What Is Hardware Acceleration? How To Use It (2021)

Hardware acceleration is the process of using a dedicated graphics card or GPU to perform computations that would typically be done by the CPU. This allows for faster rendering times and smoother gameplay.

Hardware acceleration is a computer graphics rendering technology that allows the CPU to offload some of its work to the GPU. This helps improve performance by allowing software to use the GPU’s computing power, rather than using it as a simple display device.

Isn’t it true that everyone wants their computer to be as quick and responsive as possible? There is, however, a method to speed up your computer without altering its hardware. Hardware acceleration is a wonderful feature in Windows that may help your computer operate quicker.

The purpose of this article is to explain what hardware acceleration is and when it may be used.

What is Hardware Acceleration, and how does it work?

The use of computer components to assist speed up software operations is known as hardware acceleration. Using your computer’s graphics card to speed up operations that would usually execute on the CPU is what this refers to.

This may speed up your computer in a variety of ways. When you view a video with Windows Media Player is a piece of software that allows you to, for example, the software on your computer utilizes the CPU to perform the playback. When you activate hardware acceleration and enable your graphics card, Windows Media Player will play movies using the GPU rather than the CPU.

Hardware Acceleration

When viewing HD movies, this may help your computer run quicker. It may be utilized in virtually any application, although it’s most often employed in graphics-intensive programs like games, video editing, and virtual machines (like VirtualBox).

What Are the Advantages of Hardware Acceleration?

Your computer may benefit from hardware acceleration in a variety of ways. It will, for example, help your games perform quicker and smoother in general. It also enables you to watch high-resolution movies without stuttering or slowness in Windows Media Player.

Because the GPU does not need as much power as the CPU while performing the same tasks, it extends the battery life of laptops. Hardware acceleration in VirtualBox allows you to run your virtual machine at a higher resolution without choppy or sluggish performance on older systems with lower CPUs and GPUs.

Depending on what you’re using it for, you may need to fiddle with the settings a little, but in general, hardware acceleration will make your computer quicker and more responsive.

When is it appropriate to utilize Hardware Acceleration?

Any application that utilizes the GPU for processing power may benefit from hardware acceleration.

When hardware acceleration is enabled, Windows Media Player, for example, will playback HD movies utilizing your computer’s graphics card rather than the CPU.

If you have a slow laptop with an outdated CPU and insufficient RAM for virtual machines, you may speed up your virtual machine by activating hardware acceleration in VirtualBox.

Is There Anything Wrong With Using Hardware Acceleration?

There are a few drawbacks to using hardware acceleration. Some applications, for example, may not function properly if it is enabled. This is typically due to the application being designed for machines without hardware acceleration or requiring more power to operate smoothly than your computer’s graphics card can supply.

Enabling hardware acceleration in VirtualBox may cause your virtual machine to operate slower if you’re using an older laptop with limited computing capacity.

what is Hardware Acceleration

Another disadvantage is that certain applications will utilize the GPU even if you are not using it, resulting in a reduction in laptop battery life.

However, with modern computers and batteries that can manage it without using too much power, this shouldn’t be a problem.

While hardware acceleration has certain drawbacks, it may help your computer run quicker and more responsively without altering any of its components.

How Do I Begin Using Windows Hardware Acceleration?

Depending on what you’re attempting to do, you may utilize hardware acceleration in a number of ways.

Acceleration of video encoding

Adobe Premiere and Handbrake, for example, may use your computer’s graphics hardware to accelerate the video encoding process.

If this option is accessible, look for it in their preferences and activate it.


To help your virtual machines operate more smoothly and fast, enable hardware acceleration in the guest settings in VirtualBox.

You may also activate this in your computer’s BIOS to utilize it for every virtual machine you automatically launch.

Windows Media Player

You may enable hardware acceleration in Windows Media Player’s options to help your HD movies playback more smoothly and fast. To activate hardware acceleration in Windows Media Player, follow these instructions.

  1. Open Windows Media Player and go to the top of the menu and choose “Now Playing.”
  2. Choose “More Options” from the drop-down menu.
  3. On the “More Options” panel, choose the “Performance” option.
  4. Turn on DirectX video acceleration for WMV files by checking the box.

GPGPU (Graphics Processing Unit) (General Purpose Acceleration)

Other than video playing, you may utilize hardware acceleration for a variety of activities.

For example, you may use your computer’s graphics card to execute applications that would usually need a lot of CPU power.

This is referred to as GPGPU (general purpose computing using the GPU).

It may make it possible to perform things like render movies quicker, edit pictures and video, play games on older PCs with lower CPUs, and conduct complicated simulations without requiring a supercomputer.

However, only a few programs, such as Blender (a free video rendering program), FFmpeg (an open-source tool that can do a variety of 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), currently support GPGPU acceleration.

Web Browser Hardware Acceleration

Hardware acceleration is also beneficial to web browsers.

Google Chrome, for example, utilizes hardware acceleration to speed up graphics-intensive webpages.

Hardware acceleration is used by certain web browsers, such as Opera, to make your computer quicker while entering in text fields.

If a website includes a video and you’re using Google Chrome, the HTML will instruct Chrome to play the movie using your computer’s graphics card rather than the CPU.

This is why websites with high-resolution videos run more smoothly in certain browsers than others — it all depends on whether or not the website supports hardware acceleration in that browser.

Most online browsers, however, have this feature disabled by default for security reasons. When I activated hardware acceleration in Firefox, for example, I couldn’t detect the difference, but it made a significant difference in playback quality in Google Chrome.

How to Use Google Chrome’s Hardware Acceleration

Follow these procedures to enable or disable hardware acceleration in Google Chrome:

  1. To open the menu list and go to Settings, go to the top right corner of Chrome and click the (…) icon.
  2. Scroll down until you see “Show advanced options,” then select that option.
  3. Select the radio option next to “Use hardware acceleration when available” in the “System” section.
  4. It’s possible that you’ll need to restart your browser after doing this for the changes to take effect.

In Firefox, How Do I Enable Hardware Acceleration?

  1. On your PC, launch the Firefox browser.
  2. Go to “Settings” by pressing the menu button.
  3. In your browser’s address box, enter about: preferences or click on “Preferences.”
  4. At the top of the window, click the Advanced tab.
  5. Under Browsing, scroll down to General.
  6. Make sure the option next to Enable Hardware Acceleration is checked.

What’s the Difference Between Overclocking and Hardware Acceleration?

Overclocking increases the speed of your computer by providing it more power than its specs suggest, while hardware acceleration makes no changes to your machine. By utilizing the graphics card instead of the CPU to make things run quicker, hardware acceleration allows applications to believe that your machine is more powerful than it really is.


Hardware acceleration is a technique for increasing the performance of your computer by using the graphics card rather than the CPU. It’s helpful for individuals who have older computers that can’t execute applications as quickly as they’d want.

However, it is only helpful for specific kinds of applications; if a software doesn’t support hardware acceleration in your web browser or on your machine, activating this function won’t make a difference.

Articles Related to This: 

Hardware acceleration can be used to speed up your computer. However, it’s not always the best option for gaming or other intensive tasks. Reference: how to turn off hardware acceleration.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is hardware acceleration and should I use it?

Hardware acceleration is a feature that allows the game to use the power of your computer to run faster. This can be seen as a performance boost, but it has its downsides. The biggest downside is that you will need a powerful enough computer to make this work.

How do I use hardware acceleration?

Hardware acceleration is a feature of the game that allows you to use your computers GPU for rendering rather than the games CPU. It does not require any additional software, and can be enabled in-game by going to Options > Graphics > Enable Hardware Acceleration.

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