Microsoft Claims IE9 as the Greenest Browser

Posted by at 1:23 pm on March 30, 2011

Microsoft has a blog post from the IE team blog labeling it the greenest browser. I see green testing and claims all the time for the hardware and data center folks but this is a new spin on the green movement out of MS.

Scenarios

  1. Windows 7 without any browsers running (provides baseline).
  2. Browsers navigated to about:blank (power consumption of the browser UI).
  3. Loading one of the world’s most popular news Web sites (common HTML4 scenario).
  4. Running the HTML5 Galactic experience (representative of graphical HTML5 scenario).
  5. Fish swimming around the FishIE Tank (what test is complete without FishIE)

Systems Used

The baseline configuration of Windows 7 Ultimate, fully updated with the latest updates and device drivers, and a defragmented hard drive.  The hardware include an instrumented Intel reference PC based on the Calpella architecture connected to an external power measurement system from National Instruments.

Results

The IE team graphed results from power consumption tests using IE9, Chrome 10, Firefox 4, Opera 11 and Safari 5. The first three browsers showed close numbers on an idle system, however IE9 achieved the lowest wattage when visiting a news site and running HTML5 applications.

IE9 shaved 33 minutes from the life of a 56Wh battery when running the browser on a blank page in their testing. Chrome 10 reduced the run time by 1:07 hrs, showing the worst performance, while Firefox 4 took 31 minutes off the idle time.

Now how this relates to real life use is not that great, but it does make a base line. Even when I am about to fall asleep, I don’t do it to a black web page. I prefer sheep running across my screen via HTML5 code. 😉

The HTML5 tests results had IE9 taking the lead and Firefox 4 coming in second. When all of the tests were combined, Microsoft claims IE9 extended battery life to 3:45 hrs. Firefox 4 was a close second losing out by 10 minutes, while Chrome 10 and Safari 5 were nearly an hour short and Opera 11 came in last.

The company also used its own HTML5 demos, Galactic and FishIE tank, for the applications tests.

MS also thanked the platform engineering teams at Intel Corporation for working closely with them to make power a priority throughout the Windows 7 and Internet Explorer 9 releases, and for their assistance reviewing the results of the IE 9 team’s tests.

Issues

Microsoft did not state which news site was used for the trials.  Even the most nontechnical of us know there can be a Hugh difference between the news webs due to their coding, ad place and video placement. Without stating the news site used and having a version in time of what it looked like when MS did it’s tests, it makes it almost impossible for a 3rd party to verify MS’s results.

I also an have issue with the way a couple of the charts were done.  i.e. the battery life chart above has the origin (starting point) at 2 hours, which makes a 38% increase in battery life look like closer to a 150%.  It should have started at 0 minutes to be more honest to the reader who just is scanning the post.

In the End

I applaud Microsoft for taking the power use of their browser seriously.  For many people the browser where they live on their computer most of the time.   But without full disclosure of such things as the news site used for testing and when it was used, a reference copy of it in time for follow up testing and graphics that could be better set up for easier and more accurate reading, this has more of a market hype to it than it really shows.  There just isn’t enough info for a 3rd or  a neutral party to verify their results.

Disclosure

I am past employee of Microsoft and worked on the IE team from version 1 to 5.5.

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