Enable GPU to speed up slow Playwright tests in headless mode
When I wrote end-to-end tests for Sudocle the other day, I noticed that they ran much faster when I started my browser in non-headless mode. After some debugging, I was able to figure out that the browser I was using to run my tests (Chrome/Chromium), automatically employed a software renderer for WebGL when started headless. Since Sudocle heavily relies on WebGL, the tests could benefit a great deal from hardware acceleration.
To force-enable GPU hardware acceleration for headless Chrome/Chromium, you have to run it with
--use-gl=egl. You can add this parameter in your
Whether you need to use
egl seems to depend on the environment or operating system you’re on. For me, on macOS,
egl worked well. To check if hardware acceleration is enabled or not, you can use the code below.
With hardware acceleration enabled, I was able to reduce the average runtime of my tests from 1.9s to 1.3s on my MacBook. Depending on how many tests you run and how complex they are, your test suite can take several minutes less than without hardware acceleration.
In my case, at the time of writing, I’m running 823 tests with 6 workers. Without hardware acceleration, the test suite took 4m 19s. Now, it only takes 2m 59s.
You can find the source code of my tests here:
playwright.config.js can be found here:
Please note that the test fixtures are not checked in to the source code repository of Sudocle.
Checking if hardware acceleration is enabled
If you want to check if your headless browser has GPU hardware acceleration enabled or not, you can use the following test:
Posted by Michel Krämer
on 2 January 2022
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