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IE9 Throws Down the Hardware Acceleration Gauntlet 601

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the oh-now-it's-on dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Over on Microsoft's IE blog they have an interesting comparison of browsers with regard to hardware accelerated page rendering. They write, 'One of our objectives with Internet Explorer 9 is taking full advantage of modern PC hardware to make the browser faster. We're excited about hardware acceleration because it fundamentally improves the performance of websites. The websites that you use every day become faster and more responsive, and developers can create new classes of web applications through standards based markup that were previously not possible. In this post, we take a closer look at how hardware acceleration improves the performance of the Flying Images sample on the IE9 test drive site. When you run Flying Images across different browsers you'll see that Internet Explorer 9 can handle hundreds of images at full speed while other browsers, including Internet Explorer 8, quickly come to a crawl.' Absent from the comparison is a nightly build of Firefox with Mozilla's forthcoming Direct2D acceleration enabled."
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IE9 Throws Down the Hardware Acceleration Gauntlet

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  • Instead of reducing the amount of computation we do in IE to make it faster, let's just look for more processing power instead!

    • by poetmatt (793785) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @10:45AM (#31776132) Journal

      not only that, but it's also proprietary, aka directX. So they're paving the way for, well, nothing.

      • why flamebait (Score:3, Interesting)

        by unity100 (970058)

        i would like to call the idiot who modded the above flamebait to come and fix the tag block level interpretation issue in ie8. their rendering engine is screwing up, and since it is proprietary, it cant be fixed by community. so we have to wait microsoft to get its ass up and fix their incompetence themselves in some far away point in future.

        adding a proprietary directx to the mix will just increase these kind of hellholes, due to adding another dimension to watch out for. and since its proprietary, someon

        • Re:why flamebait (Score:4, Interesting)

          by lorenzo.boccaccia (1263310) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @11:02AM (#31776414)
          ...and think of all the new driver level exploiting possibilities!
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by aztracker1 (702135)
          Honestly, I'm not nearly as concerned about proprietary solutions, as long as they work, and/or there are open-source alternatives that do near as well or better. Opera seems to be doing a pretty good job at implementing HTML5, CSS3 and ES5 as it stands, and they aren't open-source either. I'm pretty happy that it appears MS is moving away from it's COM based rendering and scripting environment that are separated from each-other as much as they were (which affected garbage collection on event attached ite
      • by not already in use (972294) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @11:21AM (#31776780)
        We should totally support the new hardware rendering in Firefox for this reason. Because... oh shit, they use DirectX too.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by theaveng (1243528)

        let's just look for more processing power instead!

        To be fair:

        - Microsoft did take time to optimize Windows Vista 6.1 (win7) so it can run on as little as 256 megabytes, where it previously needed 1024. It sounds like MS is making similar optimizations for Internet Explorer so it runs better and faster.

        - MS is not the only one with bloat. OS X used to run on only 128 (per system requirements) and now it requires 1 gigabyte. Ubuntu Linux used to run on my 96 MB laptop, and now the latest 2009.10 version won't boot at all. Even on my 512MB desktop it

    • Instead of reducing the amount of computation we do in IE to make it faster, let's just look for more processing power instead!

      Let them try to get this one fixed, we'll laugh when they hit a wall. If not, we'll find ways to compete and get this battle back on par to get a better experience.

      I've seen some graphs comparing the rendering of a page using parallell processing and it's been a nice showoff, making the standoff between browsers a bit more spicy and tense again. Lets improve the webexperience, I nee

    • by Gadget_Guy (627405) * on Thursday April 08, 2010 @10:55AM (#31776292)

      Instead of reducing the amount of computation we do in IE to make it faster, let's just look for more processing power instead!

      Did you look at the CPU graphs at the end of the article? If you look at the graphs for IE8 [winisp.net] and IE9 [winisp.net], it shows the CPU usage has been greatly reduced by offloading the tasks to the GPU. It went from 50% CPU usage to an average of 12%.

      This is just a better use of the processing power available in the modern computer.

    • by jim_v2000 (818799) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @10:58AM (#31776324)
      >reducing the amount of computation we do in IE

      Apparently that's not working so hot for the other browsers in this case: "When you run Flying Images across different browsers you'll see that Internet Explorer 9 can handle hundreds of images at full speed while other browsers, including Internet Explorer 8, quickly come to a crawl."
      • by noidentity (188756) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @11:23AM (#31776794)

        When you run Flying Images across different browsers you'll see that Internet Explorer 9 can handle hundreds of images at full speed while other browsers, including Internet Explorer 8, quickly come to a crawl.

