It has been more than a year since Linux apps first appeared on Chrome OS devices. Since then, more and more Chromebooks started receiving support and the project got better, too. But, there is one feature that has been heavily requested by the users and that’s graphical acceleration. GPU support has been nonexistent for Linux apps until now. Chrome OS 76’s first dev version adds a flag named “Crostini GPU Support,” which finally fulfills enthusiasts’ wishes.
The new feature was first noticed by Keith I Myers. It is available in Chrome OS 76.0.3789.0, which is the first dev build of Chrome OS 76. It goes without saying that the feature is unstable right now. It is in the very early stages, so bugs and stability issues are to be expected. Also, keep in mind that GPU acceleration is only supported on a handful of Chromebooks:
- Google Pixelbook (eve)
- Dell Inspiron 14
- Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C630
- Acer Chromebook 13
- Acer Chromebook Spin 13
- HP X360 Chromebook 14
If you own any of them and you’re ready to install a very experimental version of Chrome OS to test Crostini GPU acceleration, you can read the instructions below.
- Open Chrome browser, navigate to chrome://flags/#crostini-gpu-support and enable the flag;
- The browser will prompt you to restart the device, click on the ‘Restart Now’ button to do so;
- Now you have to update the container. Open the terminal and run “sudo apt-get update” command;
- Now run “sudo apt-get dist-upgrade” command, then restart your device once again;
- Now, just to make sure, open terminal again and run “glxinfo -B”.S
If you see “Device: virgl” column in the logs, then you’ve enabled GPU acceleration successfully. The video memory column outputs 0MB for some users, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem. You can see in the video below just how much improvement GPU support shows. Keep in mind that Portal is a game specifically written for Windows, which runs in a Linux container in Chrome OS with custom GPU support, so even the minimum results are surprising.
The stable version of Chrome OS 76 will be released in August. Apart from the Crostini GPU Acceleration, it also brings virtual desktops. There are also some minor changes like a rearrangement of “Clear All” button. We believe that a lot more features will be added before the final release, which is more than 3 months away.
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