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Microsoft Boasts Better GPU Acceleration in IE9

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 34 comments

Firefox 4 can do it too, apparently.

Microsoft will be showing off the Internet Explorer 9 beta this week, and one of the big features touted is the hardware acceleration.

Ted Johnson, Program Manager Lead for Web Graphics of the Internet Explorer 9 team posted a blog last week explaining the architecture of the GPU acceleration for the upcoming browser.

IE9 can be completely hardware accelerated through the stages of Content Rendering, Page Composition and Desktop Composition.

Johnson boasts that IE9 has the advantage of being closely tied to Windows 7 and Vista, and in this case can be more hardware accelerated than other browsers. He wrote:

With IE9, developers have a fully-hardware accelerated display pipeline that runs from their markup to the screen. Based on their blog posts, the hardware-accelerated implementations of other browsers generally accelerate one phase or the other, but not yet both. Delivering full hardware acceleration, on by default, is an architectural undertaking. When there is a desire to run across multiple platforms, developers introduce abstraction layers and inevitably make tradeoffs which ultimately impact performance and reduce the ability of a browser to achieve ‘native’ performance. Getting the full value of the GPU is extremely challenging and writing to intermediate layers and libraries instead of an operating system’s native support makes it even harder. Windows’ DirectX long legacy of powering of the most intensive 3D games has made DirectX the highest performance GPU-based rendering system available.

Robert O'Callahan, a Mozilla hacker, blogged on Mozillazine that Firefox 4 also has the same three layers of hardware acceleration that Internet Explorer 9 does – and it also works on Windows XP!

O'Callahan also explains that full GPU acceleration isn't always the case:

BTW "full hardware acceleration" is a bogus phrase. All browser pick and choose how to use the GPU, and more use of the GPU isn't necessarily better. There are certainly things no browser is ever going to "hardware accelerate" ... e.g. CSS margin collapsing :-).

(via Cnet.)

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Top Comments
  • 18 Hide
    BluntObjection , September 15, 2010 1:39 PM
    icepick314I don't think I could go back to IE even if my life depended on it...


    Thats intense...
  • 10 Hide
    icepick314 , September 15, 2010 1:22 PM
    I'm so used to Firefox addon like Adblock Plus, Fastest Fox, VideoDownload Helper, and DownThemAll that I don't think I could go back to IE even if my life depended on it...
Other Comments
  • 2 Hide
    jaymz1977 , September 15, 2010 1:18 PM
    I haven't been a fan of IE for a couple of years now because of it's slowness. Any kind of acceleration would do I suppose to get it more competitive with the faster browsers. Can't wait to see the head to head tests you guys do.
  • Display all 34 comments.
  • 10 Hide
    icepick314 , September 15, 2010 1:22 PM
    I'm so used to Firefox addon like Adblock Plus, Fastest Fox, VideoDownload Helper, and DownThemAll that I don't think I could go back to IE even if my life depended on it...
  • -3 Hide
    Tamz_msc , September 15, 2010 1:35 PM
    Looks interesting.
  • 18 Hide
    BluntObjection , September 15, 2010 1:39 PM
    icepick314I don't think I could go back to IE even if my life depended on it...


    Thats intense...
  • 8 Hide
    leo2kp , September 15, 2010 1:48 PM
    icepick314I'm so used to Firefox addon like Adblock Plus, Fastest Fox, VideoDownload Helper, and DownThemAll that I don't think I could go back to IE even if my life depended on it...


    So you'd rather die than use IE? lol.
  • 3 Hide
    scook9 , September 15, 2010 1:50 PM
    I stopped using IE last year after using it my whole life because it was so horribly unstable. It would regularly crash on me when opened (I guess it cannot handle 5 home tabs?). It does open faster then firefox (at least did when I switched over) but with an SSD now they are the same (instant).

    Made the switch and nothing has ever made me want to look back really - very happy with firefox and love its flexibility with add-ons and such
  • -1 Hide
    scook9 , September 15, 2010 1:51 PM
    Oh and IE also stopped remembering passwords for things like this site as well - even though it was set to remember them.

    That and the crashing were the main reason I jumped ship
  • 9 Hide
    mjello , September 15, 2010 2:06 PM
    Giving the browser access to directx functionality is the real bonus. Both for firefox and IE. Imagine what game developers can do with that kind o rendering power in a browser instead of using flash or java for internet games.
  • 4 Hide
    tipoo , September 15, 2010 2:16 PM
    Just don't use the ugly font of the FF beta with GPU acceleration. Ugh.
  • 4 Hide
    fausto , September 15, 2010 2:43 PM
    icepick314I'm so used to Firefox addon like Adblock Plus, Fastest Fox, VideoDownload Helper, and DownThemAll that I don't think I could go back to IE even if my life depended on it...



    i use IE only when a site requires me to.
  • -1 Hide
    Benihana , September 15, 2010 3:08 PM
    icepick314I'm so used to Firefox addon like Adblock Plus, Fastest Fox, VideoDownload Helper, and DownThemAll that I don't think I could go back to IE even if my life depended on it...

    I'm the same way. I use chrome at school (only because it "not-so-coolly" installs itself outside of "Program Files" and without administrator rights) but other than that, I've gotten so accustomed to the FF plugins that I could never go back to IE. I won't use chrome at home, simply because it feels that it doesn't need to install itself into "Program Files". I'm not for freestyling like that.
  • 0 Hide
    liquidsnake718 , September 15, 2010 3:18 PM
    yeah great, so what can onboard gpu's offer?
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , September 15, 2010 3:22 PM
    firefox is kind of slow..
  • -2 Hide
    IzzyCraft , September 15, 2010 3:29 PM
    icepick314I'm so used to Firefox addon like Adblock Plus, Fastest Fox, VideoDownload Helper, and DownThemAll that I don't think I could go back to IE even if my life depended on it...

    adblock plus -> HOSTS file manager like HOSTS man which boasts the added benefit of blocking bad sites and not being platform specific browser or os but is weaker in blocking some types of ads.
    Fastest Fox -> depends ionno one thing that replaces it quite so much but i think IE accelerators? what they did with IE8 could replace that in ways but ionno if it's specific enough for the job
    VideoDownload Helper -> there are sites that do that job just fine and wont be an add on to your browser
    DownThemAll -> ionno anything that short cuts this in IE,

    Haha oh well i tried!

    I use Opera personally even though it has problems with sites and crap; just because of out of box customization from opera and i like how it manages passwords.

    IE9 should be nice but overall speed means *** to me that's maybe half a sec diff between rendering of a full webpage for a browser which pretty much is nothing after you throw in Internet differences. What most people want is perceived speed interpolated loading of images and crap like that.

    The speed crap isn't going to get me excited for IE, it going to be UI changes and crap like that, that will get me to consider using it.
  • -3 Hide
    scrumworks , September 15, 2010 3:35 PM
    One thing is for sure. MS cannot do a decent browser. IE6, IE7 were awful and still need to be maintained which drains tons of money. IE8 is slow and crappy too compared to competition. Will IE9 finally support CSS properly? Exciting times we live...
  • 1 Hide
    Stifle , September 15, 2010 3:36 PM
    So MS is touting its browser as being better to use with windows because they made it to work with windows? Whatever advances that IE9 has will be copied and made better in Chrome and FF soon enough, if not already.
  • 1 Hide
    danielgr , September 15, 2010 3:37 PM
    liquidsnake718yeah great, so what can onboard gpu's offer?
    You could check it here:
    http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/
    (which you could have done for months)
  • 5 Hide
    danielgr , September 15, 2010 3:49 PM
    IzzyCraftadblock plus -> HOSTS file manager like HOSTS man which boasts the added benefit of blocking bad sites and not being platform specific browser or os but is weaker in blocking some types of ads.Fastest Fox -> depends ionno one thing that replaces it quite so much but i think IE accelerators? what they did with IE8 could replace that in ways but ionno if it's specific enough for the jobVideoDownload Helper -> there are sites that do that job just fine and wont be an add on to your browserDownThemAll -> ionno anything that short cuts this in IE,Haha oh well i tried!I use Opera personally even though it has problems with sites and crap just because of out of box customization and i like how it manages passwords.IE9 should be nice but overall speed means shit to me that's maybe half a sec diff between rendering of a full webpage for a browser which pretty much is nothing after you throw in Internet differences. What most people want is perceived speed interpolated loading of images and crap like that.The speed crap isn't going to get me excited for IE, it going to be UI changes and crap like that, that will get me to consider using it.
    The one thing I've noticed with time is that people simply tend to prefer what they use because they actually know how to use it...

    There have been add-ons to IE like IE7pro with add-blockers for as long as the browser existed; just a download manager, spellchecker, and many of the fancy things people say IE can't do. The other day I got my firefox fanatic colleage to explain me the greatest thing of Firefox was the keyboard shortcuts navigation; happend to be that IE had every single shortcut he mentioned (but had never bothered trying to fint out).

    Same goes for internet straight video downloading plugins, which are just as abondant (an easy and good working one is Real Video's one, which can be installed together with their free player).

    I personally use both firefox and IE; firefox used to be faster, it isn't that much so anymore unless you have a very old computer; at home I can't see any difference anymore (I5 + SSD + 8GB RAM). IE8 used to be buggier, now it's the other way around. Overall I always enjoy some things better on one of them, others on the other one. A few quick things I like about IE and miss in Firefox are:
    - accelerators and specially web-slices
    - the ability to handle several simultaneous windows live accounts
    - the way it handles favorites and overall customizable button layout
    - coloured tabs depending on their parent
    - process independent tabs, which means that when one of them crashes it doesn't affect the others (firefox kills everything you had at once...)
    - better compatibility with many sites, and also third party plugins that for some reason aren't developed for firefox.

    Since most here are firefox fans, I don't think you need me to tell you what makes it a pretty nice browser.

    Either way; looking forward to the new browser experiences that newer browsers seem to be readying (many of the tests on the IE9 platform preview are baffling).
  • 1 Hide
    kelemvor4 , September 15, 2010 3:51 PM
    leo2kpSo you'd rather die than use IE? lol.

    You have to admire his convictions. I don't like IE but I think if my life depended on it, I'd be on IE like white on rice.

    Fortunately, my life does not depend on what browser I use!
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , September 15, 2010 3:54 PM
    I surely hope it lives up to my expectations. Been looking forward to this for a long time!
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