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The Internet Internet Explorer Technology

IE 9 Beta Strips Down For Speed 288

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the couldn't-get-worse dept.
CWmike writes "Those who have written off IE as being slow and old-looking are in for a surprise. The just-released Internet Explorer 9 beta is dramatically faster than its predecessor, sports an elegant, stripped-down interface and adds some useful new features, writes Preston Gralla. Even more surprising than the stripped-down interface is IE9 beta's speed. Internet Explorer has long been the slowest browser by a wide margin. IE9 has turned that around in dramatic fashion, using hardware acceleration and a new JavaScript engine it calls Chakra, which compiles scripts in the background and uses multiple processor cores. In this beta, my tests show it overtaking Firefox for speed, and putting up a respectable showing against Safari, Opera and Chrome. It's even integrated into Windows 7. One big problem: It will not work on Windows XP. So, forget the performance and security boost, many enterprises and netbook users."
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IE 9 Beta Strips Down For Speed

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  • by dotancohen (1015143) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @12:17PM (#33588616) Homepage

    ...who strip down for speed, dope, blow, and whatnot.

    I don't go near any of them, either.

  • I'm really hoping that IE9 brings Internet Explorer up to speed and injects some more competition into the browser wars. Still, due to the stigma put on IE, gaining back market share will be tough...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by causality (777677)

      I'm really hoping that IE9 brings Internet Explorer up to speed and injects some more competition into the browser wars. Still, due to the stigma put on IE, gaining back market share will be tough...

      One thing amused me. In a way the story or at least the summary is doublespeak. If so, it won't be helping that stigma:

      Internet Explorer has long been the slowest browser by a wide margin. IE9 has turned that around in dramatic fashion, using hardware acceleration and a new JavaScript engine it calls Chakra, which compiles scripts in the background and uses multiple processor cores.

      In other words, they are throwing more hardware at the problem (graphics cards AND multiple processor cores) instead of actu

      • by tepples (727027) <tepplesNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @12:30PM (#33588860) Homepage Journal

        In other words, they are throwing more hardware at the problem (graphics cards AND multiple processor cores) instead of actually producing a faster or more resource efficient browser. Anyone else read that the same way?

        The resources present in a PC that can run Windows 6.x Aero include multiple cores and an integrated stream processor (also called a GPU). So yes, IE is being more efficient by using the resources that are there instead of ignoring them.

        • by Rogerborg (306625)

          IE is being more efficient by using the resources that are there instead of ignoring them.

          Well, enjoy the screaming from your fans (spinny, not swoony) every time you load MSN.com. "Efficiency" is a big place - where do you live?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Joce640k (829181)

          Does it mean websites can now exploit bugs in the Ring-0 graphics driver as well as all those other things?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by tepples (727027)

            Does it mean websites can now exploit bugs in the Ring-0 graphics driver as well as all those other things?

            How would this be the case any more than 2D web sites could exploit bugs in the 2D graphics driver?

      • by cybrthng (22291) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @12:43PM (#33589060) Journal

        Nope.

        I've had a multi-core CPU and dedicated GPU for nearly 10+ years now. Its about time the web browser takes advantage of such.

        In fact, I would suggest the opposite of what you say. The work required to scale up the application using all available resources makes a more robust framework to build upon which is better for the long run.

      • In other words, they are throwing more hardware at the problem (graphics cards AND multiple processor cores) instead of actually producing a faster or more resource efficient browser. Anyone else read that the same way?

        So why is this somehow a negative for IE to do it yet you see no issue when Google and Mozilla do the exact same thing to boost performance in their browsers? Hypocritical much?

    • I've been a long time Firefox user, and use it currently, but I wouldn't say I'm happy with it. There are a lot of problems with FF, the biggest being the many bugs they won't deal with. FF is not good, it is just the best of a bunch of bad choices IMO.

      If IE9 starts rocking not only could I switch to it, but maybe it would provide the poke in the ass Firefox needs to get better.

    • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @12:55PM (#33589214) Journal

      Somehow I am not impressed when someone goes from absolute last to second last. It STILL is beaten by Opera, Chrome and Safari... so it beat Firefox which is the browser best known for its extensibility rather then speed by stripping itself down... So it becomes Chrome rather then Firefox, but then looses to Chrome.

      oh, and it only work with hardware acceleration, only on windows and then only on recent versions of windows. ALL its competitors run on Windows XP with no trouble AND do it faster. So MS can't get a fast browser on its own OS THAT IT STILL SELLS!

      My god, is our opinion of IE really THAT low that we find this impressive?

      Oh and cue all the MS fanboys who will explain that IE9 can't run on XP because it needs X and yet all its competitors can do it. And run on Linux and OSX to boot...

