Like clockwork, Google has delivered its latest version of its Chrome Web browser for Linux, Mac, and Windows users, but it's the 64-bit Windows users who will get the most from this latest upgrade: Chrome 37.
Harris added that "The native 64-bit version of Chrome has improved speed on many of our graphics and media benchmarks. For example, the VP9 codec that’s used in High Definition YouTube videos shows a 15% improvement in decoding performance." So, is it really faster?
To find out, I ran benchmarks on 32-bit Chrome 36m the new 64-bit Chrome 37, and 64-bit Internet Explorer (IE) 11 on a Gateway DX4710 running 64-bit Windows 7 SP1. You must be running 64-bit Windows to run a 64-bit application, but you can run 32-bit applications on a 64-bit system.
My benchmark PC is powered by a 2.5-GHz Intel Core 2 Quad processor and has 6GB of RAM and an Intel GMA (Graphics Media Accelerator) 3100 for graphics. It's hooked to the Internet via a Netgear Gigabit Ethernet switch, which, in turn, is hooked up to a 100Mbps (Megabit per second) cable Internet connection. For the benchmarks, I used Sunspider 1.02; Futuremark's Peacekeeper; Octane 2.0, Google's own Web browser benchmark; and Mozilla's Kraken 1.1 benchmark.
With Futuremark's PeaceKeeper, which examines almost all aspects of a browser's end-user performance, it was a different story. On this benchmark, where higher scores are better, Chrome 37 won with a score of 2,409, well ahead of the 32-bit Chrome 36's 2,214, and far, far ahead of IE 11's 1,632.
Finally on Octane 2.0, Google's house Web browser benchmark, where higher is better, it should come as no surprise that Chrome 37 was the victor with a score of 13,156, well over Chrome 36's 12,895 and way ahead of IE 11's 8,142.
For now, the 64-bit version of Chrome is optional. If you want to use it, click on the new “Windows 64-bit” link on the Chrome download page. Harris noted, however, that one "significant known issue is the lack of 32-bit NPAPI [Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface] plugin support." NPAPI is an obsolete technology and Google is depreciating it, but there are still a handful of older Web services and out-of-date Web sites that use it.
The 32-bit channel will remain fully supported for the foreseeable future. In addition, Chrome will continue to support 32-bit plugins until NPAPI is removed from Chrome.
Regardless of whether you use 32- or 64-bit Chrome on Windows, the new Chrome now supports DirectWrite support on Windows for improved font rendering. DirectWrite has been around since Windows Vista, but Google had continued to use the mid-80's Graphics Device Interface (GDI) for font rendering. That was fine in the day when VGA's 640x480 resolution was the best you could expect, but it's completely out of date today.
One user has suggested that if this happens to you, you can try "Right-clicking the Chrome shortcut and then click Properties. On the Compatibility tab, select Disable Display Scaling On High DPI Settings, and then click OK. This causes the text in the application to appear clearer." This fix is based on a fix for Windows applications having trouble with high DPI displays.