Internet Explorer 9 beta benchmarked: how does it stack up?

Earlier Today Microsoft announced and released Internet Explorer 9 beta, but how exactly does it stack up to other browsers? Neowin put Internet Explorer 9 and the top four browsers to the test in a head-to-head comparison, but how exactly does IE9 compare?

In the test we ran, we put Google Chrome 6.0.472.55, Mozilla Firefox 3.6.9, Opera 10.62 and Safari 5.0 (7533.16). The tests were run on a Core 2 Duo, T7300 running 2GB of DDR2 RAM, running on Windows 7 64-bit.

The first of the tests we ran the browsers through was the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark, testing each individual browsers performance. The tests were performed with each browser running on its own, in a default state, measuring the time it takes for the browser to run the test.

Mozilla Firefox 3.6 was the slowest of the browsers, taking an average of 2574ms to complete the test, Safari 5 finished the test in 451ms, Google Chrome completed the task in 423ms and Opera took 381ms to complete. Internet Explorer 9 took a total of 898ms to complete the SunSpider JavaScript task in the speed test, the second worst rending time.

IE9-Benchmark_3

After testing the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark for each browser, we tested the performance test for the flying browser icons, setup by Microsoft. The test of 100 images shows how many frames per second the browser can keep up with during the animation. The more frames per second is better. Safari 5 had an average of 5fps during the test, Mozilla Firefox 3.6 managed 9fps, while Google Chrome 6 had an average of 23fps and Opera with 21fps. Internet Explorer 9 managed to output 60fps during the test.

IE9-Benchmark_1

The second test used 256 images on screen at the same time, with Safari 5 still coming out the worst with 1fps, Firefox 3.6 following closely behind with 8fps, Opera averaged 14fps with Chrome just ahead with 15fps. Internet Explorer 9 managed to output 33fps in the test, outperforming all of the other browsers.

IE9-Benchmark_2[4]

Neowin also put all the browsers up to the Acid 3 rendering, a Web Standard Performance test that measures how well a browser displays selected web elements, related to the Document Object Model (DOM) and JavaScript.

Out of the tests, Opera, Google Chrome and Safari all managed to successfully complete the test with a perfect 100/100 score. Mozilla Firefox 3.6.9 completed the test with 94/100, while Internet Explorer 9 managed to complete the test with 95/100.

Note: the above tests may vary from PC with different hardware and operating systems. The tests were performed on all stable release browsers as of this date.

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67 Comments

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"The tests were performed on all stable release browsers as of this date."

IE 9 is a stable release ? Personally i think it's a little stupid to test IE9 against older curently released browsers since by the time it comes out newer browsers will probably be released.

I don't know how come you got 2500 ms for Firefox. I checked it for myself and got 1500 ms for Firefox (3.6.9) and 860 ms for IE9 beta, on the same machine. Your FF result looks impossibly high for me.

tom5 said,
I don't know how come you got 2500 ms for Firefox. I checked it for myself and got 1500 ms for Firefox (3.6.9) and 860 ms for IE9 beta, on the same machine. Your FF result looks impossibly high for me.

The tests were only ran once so outliers were never accounted for.

It also varies per hardware spec of the machine.

As many people already commented :
If you have to benchmark IE 9, then fair rivals would be :

Firefox 4 Beta 6
Chrome 7 Dev (7.0.517.5)
Opera 10.70 (9047)
Safari 5.0.2

And if u wanna test H/W acceleration above mentioned FF & Chrome would be used!

Please correct me if i am wrong!

alpesh hindocha said,
As many people already commented :
If you have to benchmark IE 9, then fair rivals would be :

Firefox 4 Beta 6
Chrome 7 Dev (7.0.517.5)
Opera 10.70 (9047)
Safari 5.0.2

And if u wanna test H/W acceleration above mentioned FF & Chrome would be used!

Please correct me if i am wrong!

+1 !
Also on latest Opera build 10.7 b9048 / Win7 x64, Scores :
Sunspider : 481 ms
Flying icons [lowest fps that was noticed] :
(100) : 27 fps
(256) : 15 fps


Is that so?

3.Why isn't Opera/IE/something here?
Right now, the performance tests are run on a Mac, which means no IE. Also the tests rely on a "shell" JS engine that runs in a command line. It doesn't test browsers. We'll change that, eventually.

OH SNAP! Yup let's cut out one of the fastest browsers out there. And it's run on a Mac, and since 95% of the world uses Windows there may be a difference. Like I'm pretty dam sure Safari runs a hell of a lot better on Macs than on Windows.

/- Razorfold said,
Is that so?

OH SNAP! Yup let's cut out one of the fastest browsers out there. And it's run on a Mac, and since 95% of the world uses Windows there may be a difference. Like I'm pretty dam sure Safari runs a hell of a lot better on Macs than on Windows.

They don't test the browser; they test the JS engine the browser runs. Hence not testing IE because IE's engine is not available browserless (indicated in the comment you posted).

I agree that not testing IE is obviously not ideal but as far as testing methodology/accuracy you just can't beat it. There is no point running a 'benchmark' and publishing results read by thousands that have absolutely no meaning because there is zero control or effort put it in to methodology.

If you can't produce accurate test results, don't test. That's what arewefastyet does.

The tests were performed on all stable release browsers as of this date.

Since when has a beta been 'stable' as such?

Chrome is still way faster.

Run Futuremark's Peacekeeper benchmark, my scores:

Chrome 6.0.472.59 : 11,511
IE9 Beta : 3,880

Not only is it faster in the above benchmark, it still feels fast in general browsing. I am very unimpressed with Microsoft's attempt to improve their browser, especially considering it's running on THEIR OWN OS. Hardware acceleration is kinda cool, but where the hell are the benefits?

I've said it before, and it's kind of a low shot considering Google is actually intentionally trying to change people's browsing habits, but...

IE9 Beta: Favorites button on the menu bar
Chrome 6.0.472.59: No Bookmarks button on the menu bar, whole separate toolbar taking up a bunch of vertical space required

What's interesting is that in the surveys cited by the speaker at the keynote earlier today, only 4% of people use the Favorites/Bookmarks toolbar when web browsing. How freakin' odd that Google would make it mandatory.

What does running on its own OS have to do with anything? It's not like the code for IE already exists in Windows...By that logic, Safari should be the fastest browser in the world on Macs. But I'll think you'll find that Chrome beats that too.

Also, you'll notice that Peacekeeper doesn't seem to like IE very much. For example, it freezes and just skips a few tests. The other thing is, Chrome's V8 engine has been around for a while now and since then it has had tweaks to make it even better. Hell, Chrome 1.0 scored like 1500 on the test, Safari scored 1700, and Opera scored 600.

IE9's engine is relatively new, so even though it does score low its a massive improvement to what IE8's was scoring. IE8 scores like 200 on that test.

Talk numbers all you want..proof is in the pudding...seeing is believing. It's kinda like 3dmark that reviewers use to benchmark pc components with, which in no way shows what a pc can really do.

Haha, it's winning on the Microsoft tests, what a surprise.

Then again, Google is winning on their V8 test, and Firefox on Mozilla's new Kraken test.

Go figure.

Northgrove said,
Haha, it's winning on the Microsoft tests, what a surprise.

Then again, Google is winning on their V8 test, and Firefox on Mozilla's new Kraken test.

Go figure.

Hmm. I got 1349 on V8 for IE9 beta and 578 for Firefox 3.6.9...

Frankenchrist said,
Errr, maybe I've become blind from using it, but can someone tell me HOW to uninstall the IE9 beta?!?
Don't see why you would want to but:
Open control panel > Uninstall a program > View installed updates > Right click IE9 > Uninstall

Frankenchrist said,
Cheers, missed that menu Btw, only browser install/uninstall that requires a restart Win7
Internet explorer is integerated with Windows.

Not to the extent that it used to be, like during XP, but it still is.

