Skip to navigation
Latest News

Internet Explorer 9 "to close performance gap"

Microsoft

By Barry Collins

Posted on 19 Nov 2009 at 07:10

Microsoft has unveiled the first details of Internet Explorer 9, promising that it will close the performance gap on rival browsers.

Although Microsoft admitted it only started working on IE9 three weeks ago, the company still felt confident enough to share details of the next-generation browser with attendees at its Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles.

The major newcomer is a revamped rendering engine that will tap the power of the PC's graphics card to accelerate text and graphics performance.

"We’re changing IE to use the DirectX family of Windows APIs to enable many advances for web developers," Internet Explorer's general manager, Dean Hachamovitch, explains on the Internet Explorer blog.

"The starting point is moving all graphics and text rendering from the CPU to the graphics card using Direct2D and DirectWrite. Graphics hardware acceleration means that rich, graphically intensive sites can render faster while using less CPU."

As well as improving performance, Microsoft claims the hardware acceleration will enhance the appearance and readability of fonts on the web, with sub-pixel positioning that eradicates the jagged edges on large typefaces.

Scripting performance

Microsoft claims IE9 will also improve the browser's scripting performance. Rather damning Internet Explorer 8 with faint praise, Hachamovitch claims IE8 is "no longer an outlier" when it comes to JavaScript performance measured using the SunSpider benchmark, although a graph published on the IE blog shows that IE8 is still significantly slower than Firefox, Chrome and Safari.

Microsoft claims that early tests with the IE9 build drags Internet Explorer roughly into line with its rivals. As with IE8, however, the company claims that JavaScript performance isn't the be-all and end-all. "We’re looking at the performance characteristics of all the browser sub-systems as real-world sites use them," Hachamovitch says. "Our goal is to deliver better performance across the board for real-world sites, not just benchmarks."

Raising standards

Hachamovitch claims Microsoft has also made progress with making IE9 more standards compatible. He claims that Internet Explorer 9 currently scores a rather paltry 32 out of 100 in the Acid3 tests, but that "the score will continue to go up". He also claims CSS improvements will deliver features such as rounded corners.

Microsoft hasn't revealed when Internet Explorer 9 is expected to arrive, although it seems almost certain that we won't have to wait the two years it took to move from IE7 to IE8.

Subscribe to PC Pro magazine. We'll give you 3 issues for £1 plus a free gift - click here
User comments

FF3.5

I've started started using FF 3.5 and I'm really enjoying it. I dabbled with FF before but didn;t really like it.

Now IE8 feels like a bloated corporate cow!

The IE team have some tough work ahead of them of they want to complete with the browser alternatives.

By a_byrne22 on 19 Nov 2009

Somehow I got the feeling Microsoft would rather have us use Silverlight than Javascript.

By Woudenberg on 19 Nov 2009

I dislike IE for so many reasons, but I have to say that the DirectX move is a good one.

Side-by-side comparisons of IE9 and other current browsers is like comparing today's best graphics card to the best one from several years ago. The improvment is just too amazing to ignore, I hope all other browsers will follow the move soon.

By zeevro on 19 Nov 2009

Performance performance.

To be honest, one of the main things which keeps me away from IE isn't performance. It's how pigging ugly and incoherent the interface is.

Look at it! Back and forward buttons are to the left of the address bar, Stop and Refresh are to the right, Favourites buttons are under the Back and Forward buttons and everything else is jumbled all higgledy piggledy at the end of the tab bar. What a mess!

In Firefox, all the icons are together (and can be moved and customised), then you have the address bar and the search bar. Meanwhile, the tabs get a full bar all to themselves. So much cleaner and more organised.

Until IE gets a complete redesign, it has no chance of becoming my main browser - no matter how quickly it's capable of rendering Javascript!

By Trippynet on 19 Nov 2009

Performance?

On my Windows 7 machine, Firefox 3.5.5 takes about 20s to launch, IE8 launches so quickly it makes no odds. I'm becoming more and more disheartened with the bloat-ware that FF is rapidly becoming whilst IE8 is actually doing rather well.

By Bassey1976 on 19 Nov 2009

On my windoze 7 machine FF 3.5.5 loads in about 5 seconds or quite often less, however IE8 takes about 15-20 to get up and then another few seconds before I can use it - mind you this is 64 bit and FF is only 32 bit

By nicomo on 19 Nov 2009

The Acid Test

http://acid3.acidtests.org/

Tried Firefox, got 93%

Tried IE8, got 12%

After I clicked on the yellow bar to run ActiveX it still only managed 20%.

Does anyone use a browser that scores more than 93% ???

By skgiven on 19 Nov 2009

I been using FF and Google Chrome as well as IE8 over the last year as a way of appraising them.
I coming to the opinion that FF comes out top,in terms of ease of use, customization,installation time and stability-closely followed by chrome. I think the IE explorer interface is cluttered and you have to search deep to make tweaks.
If Chrome is a dry run browser for Googles OS system no one can say it is bad one.

By blackcat on 19 Nov 2009

@nicomo

If IE8 takes that long, you've got a setup problem, have you got it loading incompatible toolbars? IE8 is really quick on my machine, 0 to Google home page in under 5 secs!

But who cares, just use the browser you're happy with and don't worry about it!

By rjp2000 on 19 Nov 2009

Browser speed.

The main disadvantage with FireFox is its only 32bit.
AS a Windows 7 64bit user, I'm finding 64bit browsers are clearly the fastest and old FireFox is stuck in the slow 32bit lane.

By Tibbs on 19 Nov 2009

Performance?

Well I get both IE8 & Firefox 3.5.5 taking under 4 secs from click to start-up and load the home page - Bing. No real difference between them.

15-20 secs to startup suggests the problem is elsewhere.

By chapelgarth on 19 Nov 2009

Acid Test

skgiven, Opera 10 gets 100% in the Acid Test

By knats on 19 Nov 2009

acid test

skgiven, I just checked on my mac, Safari and Chrome both score 100 out of 100, although I think Chrome didn't quite pass as there was an x in the upper right corner that isn't in the reference image. I would guess that the pc version of both browsers would score the same. Interestingly, IE6 will score 100 out of 100 with the google chrome frame plugin.

By tombo on 19 Nov 2009

benchmarks

bassey1976- IE8 is optimized to run through windows, in the past it has been integrated into the operating system and uses much of that to render the application window. I'm not so sure on win 7 but it wouldn't surprise me if it was still that way. But the speed they are referring to is JS performance and there are many benchmarks that show IE 8 to be the slowest of all the new browsers. Here is one benchmark http://jsbenchmark.celtickane.com/Results.aspx but there are others. As a web developer I welcome any improvement to IE, but if they were smart they would just move to webkit. Then they would immediately catch up to everyone.

By tombo on 19 Nov 2009

benchmarks

bassey1976- IE8 is optimized to run through windows, in the past it has been integrated into the operating system and uses much of that to render the application window. I'm not so sure on win 7 but it wouldn't surprise me if it was still that way. But the speed they are referring to is JS performance and there are many benchmarks that show IE 8 to be the slowest of all the new browsers. Here is one benchmark http://jsbenchmark.celtickane.com/Results.aspx but there are others. As a web developer I welcome any improvement to IE, but if they were smart they would just move to webkit. Then they would immediately catch up to everyone.

By tombo on 19 Nov 2009

Acid

Chrome 100
FF 97
IE8 12

Win 7

By downview on 19 Nov 2009

Acid

@ skgiven

I just tried it on my machine. MacBook Pro running Snow Leopard.

Safari got a 100 on Acid

Opera got a 100

Firefox got a 93

By mattyclutch on 20 Nov 2009

Leave a comment

You need to Login or Register to comment.

(optional)

advertisement

Most Commented News Stories
Latest Blog Posts Subscribe to our RSS Feeds
Latest ReviewsSubscribe to our RSS Feeds
Latest Real World Computing

advertisement

Sponsored Links
 
SEARCH
Loading
WEB ID
SIGN UP

Your email:

Your password:

remember me

advertisement


Hitwise Top 10 Website 2010
 
 

PCPro-Computing in the Real World Printed from www.pcpro.co.uk

Register to receive our regular email newsletter at http://www.pcpro.co.uk/registration.

The newsletter contains links to our latest PC news, product reviews, features and how-to guides, plus special offers and competitions.