration, but using Google Chrome it made a huge improvement in playback quality.
How to Enable Hardware Acceleration in Google Chrome
To turn on or off hardware acceleration in Google Chrome, follow these steps:
- Go to the top right corner of the chrome and click on (…) button to open menu list and go to Settings.
- Scroll down until you find “Show advanced settings” and then click that option under it.
- Look for a section called “System” and click the radio button next to “Use hardware acceleration when available”.
- You might have to restart your browser after doing this for it to take effect.
How To Enable Hardware Acceleration in Firefox
- Open Firefox browser on your computer
- Click the menu button, go to “Settings”
- Click on “Preferences” or type about: preferences in your address bar.
- Select the Advanced tab at the top of the window.
- Scroll down to General under Browsing.
- Check that box near Enable Hardware Acceleration.
Difference Between Hardware Acceleration and Overclocking?
Overclocking speeds up your computer by giving it more power than what its specifications say it should have, while hardware acceleration doesn’t actually change your computer at all. Hardware acceleration just makes programs think that your computer is more powerful than it really is by using the graphics card instead of the CPU to make things run faster.
Hardware acceleration is a way to speed up your computer by using the graphics card instead of the CPU. It is useful for people who have computers that are not very powerful and aren’t able to run programs as fast as they would like without it.
However, it is only useful for certain types of programs – if a program doesn’t support hardware acceleration in your web browser or on your computer then you won’t see any difference when enabling this feature.