Frankenchrist said,
Cheers, missed that menu Btw, only browser install/uninstall that requires a restart Win7

Btw, only browser with the most integration into Windows 7's best features.

Seriously, how the hell do you think IE9 tabs can be torn off the browser window and placed into the superbar without needing to modify Windows files like explorer.exe first? Come on now...

hotdog963al said,
Honestly, if I see anyone using this, I'm going to naturally presume that they're either incompetent, or a Microsoft fanboy.

hotdog963al said,
Honestly, if I see anyone using this, I'm going to naturally presume that they're either incompetent, or a Microsoft fanboy.

So, what you are saying is that even if it proves to be better than theother browsers by the time it goes RTM, anyone who uses it is imcompetent or a fanboy?

That says a lot...

hotdog963al said,
Honestly, if I see anyone using this, I'm going to naturally presume that they're either incompetent, or a Microsoft fanboy.

What? IE9? Why? It's the cleanest UI I have ever used and it's design supports Windows 7 integration not seen in any browser to date.

The Bing HTML5 website coming sometime within a month showed in the video quicktabs in Aero Peek. It's really neat, and full featured. Anybody who would buy a Windows 7 PC can experience Windows 7 integration out-of-the-box. I have Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon pinned to my superbar. I also can tear tabs off the windows and put them on other windows.

They really made an advancement in support for the standards and it's speedy too. This is the first beta preview released from Microsoft and it's a fantastic experience. Soon more and more websites will feel like real applications and they will tap into Windows 7's potential.

Jumplists support, Aero Peek buttons, etc, used to be something apps got but now you can make a website take advantage of it too. It's a really nice experience and to limit yourself by going to a regular browser like Chrome 7 isn't my cup of tea or anybody else I bet when IE9 does it all right now.

hotdog963al said,
Honestly, if I see anyone using this, I'm going to naturally presume that they're either incompetent, or a Microsoft fanboy.

And I presume you are Firefox/Safari/Chrome/Opera fanboy...

I have recently moved to Firefox, and I love FF 4 Beta. I haven't tested IE9 Beta, but I would like to. I wonder if you have even tried this...

sviola said,

So, what you are saying is that even if it proves to be better than theother browsers by the time it goes RTM, anyone who uses it is imcompetent or a fanboy?

That says a lot...


I think he's commenting on the fact that this compares the IE 9 beta with the latest stable releases of competing browsers.

It's nice to see how IE 9 has improved, but it's useless for "my browser versus yours" type arguments. IMHO it would have been better if they'd just benchmarked IE 9 against IE 8.

If you want a fair competitive benchmark, it should have been IE 9 versus FF4.0B6, Chromium 7 etc.

I like the beta, it's fast.

I'd be embarassed if I was firefox right now, considering firefox looks the most bloated of all browsers (though Im not couting safari for windows)

Julius Caro said,
I like the beta, it's fast.

I'd be embarassed if I was firefox right now, considering firefox looks the most bloated of all browsers (though Im not couting safari for windows)

Are you sure that someone hasn't been feeding escargot to that Fox?

While Firefox (even 4.0 beta 6) is slower than either x32 or x64 IE 9 on this computer, I had no idea it was *that* much slower.

Lastly, how important is Java performance these days compared to Flash performance (in browsers)? The biggest surprise - IE 9 x64 + Flash x64 > IE 9 32 + shipping (non-beta) Flash x32. (Two words - how come?)

Keep in mind those 60fps are caped by vsync also not sure why doing those tests on Win7 x64 considering kinda weak hardware setup, but i guess its same for all browsers anyway

"Google Chrome completed the task in 423ms... Internet Explorer 9 took a total of 423ms to complete the SunSpider JavaScript task in the speed test, the second worst rending time."

Erm... IE was like 800 according to the graph.

vaximily said,
"Google Chrome completed the task in 423ms... Internet Explorer 9 took a total of 423ms to complete the SunSpider JavaScript task in the speed test, the second worst rending time."

Erm... IE was like 800 according to the graph.

