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Meet IE8: Resource Pig

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 8, released in beta form last week, might make surfing for Internet porn a little safer, but the folks at exo.performance.network report that the new browser has developed a voracious appetite for memory and CPU cycles.

There’s been widespread reporting on IE8’s InPrivate (aka “porn mode”) option that enables you to hide your browsing habits, but the new software’s resource footprint looks to be significantly larger than that of IE7, and it’s nearly twice the size of Firefox 3.01. In a test scenario consisting of 10 popular websites (including CNET, the New York Times, and Fox News) loaded into separate tabs, IE8 consumed nearly 380MB of memory. IE7 required 250MB of RAM to render the same workload, while Firefox needed just 159MB. In fact, IE8 utilizes more memory than a base install of Windows XP itself!

And IE8 isn’t just a memory pig; Microsoft’s swollen code spawned a CPU thread count that brings to mind the bed sheets at a five-star hotel: Where Firefox spawned 29 concurrent threads in the test scenario and IE7 issued 65, IE8 choked the CPU (a 2.66GHz Core2 Duo) with no fewer than 171 threads spread over six concurrent instances of iexplore.exe.

Exo’s analysis concludes that Microsoft is designing for the future, essentially counting on four and eight-core systems with 4GB of RAM to become the norm, while simultaneously creating demand for the 64-bit flavors of Windows Vista and the upcoming Windows 7.

We can think of plenty of reasons to buy rigs with more memory and beefier CPUs; running a bloated web browser isn’t one of them.

  • jhansonxi
    It's still beta (which is effectively an alpha for the rest of the industry) so wait until the first major post-release update before evaluating it.

    Firefox eats up a lot of memory also. Since some browsers rely on add-ons more than others I would like to see a comparison of equivalent feature sets including add-ons and plug-ins, especially the tabbed UI, Flash, Adobe Reader, and Java.
    Reply
  • gamerk316
    jhansonxi, Firefox doesn't rely on plugins, they simply enhance what you can do. Besides, those plugins aren't loaded into memory if they aren't used.

    Also note: IE8 looks to be CPU intensive, due to each tab needing to be tracked individually. I doubt this will imrpove much (i expected this as well), so i'll stick with Firefox, thanks.
    Reply
  • nukemaster
    BETA.

    May need more ram if it keeps all data in memory to make it easy to fully clear when done.

    With the way computers get faster so often, it may not be an issue for long. Kind of like how a high flash site brings a XP 3100+ to its knees yet uses less then 10% on a modern system.
    Reply
  • ThreatDown
    Googles chrome browser doe the same thing and uses even more processes, firefox is also going to move to this in ff4. It keeps one tab from crashing the whole browser or a plugin from crashing the whole browser.
    Reply
  • dreamer77dd
    I think it a great that software is starting use eight-core and a lot of ram and 64bit. I just don't think that you should need to buy I super computer to run a browser as this should be basic software. I think it should adapt it's self to whatever is inside your computer to a point. 8 cores, 4 gigs of ram, sounds like it should do something amazing. makes you wonder.
    Reply
  • wrack
    Does anyone doing this testing actually knows how a software is developed! It is in BETA and therefore there is a lot of debug code and optimizations turned off. This simply means more resources. Wait until most of the debug code is taken out and optimizations done and then test you morons.

    People would do anything to get a higher page visits.
    Reply
  • jhansonxi
    gamerk316jhansonxi, Firefox doesn't rely on plugins, they simply enhance what you can do.Some of IE8's tab behavior can only be duplicated in the current versions of Firefox using add-ons. Basically I just want them to be configured as similarly as possible when compared to eliminating whining about bias.
    Reply
  • DXRick
    wrackDoes anyone doing this testing actually knows how a software is developed! It is in BETA and therefore there is a lot of debug code and optimizations turned off. This simply means more resources. Wait until most of the debug code is taken out and optimizations done and then test you morons.People would do anything to get a higher page visits.
    Uh, no. Debug code does NOT use that much more resources and does NOT create threads out of thin air. Once optimized, it will have a smaller footprint and be faster, but that has nothing to do with CPU utilization and the number of threads running.

    Most of the debug code is extra error handling to catch bugs, which (obviously) is not executed unless a bug is encountered. The rest is break points added for tracing, which adds to its girth.

    So, running IE8 on Vista will require oct-cores and 8 gigs of RAM. I will stick with FireFox.

    Reply
  • randomizer
    I'll stick with my dual-core, 2GB RAM and FF3 thanks.
    Reply
  • androticus
    OMG! They are doing it again... previously, they would design their OS and apps so that they were barely tolerable by the end of the hardware cycle in which they were released. Now, they are doing this with processes/threads -- assuming a 16 core/32 thread CPU for "best" performance... (well, I exaggerate a bit... but with MS, you really can only ever exaggerate just a bit, no matter how you try to exaggerate big...)
    Reply