        Finally, someone is doing this right. I don't know how many times I've wished for hundreds of flying images obscuring the web page content. I was getting bored of just one or two constantly distracting me every time I scrolled or did anything, since they didn't always make me leave the page in disgust. But hundreds, shit yeah. I feel like the time I got one of those five-blade razors. This is one big step to the day they finally bring the Web up to television standards, so that I can confidently avoid it just like I've avoided TV for the last decade. Here's to progress.

    • by jellomizer (103300) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @11:04AM (#31776462)

      That is of course if Mozilla does the same thing too.
      But really who cares... What people want is a fast browser. IE is now one of the older browsers out there, it has a lot of stuff that cannot be removed, a lot of backwards compatibility that other browsers just don't care about. IE is still used heavily in a lot on intranet based applications and you just can't really do a full clean house. But if IE 9 takes a lot of the overhead and has the hardware do some more of the work and things work faster it is just better for all of us... Still any web application needs to be tested to make sure it works with IE, and this will be the case for a long time. If IE runs too slow it stops us developers from putting new features and options that may take the load off the server, just because IE runs too slow. I remember back in the IE6 I had a search screen that I needed to redo because in Firefox the page loaded in 0.5 seconds (1 second on the iPhone Safari) and IE loaded it in 5 minutes... Taking way too long to process.

      So if IE can render faster all the better that means I can balance the work the server and client does, more efficiently.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by VolciMaster (821873)

        IE is still used heavily in a lot on intranet based applications and you just can't really do a full clean house.

        And it's exactly those "intranet based applications" that won't see much (if any) of a boost from offloading rendering from the CPU to the GPU - when's the last time you saw a corporate desktop with anything other than an entry-level, integrated graphics chip?

  • I feel sad. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gzipped_tar (1151931) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @10:21AM (#31775714) Journal

    I feel sad about it when hardware acceleration is needed for rendering, what, websites.

    We live in interesting times indeed. I want my Web back.

    • Re:I feel sad. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by houstonbofh (602064) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @10:22AM (#31775740)
      No doubt... Lets not clean up those overly complex websites. Lets not clean up the MASSIVE adds with popup movies embedded. Lets toss more hardware at it...
      • by jim_v2000 (818799)
        Um...who do you propose is going to "clean up" those websites? The owners? Hardly...they're making money. That really doesn't leave anyone else.
      • by AndrewNeo (979708)

        Massive adds? So that's why the processor is getting used up!

      • Re:I feel sad. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by theaveng (1243528) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @11:31AM (#31776938)

        I concur with your opinion that websites need to be made smaller for those with slow connections (dialup, cellphone) or slow computers. HOWEVER I got into an interesting debate with a libertarian who said all websites should include flash or otherwise be video-oriented.

        I commented that's not fair to, for example, my friend's father who is stuck with dialup with no other options, and flash/videos should not autoload until the user gives permission (i.e. click "play"). The libertarian commented, "Let him buy satellite then. Yeah it's expensive, but why should *I* have to have a boring web experience due to his cheapness?" - Next I said flash-heavy websites like virginmobileusa.com could simply offer low-bandwidth, non-flash versions for those with dailup. He commented, "If people can't get to Virgin's website, too bad. Dialup users probably can't afford a cellphone anyway."

        Needless to say I was flabbergasted. Slashdot offers a low bandwidth version. What's so damn troublesome about offering the same on other sites? Mr. Libertarian would not be denied his video jollies, while my friend's father could choose the non-video versions for his slow 50k connection. His whole attitude seemed cold and uncaring.

        Anyway not everyone agrees with our opinion that websites should be optimized.
        Some think the web needs to be bigger with high-def gigabyte videos or flash.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Thud457 (234763)
          Verily I hear you, English! You won't believe what a arduous chore it is to travel into town since they've removed the hitching posts and watering troughs. Bessie might wander off, along with my carriage, in search of water were I step into the general mercantile to buy a bolt of gingham for the Mrs.
    • Re:I feel sad. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Pojut (1027544) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @10:24AM (#31775776) Homepage

      I don't see how anyone with a dial-up connection could do even casual browsing anymore...most websites nowadays push the 750k-1MB size, if not even bigger. (my own website linked in my sig is even guilty of this, despite my best efforts to keep things minimalistic)

      • Re:I feel sad. (Score:5, Informative)

        by sznupi (719324) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @10:31AM (#31775904) Homepage

        You can still encounter such speeds often, when using mobile access (3G not everywhere, overloaded network, EDGE not attaining it's max speed too, and so on)

        Yeah, it's a bit frustrating...though, luckily, there are ways to make it much more smooth; such as Opera Turbo with disabled plugins.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by wisnoskij (1206448)

        As someone with experience, a few years ago.