Only you and me note it. LOL

vaximily said,
"Google Chrome completed the task in 423ms... Internet Explorer 9 took a total of 423ms to complete the SunSpider JavaScript task in the speed test, the second worst rending time."

Erm... IE was like 800 according to the graph.


Sorry, I changed that before, must have not saved correctly. But I corrected the issue, again.

Thanks for pointing it out.

vaximily said,
"Google Chrome completed the task in 423ms... Internet Explorer 9 took a total of 423ms to complete the SunSpider JavaScript task in the speed test, the second worst rending time."

Erm... IE was like 800 according to the graph.


I see that somethng is wrong too. In my test IE9 barely beat out Safari 5 not way behind it.

bluefisch200 said,
IE9 will NEVER get 100/100.
Didn't people like you say IE will never get 100/100 on Acid2? Then IE8 did. Then you said IE will never get anywhere close to getting 100/100 in Acid3, and well we have 95/100.

Sure it's late, compared to other browsers, but hey it's a big step forward for the IE team. And they have said they aren't solely focusing on the Acid tests. Sure it tests stuff, but only a small limited part of the specification.

/- Razorfold said,
Didn't people like you say IE will never get 100/100 on Acid2? Then IE8 did. Then you said IE will never get anywhere close to getting 100/100 in Acid3, and well we have 95/100.

Sure it's late, compared to other browsers, but hey it's a big step forward for the IE team. And they have said they aren't solely focusing on the Acid tests. Sure it tests stuff, but only a small limited part of the specification.

It won't - the IE team have said that themselves, as the other 5 points come from SVG fonts - which are no longer an official web standard and so IE 9 does not support them.

~Johnny said,

It won't - the IE team have said that themselves, as the other 5 points come from SVG fonts - which are no longer an official web standard and so IE 9 does not support them.

Ah, thanks for that information.

bluefisch200 said,
IE9 will NEVER get 100/100.
The reason IE9 doesn't get 100 out of 100 on the Acid3 is because the last 5 points are for standards which have yet to be finalized. So in reality, no browser ought to pass the Acid3 test.

EDIT: Okay, nevermind, it isn't that those standards aren't finalized, they aren't standards!

Mr aldo said,
The reason IE9 doesn't get 100 out of 100 on the Acid3 is because the last 5 points are for standards which have yet to be finalized. So in reality, no browser ought to pass the Acid3 test.

EDIT: Okay, nevermind, it isn't that those standards aren't finalized, they aren't standards!

That's what i mean

bluefisch200 said,

That's what i mean

Acid3 serves essentially no purpose. Look at the scores from IE9's first 3 technical preview--I think it went like CTP1 65, CTP2 80, CTP3/Beta 95.

The Acid3 zealots would have you believe that 65-95 on Acid3 within 3 months of software development is impossible. It's not. It's stupid little hacks and tweaks in the browser to pass the test; rendering of actual websites changed very little in all 3 releases.

Why not use Chrome and Firefox builds that support hardware acceleration? Seems kindoff odd to do a test that is obviously benefitted by gpu acceleration using browsers that don't support it lol.

I know you said stable release browsers, but IE9 is not a stable release browser lol. It's a beta just like FF4 and Chrome 7.

/- Razorfold said,
Why not use Chrome and Firefox builds that support hardware acceleration? Seems kindoff odd to do a test that is obviously benefitted by gpu acceleration using browsers that don't support it lol.

I know you said stable release browsers, but IE9 is not a stable release browser lol. It's a beta just like FF4 and Chrome 7.

For example, ff 4's performance in the flying image test is 60 with 100 images, and 38 (better than ie9, which on my pc scores 28)

Chrome's barely existent hardware acceleration makes very little difference in these tests at the moment anyway. Firefox 4 on the other hand, should have been included.

Heartripper said,
For example, ff 4's performance in the flying image test is 60

Well it will of course vary from system to system, not by too much though. I'm expecting all browsers that have GPU acceleration, in some form or the other, to score high in all those fps tests.