      IE is that special kid in class, who wins a price not for coming in first, but because everyone is special in their own way. Even if they eat the chalk.

      MS, if you want to change the perceptions of your crappy software, do a FORCED upgrade on ALL your still used OS'es to IE9. Stop hiding behind excuses and repair the damage you did to paying customers with IE6. You got plenty of money to do it, so there are no excuses. Rid the world of IE6 and I might even buy an xbox... Nah

      • You made some good points, so I won't mod you troll. Nyah!

        Seriously, FireFox should be faster than anyone else precisely because it is extensible. It only needs to load the code being used, so it doesn't need to have a footprint larger than necessary. It doesn't need to do behind-the-scenes housekeeping for routines that aren't in use. And so on. A totally modular browser should be faster than anyone else, in the same way that RISC is always faster than CISC, and stacking on top of a well-written underlying

      • My god, is our opinion of IE really THAT low that we find this impressive?

        I don't know if it (not that they're getting better speed, but the how of it) is so much impressive as it is interesting. We still can discuss interesting pieces of technology here, right? :)

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Yvan256 (722131)

        IE is that special kid in class, who wins a price not for coming in first, but because everyone is special in their own way. Even if they eat the chalk.

        Are you saying that IE is the Ralph Wiggum of the web browsers?

  • As far as I can tell joe public can't get it until after the official announcement @ 10:30 PDT. Anyone have a beta download link? Still not on connect as of now

  • Someone with Windows 7, a decent 3d graphics card, and a dual or quad-core CPU please benchmark this new IE9 beta vs. the currently released versions for FF, Chrome, Safari and Opera, using:

    And, if you could, break out the scores on the individual Peacekeeper tests. I intentionally omitted V8 in the list of benchmarks since its so inconsistent between runs.

    I'd do it myself but I don't have a Win7 installation to use.

    • by cybrthng (22291)

      Once the beta is out, i'll give this a shot and post my results.

      AMD Phenom 955 Quad Core with ATI 4850 SLI & Windows 7

      • by cybrthng (22291)

        Installed the beta and initial speed is very impressive. Slashdot runs quicker in IE9 than it does on Chrome 6 or Opera 10.62. Reddit is also noticeably faster.. Page navigation in eBay is so fast that it doesn't seem like its going across the internet.

      • If you can disable 3 of your CPU cores, it would be interesting to see how much of IE9's performance advantage is due to its use of multiple cores.
    • by armanox (826486)

      Machine: Lenovo ThinkCentre with an Intel Core i5 660 (3.33GHz), 8GB DDR3 RAM, Windows 7 Profession x64, and nVidia Geforce GT310
      Kraken Benchmark Results:
      Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 Beta [mozilla.com]
      Google Chrome 6.0.472.59 Beta [mozilla.com]
      Mozilla Firefox 4 beta 6 [mozilla.com]

    • Sure (Score:4, Informative)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @02:11PM (#33590434)

      System is a Core i7 860 (2.8GHz) 8GB RAM, a Radeon 5750 1GB. OS is Windows 7 64-bit, all patches current as of today. It is running the browser and Outlook, plus background apps so not a clean benchmark system but a pretty realistic light workload. Safari is not included because I am not willing to install all the system services they want to have.

      Sunspider
      ---------
      Firefox 3.6.9: 601.8ms +/- 1.0%
      IE9 Beta: 291.6ms +/- 0.6%
      Chrome 6.0.472.59: 215.8ms +/- 2.7%
      Opera 10.62: 237.0ms +/- 1.5%

      Kraken
      ------
      Firefox 3.6.9: 13928.4ms +/- 0.5%
      IE9 Beta: Fails to function properly.
      Chrome 6.0.472.59: 12343.7ms +/- 0.6%
      Opera 10.62: 10114.7ms +/- 0.5%

      Peacekeeper
      -----------
      Firefox 3.6.9: 3612

      Rendering 3050
      Social networking 3109
      Complex graphics 6482
      Data 4819
      DOM operations 3132
      Text parsing 4300

      IE9 Beta:3256 Has compatibility issues with their software to test the system which might cause results problems.

      Rendering 2534
      Social networking 1703
      Complex graphics 7941
      Data 6834
      DOM operations 2530
      Text parsing 4893

      Chrome 6.0.472.59: 10988 Canvas results were visibly different from other browsers.

      Rendering 7051
      Social networking 6863
      Complex graphics 21211
      Data 23624
      DOM operations 8173
      Text parsing 17145

      Opera 10.62: 11510

      Rendering 11900
      Social networking 8471
      Complex graphics 18830
      Data 8937
      DOM operations 10291
      Text parsing 21797

      I would caution against taking any of this too seriously for actual browser performance. The first two tests are 100% synthetic, no rendering at all, and the Futuremark test is rather strange and artificial, as their tests usually are (their graphics card benchmarks are notorious for not reflecting how GPUs work in the real world).