        I would say excessive use of ad-blocker, blocking all unnecessary pictures/multimedia, really helps.
        When a page is reduced to just its text, it might not look as good but it sure loads faster.

    • Re:I feel sad. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @10:26AM (#31775802)
      You want your web back? Here you go, enjoy. [jimwestergren.com]
    • by tedgyz (515156) *

      Given the complexity of modern websites, I see it as a necessary evil. We can't stop bad, bloated websites any more than we can stop the ocean tides.

    • Re:I feel sad. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jridley (9305) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @10:42AM (#31776078)

      Start with Slashdot. Of all the sites I visit (not all that many really, only about 30 or 40) Slashdot is the one that makes me wish I had a faster CPU. Clicking into an article with lots of contents on Slashdot will sometimes lock my browser entirely for many seconds, sometimes up to 30 seconds or so.

      I'd be a lot happier with the old pre-AJAX version.

      • Re:I feel sad. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by houstonbofh (602064) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @10:45AM (#31776146)

        Start with Slashdot. Of all the sites I visit (not all that many really, only about 30 or 40) Slashdot is the one that makes me wish I had a faster CPU. Clicking into an article with lots of contents on Slashdot will sometimes lock my browser entirely for many seconds, sometimes up to 30 seconds or so.

        I'd be a lot happier with the old pre-AJAX version.

        Fully quoted so I can agree strongly. Only a few add laden websites choke my system more than slashdot!

      • Re:I feel sad. (Score:5, Informative)

        by maxume (22995) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @11:02AM (#31776400)

        There are preferences to turn on the old version.

    • by beelsebob (529313)

      I find it sad that there are people in the world that consider web pages to still be static blocks of text with some images dotted around them.

      We live in interesting times indeed. I want my web better.

    • Re:I feel sad. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by not already in use (972294) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @11:31AM (#31776952)

      I feel sad about it when hardware acceleration is needed for rendering, what, websites.

      Boo hoo. Have you seen what's capable with HTML5, Javscript and canvas? It's downright stupid to have certain things done using a general purpose processor when a GPU is sitting there unused. Why do I get the impression that a subset of slashdot users wished things would remain unchanged from 1998, back when hate for Microsoft was warranted and their ability to hand code crappy html was relevant??

  • What'll you bet... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @10:21AM (#31775718)
    I'll bet that Chrome and Firefox will have this in production before IE9 is released.
  • by RichMan (8097) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @10:21AM (#31775720)

    What about those of us who don't want to see flying-rotating-3d-semitransparent-glowing-shaded adverts flying across our web pages.

    I want fast clean loads of information. Not bloated pages full of shiny dodads designed to divert my attention from the information I am looking for.

  • Why bother ... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by johnlcallaway (165670) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @10:21AM (#31775724)
    I've never understood this 'my browser is faster than your browser' attention. Most people use their browser over the Internet, with download speeds that make any computer wait. There is a ton of time processing 3 or 4 threads simultaneously to still draw page components. I see pages show up in a couple of seconds, it takes far more than that to read them.

    So a few web sites want to use some fancy graphics. I only see their fancy graphics ... once. When I first visit. Then they are discarded every time as I concentrate on the content of the web site.

    Just make the browser work...it's fast enough already.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by leuk_he (194174)

      YOu just need a little bit of imagination.

      -Playing Quake ET written in javascript in a browser at playable framerates.
      -Those VR implementation (think google streetview 360) are finally working without plugins.
      -Online games.
      -Everything in a browser. (silly but it happens).

      Forget those 1.0 websites with a little bit op powerpoint animation.

      And best of all: you need a good graphics card to do your work. wink wink.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by gzipped_tar (1151931)

        You forgot a functional x86 emulator written in javascript so you can run Linux in Firefox in Linux in Firefox in Linux...

    • Re:Why bother ... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @10:33AM (#31775942)

      I've never understood this 'my browser is faster than your browser' attention. Most people use their browser over the Internet, with download speeds that make any computer wait.

