Chrome update adds 64-bit support, crisp text for high-res displays

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By Jared Newman, PC World | August 27th, 2014

The new version of Google’s browser is faster and more stable, and it looks a lot better on high-end laptops.

Modern PC and high-end laptop users are in for a treat with the latest version of Chrome, which adds 64-bit support and much crisper text on high-DPI displays.

The 64-bit version of Chrome offers numerous speed, stability and security improvements, according to Google. For instance, YouTube decodes high definition video 15 percent faster using the VP9 codec, and 64-bit rendering engines have proven to be twice as stable as 32-bit engines in beta testing. Chrome’s built-in security measures are also more effective against memory-related vulnerabilities.

For now, 64-bit Chrome is an opt-in download. The only caveat is that it doesn’t support the Netscape Plug-in API, an aging tool for extending the capabilities of Web browsers. However, Google is already phasing out this API and blocks it by default on several popular sites. For most users running 64-bit Windows, there’s no major downside to installing the new version.

As for high-DPI support, Chrome 37 supports DirectWrite, which can render text much more sharply on ultra high-resolution laptops and tablets. Fuzzy text had been a long-standing issue with Chrome on devices like the Surface Pro 3; the new version fixes the problem by replacing Microsoft’s old Graphics Device Interface rendering with a much newer method.

The Verge notes that Chrome 37 includes other high-DPI improvements in the browser’s menus and toolbars by default, but we haven’t been able to confirm that just yet.

The new version of Chrome also includes the requisite bug fixes and security improvements. With the exception of the separate download for 64-bit support, all the new features in Chrome 37 should install automatically. You can quickly check if you’re running 32-bit or 64-bit Windows through Microsoft’s website.