      For useful tests you need something that is testing actual pages rendering how someone would actually use things. Video playback, an interactive game, etc. All these benchmarks strike me as contrived, not realistic.

  • by Aggrav8d (683620) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @12:30PM (#33588874) Homepage
    Javascript engine speeds have nothing to do with quality of code. It's all about how cool a name you come up with for your engine. IE9 is the latest to jump on the bandwagon with their "Chakra" engine, sure to appeal to a wide market of yuppie-wanna-be-hippie 30 somethings. Following this news, Mozilla has announced their next javascript engine will be called "unicorn bacon", and apple have bought the rights to use the name "iMegatron". The future is now!
    • by Laxori666 (748529)
      I'm not sure unicorn bacon would be a good one... you were on the right track with combining two things that are awesome, but I don't know about killing unicorns to make bacon out of them, regardless how awesome that bacon would be =P.
      • don't know about killing unicorns to make bacon out of them, regardless how awesome that bacon would be =P

        But think of the (U)BLTs you could make!

    • "unicorn bacon"

      But bacon is already magical! What could unicorn possibly add?

    • by munch117 (214551)

      Following this news, Mozilla has announced their next javascript engine will be called "unicorn bacon", and apple have bought the rights to use the name "iMegatron". The future is now!

      Nah, it'll be a while yet. Apple recently suffered a severe setback, when security concerns forced Jobs to bin the cutting-edge development branch, "Shuriken Luggage".

  • Chrome has put a lot of pressure on MS for IE.

  • I'm on XP and using Firefox. I use it for security, stability and extensibility. It's been doing remarkably well on all three fronts.

    It's interesting how the browser wars are reverting back to the age old "I'm faster than you are" argument which was all but forgotten in general circles. People used to say which was faster, intel or PCC, Mac or Windows, and now it doesn't matter any more finally because you can't tell the difference when sending an email or working on a word document, and if you can tell,

    • If this thing doesn't run, even without the fancy GPU acceleration on XP, it means the web developers will still develop/test for IE 7/8. So, they won't use any of promised HTML5 features including HTML5/h264 video.

      Degrade politely, browser capability detection etc. are meaningless. They don't do it. Basic as that.

      If MS really wanted to compete, they would make it compatible with XP. Here comes the never ending saga of IE 7/8 updates/compatibility issues.

  • by spyked (1878060) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @12:44PM (#33589066) Homepage
    Am I the only guy who doesn't like this idea?
  • Three links to the same crappy site, and not a single one to Microsoft or a download link for IE9.

    Let's have a little common courtesy here, submitters.

  • One big problem: It will not work on Windows XP. So, forget the performance and security boost, many enterprises and netbook users.

    How is this a bad thing for us enterprise users? We'll get Opera/Chrome/Firefox that much faster! (I prefer Opera, but ANY of those three are a step up from Internet Explorer.

  • Wake me up when it scores 100% on the acid test.
    • Wake me up when it scores 100% on the acid test.

      It already does! On ACID 2.

      Oh, you meant ACID 3?

      IE9 Platform Preview 4 got a 96/100 score, with the last 4 points being in two technologies that MS considers "outdated."

      Those would be:
      SVG Fonts - replaced by Web Open Font Format [wikipedia.org] (WOFF), submitted to W3C by Microsoft, Mozilla Corp, and Opera AB. Currently supported by Firefox 3.6+, IE9 Preview 3+, Webkit Nightly Builds (with Safari support coming sometime soon), and Google Chrome 5+. As of this time, Opera (

  • IE9 ROCKS! (Score:2, Funny)

    by PhrozenOne (1001417)
    I have used every freaking browser that has ever been - IEx, FF and all the Gecko based, Chrome Safari and all the webkit based. But IE 9 *BETA* is amazing. Welcome back, Microsoft. I missed you. :)
  • by VGR (467274)
    Can anyone confirm whether IE 9 supports '<link rel=prev ...>' and '<link rel=next ...>'? It seems like the vast majority of sites (and blog publishing software) don't bother to support these, and I get the feeling it's because the thinking has been, "Why bother with them if IE doesn't use them."
  • I just ran the new Kraken benchmark released by Mozilla, result 48979.0ms [mozilla.com] +/- 2.8%.

    • by edgrale (216858)

      For comparison same setup with Firefox 4 Beta 6 got 17568.9ms [mozilla.com] +/- 0.3%

      Setup:
      Windows 7 64-bit
      Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 @ 3.00GHz
      4.00 GB RAM
      Intel SSD 80GB G2

  • Is not for XP, so maybe unless you are using Windows 7, how much forcing to use Windows Vista for it is an improvement in performance?

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