I mentioned earlier this month that a new flag in Chrome OS 76 would make it easier to enable GPU acceleration for Linux on a Chromebook. That’s great because I’ve never gotten it to work with the command line method.
My Dev Channel Pixel Slate was updated to Chrome OS 76 earlier today so I tested the flag and it works. I’m not sure if it will enable GPU acceleration to every Chromebook that supports Linux, but I know the Pixel Slate specifically has this function, as do several Chromebooks and Chromeboxes.
So what do you get when you enable GPU acceleration? I did a quick video of the game Portal on Steam before and after turning on the GPU. The difference is very obvious: Without the GPU doing some work, even an old game like this is unplayable.
After enabling GPU acceleration it’s far better; not what I’d call fantastic but what do you expect with an integrated GPU running a game inside of a Linux container which is inside a virtual machine? 😉
I’m glad to see the GPU functionality but I likely won’t use it for gaming. My hope is that I’ll see some improved performance with app design and layout in Android Studio. Ideally, it would be nice to see a virtual device emulator there for app testing as well.
Project Stadia is where I’m pinning my gaming hope on a Chromebook: It will matter far less if your Chromebook has a good GPU while your connection speed will be far more important.