      So you've completely missed the advent of Web applications? Little Web based games, chat, e-mail, social networking, word processing, image editing, and hundreds of other incredibly popular Web technologies are currently limited by the rendering speed as often as by bandwidth. People will wait for a Web app to load, but that doesn't mean they're okay with waiting for it to respond when they do something in it.

      If you just use your computer to edit text, then the same could probably be said about OS's and computer hardware. Why bother improving their graphics capabilities? Of course to do so you have to willfully ignore how they are used by normal people today and the direction they have been developing. They don't develop things just for you.

      • by jav1231 (539129)
        Okay but given that the vast majority of enterprise PC's are not using fancy GPU's and such that IE 9 is essentially tagging onto to bolster it's speed, they are in fact targeting home users. I can assure you it will be at least 2 years before another desktop refresh for many companies so yeah, enjoy your hardware raping IE 9. Sorry, I just fall on the side of make better code. I'm not sure making the browser the applications launcher is a good idea.
        • by dingen (958134)

          Okay but given that the vast majority of enterprise PC's are not using fancy GPU

          You don't need a fancy GPU for this. You just need a GPU. We're not talking about a GeForce GTX480 here, just something that can work with DirectX. Every computer sold in the last decade has such a chip on board.

      • by ari_j (90255)
        I develop things just for him. It's part of my campaign to make the world a weirder place [xkcd.com] by code-stalking people and writing software just for each target.
      • Re:Why bother ... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TheKidWho (705796) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @11:19AM (#31776728)

        Slashdot is filled with Tech luddites. Kinda odd.

    • by dingen (958134)

      Just make the browser work...it's fast enough already

      It's fast enough for websites. It's not, by far, fast enough for applications.

  • Thank God! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 08, 2010 @10:23AM (#31775748)

    I'm often left sitting there for microseconds while the page is rendered in software. I'm sure having hardware accelerated rendering of web pages would change my life immeasurably.

    BTW Microsoft, if hardware acceleration is so important why is the GDI not hardware accelerated in Vista and only partially accelerated in Windows 7 (about nine functions) even though it was fully accelerated in XP? Can we get some consistency here?

    • Re:Thank God! (Score:4, Informative)

      by Real1tyCzech (997498) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @11:04AM (#31776438)
      "BTW Microsoft, if hardware acceleration is so important why is the GDI not hardware accelerated in Vista and only partially accelerated in Windows 7 (about nine functions) even though it was fully accelerated in XP? Can we get some consistency here?" How about no? ...and for good reason. GDI is supposed to use CPU, not GPU...for systems that do not have the GPU horsepower to accelerate *everything*. WPF/Aero is GPU, not CPU...for systems with the GPU horsepower to spare. Frankly, I'm amazed they accelerated *any* of GDI. I was under the hopeful illusion they were depreciating GDI entirely...
  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @10:26AM (#31775804) Homepage Journal

    Really shouldn't the Operating System be using hardware rendering for graphics calls?
    Yes I know that they are probably using D2D or DirectX to handle this but don't the hardware graphics calls in Windows use hardware acceleration already?
    I hope that Xwindows does I know that OpenGL does but over all an application shouldn't have to care about "hardware" at all! That is why we have Operating Systems.

    • by MobyDisk (75490) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @10:48AM (#31776186) Homepage

      I think the problem is that most applications use older APIs that aren't compatible with a hardware-accelerated rendering pipeline. They don't double buffer, they update parts of the screen at random, and they may even use controls that plot individual pixels. Those things are nearly impossible to accelerate.

      WPF applications (and GDI+?) applications get acceleration provided by the OS. I suspect that IE uses good old Windows GDI, which has some bottlenecks on Vista and Windows 7 since it has to go through an extra layer now that the OS isn't using GDI under the hood.

  • is still the download speeds. HW acceleration aint gonna help there.
  • Is there any work on OpenGL hardware acceleration paths for use of chrome, firefox etc. on non Windows platforms?

    What hardware acceleration of web page rendering could/will android and chrome OS use? (OpenGL ES?)
    • by dingen (958134)
      On Mac OS X, browser developers could implement OpenCL [apple.com]. This would effectively do the same as the IE9 Team is currently doing, with the difference that OpenCL is not limited to calculations involving graphics, but can be used for all sorts of stuff.
  • He... It make sense, since "Hardware is cheap and programers are expensive".

    http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2008/12/hardware-is-cheap-programmers-are-expensive.html [codinghorror.com]

    My main problem with IE is not speed, is rather fast. The real problem with IE is how broken, unsafe and unstandard is. Making it faster, will just make it faster to infect computers, show poorly rendered pages, and ignoring standard CSS3 keys.

    Look at this tables, the support for CSS3:
    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc351024(VS.85).as [microsoft.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by js3 (319268)

      The hardware is already there, what's the point of NOT using it? If I have a gtx285 or something ridicilous and it's sitting there not being used that is WASTED. It's Win/Win for everyone.

    • by anss123 (985305)
      [quote]The real problem with IE is how broken, unsafe and unstandard is.[/quote] IE8 has a good track record for safety and is considered up there with Chrome as one of the safer browsers you can use, but that does not help IE6 and 7.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by leuk_he (194174)

      The "throw hardware at it" does make sense for business applications. However, that model fails at system hardware and mass production. If you manage to make a mainstream OS 1% faster, with the use of 1 coder working one year, 10 Million PC will get 1% faster. If you produce 100.000 washing machines, you cannot afford to put a 10 dollar CPU in each of them , you will have to optimize to run the OS on a 1 $ CPU.

  • Or am I not understanding what they're proposing?
  • flying images on mac (Score:2, Informative)

    by sandhitsu (137353)

    On my macbook pro, Safaris is the winner! 60 fps consistently. Firefox reached 45 fps. Sadly, Chrome is is my default browser now could only go upto 6 fps!
    Who cares about IE9 anyway ?

    • by dingen (958134) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @10:52AM (#31776244)

      Wow, seriously? I just ran the demo on my iMac and couldn't get above 10 fps.

      Maybe you're running Snow Leopard? I'm still on 10.5, which has no OpenCL on board. Could it be that the latest versions of Safari and Firefox use OpenCL to accelerate these sort of things already?

  • by unity100 (970058) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @10:54AM (#31776276) Homepage Journal

    for their shitty ie8 treats tag as a block level element. which means, you cant format or distribute long, populated forms properly with the use of divs, tables or any other form of structured output tag. adding "display : inline;" to a separate style declaration into the form tag doesnt fix it either. so, if you have any nested structure coexisting with the form, the tag acts like a or a

    in regard to that structure in ie8. no other browser has this issue, not even ie6 has this issue.

    this is a current hell, that i am in precisely at this second in time, and i have to fix their incompetence for my client.

    so my advice to them is ; fix your browser before doing any 'acceleration'.

  • Won't load for me on Firefox 3.6.3. Did we just Slashdot MS?

  • by Flammon (4726) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @11:34AM (#31777000) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft is at it again. Comparing their alpha software to released software all the while forgetting to mention that the competitors are implementing the kind of thing. Hey Microsoft, you're not the innovation leaders here so stop pretending that you are. http://www.basschouten.com/blog1.php/2009/11/22/direct2d-hardware-rendering-a-browser [basschouten.com]
  • by Viol8 (599362) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @11:38AM (#31777052)

    Their flying images demo just kept on rolling when I tried it with firefox 3.6 on my slackware linux box. I jacked the number of images up as high as it would go and it was still doing something like 50fps. So looks like firefox got their first.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Solandri (704621)
      The point of their test isn't achieving high FPS. It's achieving high FPS with low CPU utilization. My crummy laptop gets about 40 FPS with Firefox 3.6.3, but the CPU meter is pegged at 50% (one core fully utilized).
  • by xavierpayne (697081) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @01:28PM (#31778814)
    As the owner of a quad core with an Nvidia 8800 I am constantly underwhelmed by applications (3D, Video Editing, power point... basically everything that's not a game) performing absolutely mediocre because they don't take advantage of even basic acceleration capabilities of my sound and graphics hardware. What the hell is the point of having built in mpeg or dolby 5.1 enc/dec if nothing uses it? I might as well still be using my SB16. My video card is supposed to be able to decompress avc natively but my NLE stupidly throws it at the cpu making my 512mb 8800 no more effective than a 16mb Voodoo Banshee. I don't care if it's office, my web browser, or Adobe Premiere. I bought a bangin GPU because I wanted my apps to use it. Microsoft can't clean up the millions of crappy web pages out there by releasing a new browser. They can however make those millions of crappy web pages hog less of the CPU.
  • by Trelane (16124) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @02:52PM (#31780232) Journal
    I'd expect them to always have a way to "win" these contests.

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