Posted: 3rd December 2013

Author: Ric

Tagged: Tutorials

How to fix scroll issues in the Opera web browser

I've been a fan of Opera since version 8.5 when they finally removed the advertisement blocks. That was 7 years ago now, and it's remained my browser of choice for all this time. As a developer, I find the strict standards compliance and array of useful visual modes to be massive selling points. I also find the DOM inspector more intuitive than any other, and that's something I use even when I'm just generally browsing the web; I am a little odd like that.

One thing that has been bugging me though, is the laggy scroll performance. CSS3 heavy websites really killed the rendering engine and some weren't usable at all. It's been an issue for me for about 6 months and there are reports all over the Internet of others having the same problem throughout the 11 and 12 series.

I decided enough was enough, and started to look into what might be causing it. Two settings appeared to be causing major problems, and, with both disabled, I'm noticing huge performance improvements. I'm sure this will be of use to others, so here's what I changed:

Navigate to opera:config and set both User Prefs -> Enable Hardware Acceleration and User Prefs -> Smooth Scrolling to 0. The actual problem seems to be in just smooth scrolling - I guess their algorithms combined with various CSS3 properties cause some kind of memory leak in the graphic driver or something. Disabling smooth scrolling and leaving hardware acceleration on does result in better performance but I found that this caused the browser to crash sporadically, which is a little odd, given that it didn't crash at all before. Disabling both works amazingly well though.

I'm sure this will work for others, but as it's a graphical rendering issue it could easily be dependent on your operating system, graphic driver, or hardware. If it doesn't work for you, try some of the other settings and post your findings below. I'm running an ATI graphics card on an AMD laptop, using the official closed source Catalyst graphics drivers (fglrx) on Gentoo GNU/Linux.

Blog posts written by former QWeb employees are not necessarily an accurate indication of the current opinions of QWeb Ltd and the information provided in tutorials might be biased or subjective, or might become out of date.

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