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Internet Explorer 11 Will Use Your GPU to Make Everything Fast

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 32 comments

Microsoft's next-generation web browser will use your graphics hardware for more than just Crysis.

Besides Windows 8.1, another big topic at Microsoft Build 2013 is Internet Explorer 11. Not surprisingly, IE11 was designed with touch technologies heavily in mind, given the new focus of Windows 8 and the new generation of devices. IE11 will also allow users to pin active and live tiles to the Start Screen, rather than just a static link. Websites that still use mouse-over hover features, such a Ebay's navigation tabs, rarely worked well on tablets, but IE11 preserves that functionality.

IE11 leads the race in SunSpiderIE11 leads the race in SunSpider

Under the hood, IE11 has further speed improvements. Microsoft boasts that current testing has IE11 performing better on the SunSpider benchmark better than the rest of the pack. Microsoft further demonstrated its speed leadership by showing off a WebGL page with a rotating Windows logo. On IE11, the animations were smooth, while running the same demo on Firefox was very slow and laggy. A similar grass growing demo called Lawn Mark also showed IE11 as being faster than the latest Google Chrome.

While we're sure that the engineering team has done what it can to optimize performance in software, a the performance delta shown between IE11 and the rest is all thanks to hardware acceleration. All the demonstrations were GPU accelerated. Not only did the video acceleration make multimedia smoother, but also the rendering of text, the scrolling of web pages, and the entire JPEG pipeline. Microsoft claims that IE11 renders text 30% faster than the competition.

Other improvements behind the scenes include web pre-fetching, pre-render, and instant back navigation. This means less waiting and could be a boon to those on slower connections. IE11 will also support adaptive streaming, which will make for a better YouTube experience. Microsoft also demonstrated Netflix running inside the browser in HTML5 -- no Silverlight plugin needed.

Multi-window web browsing from inside the same browserMulti-window web browsing from inside the same browser

Just as how Windows 8.1 allows for more multi-window option, so too does IE11. Other new features include tabs displaying in the modern app mode, as well as syncing of tabs, favorites and frequently visited sites across devices -- if the user chooses to. Taking a page from other browsers, IE11 offers a feature called Reading List that can save a webpage for future reading.

Have 100 tabs open in IE11Have 100 tabs open in IE11

IE11 is shaping up to be a browser that will change people's perceptions of Internet Explorer. To reach as big a reach as possible, IE11 will also be available on Windows 7.

Those interested in checking out a preview of IE11 right now can find it on the Windows Store.

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  • 5 Hide
    JPNpower , July 1, 2013 6:24 AM
    The age of the GPU is here! also coming to 7! Everybody wins
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , July 1, 2013 6:32 AM
    This is awesome, I hope Google and Mozilla implement this into their browsers, makes browsing awesome for gamers :D 

    This would also be an effective move on the 360 I think
  • 2 Hide
    Cryio , July 1, 2013 6:35 AM
    "Internet Explorer 11 Will Use Your GPU to Make Everything Fast"

    Weren't versions 9 and10 already doing this with dazzling results?

    More to the point, it seem Internet Explorer 11 will do with hardware acceleration what Opera intentionally wanted. Accelerate EVERYTHING, including the UI and the text itself.
  • Display all 32 comments.
  • 3 Hide
    Cryio , July 1, 2013 6:37 AM
    It's also sad to see how Opera pioneered HWA, yet they are the last of the bunch to actually implement it. Soon not even in their own engine.
  • -3 Hide
    plattyaj , July 1, 2013 6:40 AM
    I'd prefer it if they just fixed it to work with all the sites, or bits of sites they broke with IE10!
  • -3 Hide
    Jerky_san , July 1, 2013 6:57 AM
    Wouldn't this mean increased power consumption as if you have a discrete card it may be unable to bring the power to idle consumption?
  • -2 Hide
    Amdlova , July 1, 2013 7:03 AM
    yes gpu pumping more 70w right on the wall...
  • 1 Hide
    fleeb , July 1, 2013 7:10 AM
    Firefox does not draw 70 W more power despite hardware acceleration option has been part of it since v4.
  • -3 Hide
    irish_adam , July 1, 2013 7:34 AM
    The slowness of IE updates means that even if it is faster at launch their lead will be gone in a few weeks and by the time IE12 comes IE11 will be useless
  • -5 Hide
    Peter Chang , July 1, 2013 7:55 AM
    Will they never stop cranking out POS browsers? My developer soul weeps.
  • 4 Hide
    Cryio , July 1, 2013 8:03 AM
    How bad does it have to be that it needs GPU ??? OMG !

    1) You're talking out of ignorance
    2) You really don't know how all this GPU stuff works, right?
  • 0 Hide
    CyranD , July 1, 2013 8:20 AM
    This article is misleading. There a reason that the Web Browser Grand Prix do not count the SunSpider JavaScript performance benchmark in there scoring. I not going to believe IE11 can compete with non IE browsers when it comes to JavaScript till I see some less bias benchmarks.
  • 3 Hide
    eklipz330 , July 1, 2013 8:25 AM
    a bunch of morons got a hold of keyboards today...
  • 2 Hide
    aicom , July 1, 2013 8:54 AM
    Wouldn't this mean increased power consumption as if you have a discrete card it may be unable to bring the power to idle consumption?

    It shouldn't. Modern GPUs have drivers and firmware built with the knowledge that programs and OS features are going to be using them for UI acceleration and encoding/decoding during regular use. They have multiple performance states that allow them to get sufficient performance while staying at low power during these loads.
  • -2 Hide
    Vorador2 , July 1, 2013 9:59 AM
    Wake me up when IE11 supports the same plugins that Firefox and Chrome does.
  • 2 Hide
    danwat1234 , July 1, 2013 10:45 AM
    "IE11 will also support adaptive streaming, which will make for a better YouTube experience."
    Isn't that on the flash plug-in? Upgrading the flash plug in will provide that functionality to all browsers?

    The official Adblock plus is coming to Internet Explorer 6 through 11 sometime this summer.
  • -3 Hide
    leo2kp , July 1, 2013 12:37 PM
    That's great, but it's sad that they have to go this far to be competitive in the browser wars. I still hope it turns out OK.
  • -3 Hide
    logainofhades , July 1, 2013 1:09 PM
    Sad that IE has to use GPU to be fast yet other browsers don't have this problem.
  • 3 Hide
    lilcinw , July 1, 2013 2:34 PM
    Wait... Netflix on HTML5?!?

    Does that mean someday I will be able to stream Netflix natively on Linux?
  • 0 Hide
    koga73 , July 1, 2013 2:46 PM
    "How bad does it have to be that it needs GPU ??? OMG !"
    "Sad that IE has to use GPU to be fast yet other browsers don't have this problem."

    All browsers utilize the GPU for hardware acceleration with CSS3 and Canvas rendering.

    The difference between IE's hardware acceleration and other browsers is that IE is built on DirectX while the others are built on OpenGL. Why does this make a difference? Because DirectX is proprietary to Microsoft while OpenGL is open. The shitty part is Microsoft forces people to upgrade their OS to upgrade DirectX and subsequently to upgrade their browser. This is why XP users are stuck with IE8. From a development standpoint this is bad because as a developer we have to continue to support these legacy systems restricting us from using new HTML5 and CSS3 features. Microsoft is working hard to slow the internet's progress.

    As for netflix in HTML5 while I believe it's possible I don't see how it could be secure. Flash and Silverlight protect video streams while HTML5 exposes videos to the end user potentially allowing the user to grab the video.
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