Monday, January 18, 2016

Independence Day: Resurgence website and Firefox

A quick post: might not display in Firefox and other Gecko-based browsers.

The reason is that the site is based on WebGL, and Firefox blocks WebGL, if the GPU (video card) driver is out of date or does not support WebGL.

The solution in Windows is to update GPU drivers either through the computer manufacturer's website or through the site of the GPU supplier — one of Intel, nVidia, or AMD/ATI, but not limited to only these.

Thorough care should be taken to match the driver to the correct display adapter model.

If that doesn't work, the GPU is too old, or EOL'd.
I strongly recommend not to force Firefox to use WebGL, because this move can damage hardware.
The alternative is to use Google Chrome or Chromium, which probably uses a CPU-based workaround; but if either the graphics adapter or the CPU or both are too old, then rendering is unlikely to work, or is too slow.

> Explanation — contains minimum driver versions that support WebGL.

In addition, visit about:support in Firefox and the Graphics section therein, which also recommends the minimum driver version for WebGL (Direct2D, etc). The posting contains the same warnings about possible damage to hardware if Firefox were forced to use WebGL.

System requirements

This table is incomplete. I've only gotten to test the website on three computers (with some reservations), and gotten an external report about another.
PCHardware/software specifications
ASUS K53SC notebookIntel Core i3 2310M @ 2.1 GHz, dual-corei:Intel HD Graphics 3000
d:nVidia GeForce GT 520MX
4 Gb DDR3, 665.1 MHzWindows 7 SP1YesYesRequired driver updates: I had to upgrade both Intel and nVidia drivers through downloading them from their respective websites.
ASUS U46SVIntel Core i5 2410M @ 2.3 GHz, dual-corei: Intel HD Graphics 30008 GbWindows 10 (build unknown)SlowNot testedWebsite opens, but performance is slow and jerky, and the fan began working intensely.
d:nVidia GeForce GT 540M
ThinkPad R60e (0657-3WG)Intel Core Duo T2400 (Centrino)Mobile Intel 945GM Express2 Gb DDR2
(an upgrade from just 512 Mb)
Windows XP SP3NoSlow / okRendering was slow, but the site was usable.
Chrome: 48.0.2564.109 32-bit; Blink 537.36 JavaScript: V8, (This version already announced that it's to be retired on Windows xp.)
Instead of OpenGL, Chrome's default renderer in Windows is ANGLE, which translates OpenGL ES to Direct3D, as it has better driver support. Thus, results for Chrome can differ.
hp dv5204ea notebookIntel Celeron M 410 @ 1.46 GHzMobile Intel 945GM Express1 Gb DDR2, 266 MHzWindows XP SP3NoToo slowWhile I did upgrade the driver, its version is still less than required: The latest Windows XP driver for this GPU is (15.02.2008), but Firefox wants at least version "6.1400.1000.5218".
All this does not yet indicate much as to what the titular website's actual system requirements are. In notebook computers, the default video card used by any program in Windows is the integrated adapter, while nVidia software provides an option to launch programs using its own GPU.

The Asus notebook with greater specifications falls below the threshold, whereas the Asus notebook with slightly lesser specs, an older operating system and updated video drivers shows the website nicely.

No comments: