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Google Frame Benchmarks 9x Faster than IE8 152

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the they-framed-me dept.
ChiefMonkeyGrinder writes "Early tests with Google's Chrome Frame found IE8 runs 9.6 times faster than usual. The testers ran the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark suite." The other question is what is the performance hit of using the Frame plug-in instead of running the browser natively.
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Google Frame Benchmarks 9x Faster than IE8

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  • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Thursday September 24, 2009 @11:13AM (#29529127) Journal

    However it seems like they only measured JavaScript engine, which by no means contribute everything to how fast browser or browsing feels. And everyone probably knew already that Google's JavaScript engine outperforms MS's (and being one of the main thing Google's thing use, they have a reason to optimize it till its dead)

    This seems to be the usual thing with other browser benchmarks too, they only benchmark the javascript engines and similar under the hood things. Yeah it's easier, but it doesn't really tell the truth.

    User interactions and GUI responsiveness contribute a lot, actually even more so, to how fast browsing feels. IE is horrible with this and has always been; everything lacks behind, scrolling is galaxies far from smooth and the general feeling is just bad. On that note, Firefox suffers a bit from the same things. I think only Opera and Chrome have done UI responsiveness good. Which also brings the question, does Chrome Frame improve it on IE too?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      This seems to be the usual thing with other browser benchmarks too, they only benchmark the javascript engines and similar under the hood things.

      Nonsense. Aside from the retrieval of a page, rendering said (static) page will be instant in almost all cases, regardless the browser. If it doesn't, either the page is way way way too complicated or you are using an antiquated machine.

      So... when benchmarking a web browser, the only real target to measure is javascript performance.
      • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Thursday September 24, 2009 @11:24AM (#29529251) Journal

        There are actually other points you can look at. Things like how fast the browser starts rendering the page while its loading makes a huge difference too. If you sit there waiting for the page to load and looking at white/previous page, its slow. If the browser starts immediately rendering the loading page, atleast something is happening. MS improved this a lot in Win7 too. Just if you see that something is happening or whats loading, it feels faster than just waiting. Of course feel is hard to benchmark, so they usually don't, but it counts a lot too.

        • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @12:14PM (#29529885) Homepage Journal

          This! ^

          Benchmarks aside, I feel like Chrome is the slowest thing on earth, because I see NOTHING until the page is finished loading. I try to be objective. I'll load the same page in Chrome and in FF. True, the page FINISHES about the same time, but with FF, I can see bits and pieces as they become available. Since I am interested in the text most of the time, it doesn't matter how long it takes for some other element to load - I'm never going to look at it. I WANT MY TEXT NOW!!

          That said - I agree with those who say web pages are to complicated today. Add in useless bloat like flash, advertising, etc. I can't browse any faster today with DSL than I did a few years ago with dial up! Something is badly wrong here.

          • Add in useless bloat like flash, advertising, etc.

            Don't install flash, install AdBlock. Problems solved.
            • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @12:37PM (#29530229) Homepage Journal

              Correct - BUT, I am trying to consider the "average user". Like my wife, for instance. I finally weaned her from Microsoft, and she's perfectly happy on Ubuntu. But, HER Ubuntu looks nothing like MY version Ubuntu. If her flash don't flash, she'll throw a fit. She's not a fashion nut, but she still wants to see what's "hot" - meaning she READS those stupid advertisements! Did I mention that on a shared connection, her flash games and adverts slow down MY connection?

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by BikeHelmet (1437881)

                Doesn't flash slow down everyone's connection? That's why I hate it as a video player, as opposed to quicktime. Navigating away from a youtube, vimeo, or gametrailers page with a flash player takes about 10-12 seconds. Navigating away from a quicktime video takes perhaps 0.25 seconds.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 24, 2009 @11:32AM (#29529365)

        Aside from the retrieval of a page, rendering said (static) page will be instant in almost all cases, regardless the browser. If it doesn't, either the page is way way way too complicated or you are using an antiquated machine.

        Welcome to the world wide web, TheRealMindChild. Out here pages are "way way way too complicated". You can close your eyes and go "lalalala" but that doesn't mean those pages aren't there.

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          Aside from the retrieval of a page, rendering said (static) page will be instant in almost all cases, regardless the browser. If it doesn't, either the page is way way way too complicated or you are using an antiquated machine.

          Welcome to the world wide web, TheRealMindChild. Out here pages are "way way way too complicated". You can close your eyes and go "lalalala" but that doesn't mean those pages aren't there.

          But I'm sure the number of static non-javascript way-way-way-way-too-complicated pages is but a t

          • by x2A (858210)

            "The fact you can get "There is a script on this page that is taking a long time [Stop Script] [Continue]" type dialogs probably says it all"

            I find those usually triggered by bugs in the javascript causing infinite loops. I've not seen it occur otherwise, which would put a different spin on that.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by ultranova (717540)

            But I'm sure the number of static non-javascript way-way-way-way-too-complicated pages is but a tiny fraction of the number of pages with poorly coded Javascript that can lock up a browser for minutes while the Javascript runs in order to generate the page.

            But that's just it: the browser shouldn't lock up just because a page is running Javascript. It should still respond to user commands, allow scrolling around pages, opening other pages in other windows/tabs, clicking on elements that are visible, stopppi

      • Now find a popular web page these days that's static HTML. Even Wikipedia sends a metric arseload of JavaScript.
      • by ultranova (717540)

        Nonsense. Aside from the retrieval of a page, rendering said (static) page will be instant in almost all cases, regardless the browser. If it doesn't, either the page is way way way too complicated or you are using an antiquated machine.

        Or you are using Firefox and hitting one of its bugs [mozilla.org]. And of course the whole browser UI often freezes for a few seconds while downloading a page in another tab.

    • by Jurily (900488)

      However it seems like they only measured JavaScript engine, which by no means contribute everything to how fast browser or browsing feels.

      Yeah, we should include Average Time To Root in the benchmarks, too. Google wouldn't stand a chance.

    • by ljw1004 (764174)

      I often use Firefox to browse. I'll ctrl-click on maybe 20 links to load in the background.

      Firefox ALWAYS freezes up. Sometimes it freezes so I can't even ctrl+click on links. Sometimes it freezes when I'm reading one of those links so I can't scroll down.

      I wonder if the freezing is due to loading Flash on each page? I guess there are lots of these single-threaded bottlenecks within Firefox.

      I don't really care about javascript speed so long as no one frame can freeze the other frames: process isolation is m

    • by microbee (682094)

      Benchmark does not FORGET user experience. It's only that user experience is so subjective that it's not entirely benchmarkable.

      And a 9x speed difference is certainly big enough that users will experience it.

    • by gig (78408)

      Yes, Chrome Frame improves the whole experience in IE. Everything is faster. It feels like running Chrome or Safari, not IE. You get the same hair-blown-back feeling that you get if you run IE for an hour and then switch to Safari or Chrome. But the feeling may be even more pronounced in Chrome Frame because you can view 100 pages in the IE renderer and then go to a page that asks for Chrome and immediately your hair is blown back. The page pops into view like nothing you've seen in IE.

      The JavaScript benchm

  • EEE (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Diabolus Advocatus (1067604) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @11:19AM (#29529199)
    Looks like Google are going to try and beat Microsoft at their own game:
    Embrace, Extend, Extinguish.
    • by poetmatt (793785)

      that's an interesting perspective. It will create quite a stir if MS finds a way to degrade the google frame performance or outright refuse it.

    • Re:EEE (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @11:50AM (#29529587)
      quote>Looks like Google are going to try and beat Microsoft at their own game: Embrace, Extend, Extinguish.

      I've seen several people mention this in the last mention of Google's plug-in as well. I don't understand and I have to wonder if the people saying this know what the strategy they're referring to is. The concept of "embrace, extend, extinguish" is to comply with a standard interoperably until you are popular. Then extend the standard in a non-interoperable way, counting on your popularity and the new functionality to drive adoption. Then, extinguish the competition by utilizing the standard ubiquitously and in a non-interoperable fashion so that anyone who does not have access to the proprietary extensions you added, is removed from the market.

      So for IE the strategy was to implement HTML and other technologies interoperably until IE was very popular, then extend HTML with nonstandard elements and rendering and add ActiveX for more functionality no one else could use. Then extinguish competition by building lots of tools and that rely upon the proprietary version and relying on Web developers to target IE's broken version of HTML instead of the actual standard.

      So I'm trying to understand how people think Google is employing this strategy. They are embracing IE, sort of by implementing Web standards within it. How do people think Google is going to extend those Web standards in a proprietary way? Do they mean by building proprietary Web applications that use the standards? Do people actually think Google's strategy is to make Google apps really popular and then break compatibility with non-chrome browsers by making them no longer use Web standards? Won't that be hard while maintaining backwards compatibility especially since they're using an OSS browser? I suppose this is possible, but I don't see why people would assume it is Google's strategy.

      So basically, while I see that Google is extending IE to use Web standards, I don't see this as a likely part of an "embrace, extend, extinguish" strategy. Nothing stops Microsoft from creating a better implementation of Web standards in IE's rendering engine and out competing Google's plug-in and they have a lot of advantages if they do decide to compete. Rather, this is Google managing to chip away at MS's anti-competitive use of IE and make MS actually compete fairly a little more, pretty much the opposite of Google trying to kill fair competition which is what the EEE strategy is all about.

      • You're right, but,

        "Do people actually think Google's strategy is to make Google apps really popular and then break compatibility with non-chrome browsers by making them no longer use Web standards?"

        To be fair, if compatibility with IE is broken (either by Google or by MS) then SOME people are going to realize they've lost something. I expect that IE would lose some measurable market share, in that case. Let's remember - there are two groups of browsers: standards compliant, and non-standards compliant. I

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by natehoy (1608657)

        Agreed, there are no signs yet. Which doesn't mean there isn't a threat. We can't say for sure at this point, but this doesn't feel like it to me, either.

        If (and it's a pretty big IF) Google is going for "Embrace, Extend, Extinguish" then they are still only in the "Embrace" phase. The "Embrace" phase is the most innocuous of all, and is impossible to differentiate from actually putting good product out in the marketplace for fun and commercial gain, in a very much "do no evil" way. Unless you start see

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by TikiTDO (759782)
          Google's (not too secret) goal is to effectively rule your internet experience. It makes no sense for them to dictate what browser they want you to use. All they really need, is for you to use a browser that can run their web apps sufficiently fast, without crashing or running into compliance issues. To that effect, they are releasing most of their non-web applications into open source.

          If they really wish to start "Extending" the features, they would be shooting themselves in the foot. As a hypothetical sit
        • by brunes69 (86786)

          Google has no interest in controlling the browser market. For one, there is no money in it. For two, Google is not a software company, they are an advertising compan.

          The edict has come down from on top at Google, both in private and public many times - what is good for the web, is good for business. The more people use the web to accomplish everyday tasks, they more they will rely on ad-sponsored Google services. Google does not care a lick which browser they use to access those services, as long as the bro

      • by dhaines (323241)
        I'm thinking the strategy may be more along the lines of Embrace, Extend, Extraneous; meaning instead of IE being extinguished, it's just made (more) irrelevant.
      • by rhsanborn (773855)
        I don't think it has anything to do with IE. Google really isn't in the browser business. They're in the web services business. Their lifeblood is people using their products so they see lots of ads. Part of using those products is enjoying using those products. apparently Google deemed it necessary to pick up some of Microsoft's slack for Google's own good. I think it's far less about trying to take market share directly from MS and far more about trying to grow and maintain their existing market by ensuri
        • by Bert64 (520050)

          Google are doing this, because the prevalence of ie has hindered the delivery of web services for years and continues to do so. If ie disappeared today, you would see massive innovation in web services happen overnight, as developers no longer need to waste so much time trying to support such a crufty old browser, and can now use some of the modern feature every other browser has supported for years.

    • If Google were to do something like this with Safari, would Apple allow it? Or will the next update break it? (I know both are based on webkit, and Safari doesn't need the feature and speed boost, but just wondering out aloud).

      • If Google were to do something like this with Safari, would Apple allow it? Or will the next update break it?

        Why would Apple care? They allow Java and Silverlight and a bunch of other plug-ins. I don't see why they'd care at all. They might like it for testing Google's JS engine without leaving Safari. Now they wouldn't allow it on the iPhone, but that's just the no interpreted code stuff they do for security, control, and to keep their phone company partners happy.

      • by jcr (53032)

        If Google were to do something like this with Safari, would Apple allow it?

        Run WebKit inside of WebKit? It would be redundant, but I don't see why they should care.

        -jcr

    • Google have recently made major advances against Microsoft as a whole. Once the fascists and the Bolsheviks are done fighting each other, we'll all have to start worrying about when the victor is going to come after us.

  • by bignetbuy (1105123) <r0ck&operamail,com> on Thursday September 24, 2009 @11:19AM (#29529207) Journal

    So, Google Frame upgrades the engines...on the Titanic?

  • Google doing this speaks a lot to the character and principles of their company...that is if you trust big companies. I'm not surprised to see that IE 8 is running faster on the Chrome framework. All my experience with IE 8 confirms why I don't use IE. It has been very unresponsive for me in multiple situations. I'm sure this is one of many steps Google is pushing for to "speed up the web".
  • by Penguinisto (415985) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @11:28AM (#29529297) Journal

    ...what's the ACID3 results for such a combo?

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      IIRC, 100/100 in the frame.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 24, 2009 @11:43AM (#29529501)

      100%, Fool!

      Proof : http://static.macgeneration.com/img/2009/07/googlexhrometestacid-20090922-225255.jpg

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rliden (1473185)

      IE8 still fails the Acid3 test even with Google Chrome Frame installed. I was curious and tested it out. Chrome Frame doesn't take over full rendering from IE8 unless the site includes a meta tag to use the Chrome Frame. Here is a link to the Chrome Frame page [google.com] [code.google.com] (chocked full of good info).

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TJamieson (218336)

      PROTIP: Prepend "cf:" to any URL in IE to load it in Chrome Frame. I tried to make an anchor but /. eats it. Here's what to slap into the address bar: "cf:http://acid3.acidtests.org".

  • No Wonder (Score:5, Funny)

    by camperdave (969942) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @11:28AM (#29529301) Journal
    It's no wonder Microsoft is claiming that Chrome makes IE less secure. If it lets IE run eight times faster that means that there will be eight times the rate of security breaches. Oh Noes!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Is that why Vista is the 'most secure version of Windows ever'? The slower it runs, the slower it can get pwned?
  • by hattig (47930) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @11:28AM (#29529305) Journal

    The other question is what is the performance hit of using the frame plug-in instead of running the browser natively.

    FTFA: "Notably, IE8's SunSpider scores with Chrome Frame running equaled Google's Chrome browser"

  • by Kirin Fenrir (1001780) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @11:28AM (#29529311)
    Microsoft has issued the following PSA: 'Some users have been found to experience sides effects from a sort of 'digital whiplash' after installing the new Chrome Frame plugin for IE8. This is not a risk we would recommend our friends and families take.'
  • I like the idea of segregating the browser's user interface/menus/controls skin from its rendering engine and plugin-model guts. Even better if there was a standard plugin API across browsers.

    I would love to be able to pick any "shell" and put in one or more "guts," and even flip between them on a per-URL or per-site basis.

    Of course, the security risks of this are not small. But still, it would be cool.

    • by mini me (132455)

      So basically what you are describing is Internet Explorer? You have the rendering engine built as a standalone control that anyone can utilize in their (Windows) application. Internet Explorer itself is really nothing more than an interface built around the rendering control.

      WebKit has similar properties. It is not tied to any one interface and has the added benefit of being open source which has lead to its popularity across many different browsers and integration into many interface toolkits.

      Granted, ther

  • Google is building and expanding its own online infrastructure (see weave for example).

    It's also undeniable that IE has a big market share, and Google needs to account for it. So this seems to be the only reasonable route they can take as this issue doesn't seem to be of much interest to MS at the moment.
  • While IE is our "company standard", they don't care if you prefer to use another browser.

    However! Most of our corporate intranet applications will ONLY work on IE.
    ( *cough poorly written proprietary crap cough*)

    So now with Chrome infecting my IE, I have no way to access vital corporate apps.

    There is only one type of consumer who should be interested in this: corporate users who do not need IE for specific webapps, and whose companies will not let them install other browsers, yet will let them
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 24, 2009 @11:46AM (#29529541)

      you have to add meta tag to make chrome frame work, otherwise it uses slow ie engine

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It only uses the Chrome engines for pages that ask for it, or that the user chooses to use it for, the rest get handled by the host IE.

      The situation where a corp forces you to use IE because of crap intranet apps, but can't be bothered managing two browsers is exactly one of the prime use cases for this. Particularly if they then buy a brand spanking new application which would run 8 times faster in any browser other than IE.

    • by ControlFreal (661231) <`niek' `at' `bergboer.net'> on Thursday September 24, 2009 @11:50AM (#29529593) Journal

      So now with Chrome infecting my IE, I have no way to access vital corporate apps.

      But you have: The Chrome-frame mode is activated only if one either prefixes URLs with cf: (which your corp. apps will not do), or if one includes a <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="chrome=1"> header in the HTML (or HTTP), which your corp. apps will not do either.

      Only websites specifically designed to use the Chrome frame could force IE into Chrome-frame mode.

    • by mini me (132455)

      The website has to explicitly ask IE to use WebKit/V8. Your cooperate intranets certainly won't be doing that.

  • A good idea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ShooterNeo (555040) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @12:03PM (#29529727)
    I'm going to go out on a limb here by /. standards, and say that this is a very good idea that is a neat technical solution to a problem. Google's goal is simple : their core strength is that they are incredibly good at creating and hosting web applications. They have some of the most reliable and least expensive (per unit performance) data centers in the world, and they have some top notch coders that have created some amazing applications. The problem is that web applications have to run in web browsers, 20 or more layers of code away from the processor on the host. There's unbelievable performance slowdowns compared to a native application. Speeding up the browser would make many google applications more responsive and compelling, and google could care less whose browser it is. They are freely licensing the chrome code for inclusion in other browsers. The problem with Chrome is twofold : 1. It's an unbelievably complex task to make a web browser work with every website. Mozilla and the Microsoft browser team have hundreds of developers that have worked for years on their browsers. 2. It's very difficult (and expensive) to get people to change browser. Microsoft wins by default most of the time. This browser plug-in solves both problems. Now, only websites that the developer knows will render properly in chrome will call on the plug-in. Users will continue to use IE8, oblivious to the fact that some websites are actually being displayed using the chrome browser engine. Google applications will of course all properly render in chrome, and they will be set up to encourage you to download the plugin if you're running internet explorer. Some google apps may even require it, much like you need flash to see youtube videos. The only problem with the approach is overhead : obviously keeping multiple browser rendering engines running at the same time will eat up a hundred extra megabytes of memory or so. You know, about $3 worth of DRAM.
  • From the sounds of it Chrome Frame is just a web browser wrapped as an ActiveX control which can be hosted inside IE. In other words, you aren't using IE in the content area. While this is cool and all, the reality is that IE is just transformed into a dumb container for somebody else's browser so you're incurring the memory footprint and instability of two browsers, plus all the quirks that come from running two browsers, one inside the other. For example you probably can't use it in a whole raft of situat
    • by mini me (132455)

      It's not a full browser. It's just WebKit and V8. All of your network calls and any other related system functions are all passed back to IE to do the heavy lifting.

      From an instability and memory footprint point of view, it's really no different than hosting, say, Flash inside IE. Flash essentially is it's own "web browser".

      • Good, since that is what I want Chrome for. I need IE's container to do stupid stuff like authentication to Active Directory (barf) and Chrome can do what MS seemingly can't - render pages quickly and according to standards.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      This isn't about creating a good Browser design. It's about creating a technological work around to a human engineering problem, working around MS's anticompetitive bundling and intentional noncompliance and poor performance with IE. This lets Google create standards compliant Web applications that need new standards and good performance, while at the same time supporting those users still using the broken IE browser. Getting people to switch browsers when MS is leveraging their desktop OS monopoly is very

      • by DrXym (126579)
        It's a terrible workaround, one even worse than the problem. If a site needs or benefits Google Chrome, then why not just popup a window and offer the user the chance to install it? This is after all, what Google Frame would require anyway. Installing another browser inside their first browser, one which has its own set of security issues, it's own incompatibilities and bugs, it's own footprint on top of the first browser, a plugin which introduces inconsistency into the user experience is an awful idea. IE
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by H0p313ss (811249)

      IE is just transformed into a dumb container for somebody else's browser

      IE is already a dumb container for the MSHTML control.

      • by DrXym (126579)
        It's not a dumb container. It's a custom built container in much the same way as Firefox is for Gecko. Trying to shoehorn some other browser into the content area incurs the bugs and footprint of two browsers.
  • Don't forget, installing satan's chrome frame means your children and all their family will suffer for all eternity, in HELL!

    For some reason yet undisclosed by MS.

    • by H0p313ss (811249)

      Don't forget, installing satan's chrome frame means your children and all their family will suffer for all eternity, in HELL!

      For some reason yet undisclosed by MS.

      All the good little satanists already run google chrome on linux.

  • Gotta love synthetic benchmarks!

  • I iz in ur browzr, fixn ur renderer

  • Making this installable and usable under Win2k would go a long way to getting people to facilitate the move away from IE6. Firefox works but tends to slow down on lower end hardware. I tried it today and it didn't install. Maybe there's a way to make it work by manually copying files.

  • The other question is what is the performance hit of using the Frame plug-in instead of running the browser natively.

    Well let me give you a hint: the native browser renderer is a plug-in itself (well known as mshtml.dll). The actual other question is, what is the point of this plug-in in reality. People who use IE can install Chrome today already. Those who keep IE mostly do it for two reasons: 1) it's a corporate policy and their business apps need it, and 2) they don't know any better. So the frame addresses none of those two segments adequately, since Google Frame is not 100% compatible with the standard MSIE stack, a

    • Those who keep IE mostly do it for two reasons: 1) it's a corporate policy and their business apps need it, and 2) they don't know any better.

      So for group one some of them can install this plug-in and render the pages they want with the faster frame, while still using the IE engine for the pages that require it, without having to run two whole browsers and interfaces and windows.

      For the second group, a significant portion are used to installing pug-ins for every Web page under the sun. They install one more and suddenly Google Web apps run fast enough to be usable. Some of them would be happy to install and run Chrome, if they knew what that was

  • "Google Frame Benchmarks 10x Faster than IE8" is a more accurate headline, since no sane rounding scheme in the world would round 9.6 into 9.

  • I found the original article [computerworld.com], but it still didn't have the numbers from the test. What it does have is a bar graph jpeg of the results. So I measured them, and the two scores are 24 pixels and 232 pixels. 232/24=9.68, which is close to that 9.6 number they're giving.

    But, they were saying it was 9.6 times faster. That is wrong. It is 9.6 times as fast, or 8.6 times faster. It bugs me when people get that wrong.
  • like the rest of /.-ers.

    With FF (Linux and Windows), with heavily commented on article, I often get the message that says JS is taking too long to load, would you like to stop/continue loading it? The only sane choice is to stop. In that case, most of the comments become buried and I'll have to RTFA to know what's going on.
  • They ran the SunSpider benchmark. Sadly, it only tests certain parts of JavaScript, and is intended to test whether the JS engine is optimized for the CPU it's running on. But just because your JS engine is optimized for the CPU doesn't mean that the whole browser is faster or that it renders pages faster. I'm sure it actually does, but this test does not show that at all. I wish people would stop blindly repeating Apple's marketing nonsense about SunSpider.

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