IE9 is Most Energy Efficient Browser, So Says MS

We all know the benefits of having an energy efficient system. Lower energy requirements mean bills, a smaller carbon footprint, and the immediate benefit of longer battery life.

While the first concern of power management is to have energy efficient hardware, there's always the question of what software does with the hardware. Microsoft posted a blog article on its MSDN highlighting how much it feels that Internet Explorer 9 is the winner when it comes to keeping power draw to a minimum.

Through what appears to be testing using fairly involved and reliable apparatus, Internet Explorer 9 unsurprisingly comes out on top when compared against Chrome 10, Safari 5, Opera 11 and Firefox 4. Mozilla's new browser stayed very close to Microsoft's, making it appear to be the most attractive alternative.

Microsoft monitored system power draw over a few situations: letting the browsers sit at about:blank, at a news site, running HTML5, and running the FishIE demo. In all tests, IE9 was at the top of the pack – though consider the source. Notably absent from the test was anything to do with Adobe Flash.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
ScenarioIE9Chrome 10Firefox 4Opera 11Safari 5
about:blank10.044 W7.821 W9.570 W7.704 W8.087 W
News Site11.042 W9.951 W10.617 W8.757 W8.835 W
Galactic13.506 W14.150 W14.995 W17.742 W17.817 W
Fish21.408 W24.078 W20.817 W21.769 W21.260 W
Battery Life3:45 hrs2:56 hrs3:35 hrs2:43 hrs2:55 hrs

Check out the full test and charts here.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • HDmac
    Its obviously that it loads web pages so slowly that the wi-fi card is primarily inactive, thus saving battery life.
  • tentaxlbunga
    browsing with IE will put you computer to sleep mode oftenly, that why it safe more energy than the competitor.
    Of course.. most of the time, you will only see black screen on your monitor.
  • thorkle
    I agree with those sentiments for past builds, but IE9 is very decent. IE9 has a dark history to overcome lol
  • cjl
    Clearly, HDmac and tentaxlbunga haven't used IE9. It's actually quite a decent browser. That having been said, I'll stick with FF4 - I've found FF4 with noscript has an amazingly good battery life due to the elimination of all unnecessary flash.
  • Benihana
    That's not bad, this means that I can take a 10 minute hit (out of 3 hours and 45 minutes) of browsing time to use FF and enjoy my browsing experience. Couple that with NoScript (as cjl mentioned) and I'll be computing longer! :)
  • opmopadop
    That last table showing wattage consumed while sitting on certain sites makes absolutely no sense at all. How can "IE9 come out on top of the pack" if it has the highest "W" for two, and middle of the pack for the other two...

    I know Im missing something, I just cant figure out watt?
  • RolandVet
    As opmopadop said the table shows IE9 as the greatest power consumer.

    If you follow the link to the source you'll see completely different results in which IE9 does have the lowest power consumption.
  • RolandVet
    Further more, the table show the power consumption of Opera 11 in galactic, whilst Opera does not support Galactic.

    Tom's hardware, I am disappoint!
  • opmopadop
    Ty for the heads up RolandVet, individual charts on the link make a bit more sense.
  • rantoc
    IE9 is a huge improvement over the IE8, it's almost like it's two differnt browsers with the same interface. It would seem microsoft have rewriten most of the code from scrach and done a good jobb while at it!

    Im considering to switch once the IE9 plugins starts to show up!