However, I can't get 60 on the flying logo test in FF4 beta5 =/ It's only 15 for me. IE9, however, gets 60fps.

/- Razorfold said,

However, I can't get 60 on the flying logo test in FF4 beta5 =/ It's only 15 for me. IE9, however, gets 60fps.

have you turned hardware acceleration on? because it's quite strange

Heartripper said,

have you turned hardware acceleration on? because it's quite strange

Yup. Oddly enough, I restarted my browser and let the test run for like a minute and then it managed to get 60 fps constantly. Starts off at like 11 fps and then stays there for a bit, rises a bit, and then finally jumps upto 60.

Maybe I should upgrade to beta 6 and see if that fixes it lol.

/- Razorfold said,
Why not use Chrome and Firefox builds that support hardware acceleration? Seems kindoff odd to do a test that is obviously benefitted by gpu acceleration using browsers that don't support it lol.

I know you said stable release browsers, but IE9 is not a stable release browser lol. It's a beta just like FF4 and Chrome 7.


If I used developer builds, people would have complained that I didn't use a stable build. Yes, IE9 beta isn't the official stable release, but the comparison is how IE9 is stacking up so far.

Once IE9 releases, i'm sure Chrome 7 and Firefox 4 will be final. But until they are final, these are the release builds that are generally available to the average user.

/- Razorfold said,
Why not use Chrome and Firefox builds that support hardware acceleration? Seems kindoff odd to do a test that is obviously benefitted by gpu acceleration using browsers that don't support it lol.

I know you said stable release browsers, but IE9 is not a stable release browser lol. It's a beta just like FF4 and Chrome 7.

At this moment, the Chromium trunk builds are actually faster without 3D acceleration enabled, well in benchmarks anyway. Chrome's 3D acceleration still has a long way to go.

Subject Delta said,

At this moment, the Chromium trunk builds are actually faster without 3D acceleration enabled, well in benchmarks anyway. Chrome's 3D acceleration still has a long way to go.

FF4 Beta 6 was constantly hitting 60 FPS for me even when i increased the number of images to 196 but I am sure that has something to do with ATI 5870 being in my laptop

Andrew Lyle said,

Once IE9 releases, i'm sure Chrome 7 and Firefox 4 will be final. But until they are final, these are the release builds that are generally available to the average user.

Firefox 4 Beta 6 is NOT a developer build, it's a *public beta* just like all the previous IE9 Previews were. is it that hard to point your browser to http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/beta/ and start using it?

Heartripper said,
both firefox 4 and ie9 are on beta-stage. So why for IE you used 9th and for firefox 3.6.9th?
maybe because those are the latest beta versions for those browsers [public available]?

astroX said,
maybe because those are the latest beta versions for those browsers [public available]?

Latest Firefox beta is Firefox 4 BETA 6, not 3.6.9 =/ Then again, they didn't use the latest Opera or Chrome builds either.

astroX said,
maybe because those are the latest beta versions for those browsers [public available]?

there is no ff release which is not pubicly avaiable. And, as Johnny said, FF 4b6 is the latest beta.

~Johnny said,

Latest Firefox beta is Firefox 4 BETA 6, not 3.6.9 =/ Then again, they didn't use the latest Opera or Chrome builds either.


Fx 4 Beta 6 would do slightly better on the above benchmarks than 3.6.9 - and Fx 4 Beta 7 will carry some huge improvements, closing the gap down to Chrome and Safari a lot thanks to the revised JS engine that's forthcoming in beta 7 / feature freeze.

I think the final Firefox 4 version will be placed around the 500 ms mark up there, on the Sunspider test.

Heartripper said,
both firefox 4 and ie9 are on beta-stage. So why for IE you used 9th and for firefox 3.6.9th?

Because they want to compare it with browser versions that most people already have real world experience with so as to make it easier to understand what these results really mean.

Heartripper said,
both firefox 4 and ie9 are on beta-stage. So why for IE you used 9th and for firefox 3.6.9th?

because they want IE9 to appear good. maybe another MS @ss licking case.