Microsoft: Loading JPG images with IE11 on Windows 8.1 is 45 percent faster

Windows 8.1 is just a few weeks away from its official October 18th launch date and Microsoft has begun promoting some of the improvements it has made to Internet Explorer 11. This week, Microsoft has revealed that the browser has a new image decoding pipeline, claiming it greatly increases the speed of loading JPG images from websites.

In a post on the official IE blog, Microsoft says that images take up 61 percent of all of the data downloaded from websites, and that 47 percent of web images are JPG files. Microsoft claims that their new method loads JPG images up to 45 percent faster in IE11, on Windows 8.1, compared with older IE versions.

The blog goes into some technical details on how JPG files are normally encoded, starting from its RGB (red, green and blue) color components, shown above, to the YCbCr color space. Then the image size is compressed via chroma subsampling, followed by discrete cosine transformation, quantization, and Huffman encoding processes to get the final encoded JPG file.

Naturally, decoding a JPG image on a web browser means taking the encoding process and reversing it. Older versions of IE would run the first steps on the CPU and then run the final RGB bitmap in the GPU for rendering. IE11 on Windows 8.1 does things differently by giving the GPU more of the earlier decoding duties. The blog states:

IE11 decodes the JPG image into the chroma subsampled YCbCr color space on the CPU, but then does the chroma upsampling and YCbCr to RGB color conversion steps on the GPU at draw time, where it can happen much faster and in parallel. This process frees CPU time to perform other operations, as the CPU is a common bottleneck in modern sites and apps. In addition to the decode time improvements, copying the much smaller YCbCr image to the GPU reduces the amount of memory that is copied and stored on the GPU (a limited resource). Using less CPU and memory also reduces power consumption and increases data locality.

The JPG image of a barn located in the Grand Tetons Mountains, that's shown above, took 31.9ms to decode in IE10 along with 81.5ms to draw the same image in the browser. With IE11 on Windows 8.1, Microsoft says it took just 17.9ms to decode the same image and 57.5ms to draw that JPG file.

While IE11 users should see the benefits of this new image decoding method with no extra effort, Microsoft is recommending web developers compress their JPG images on their sites by using either 4:2:2 or 4:2:0 chroma subsampling modes so that their images have the best chance of being used by IE11's new downloading features.

Source: Microsoft | Image via Microsoft

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23 Comments

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I think IE has a lot bigger issues than slow loading jpegs. I still cringe every time someone mentions IE even with the latest versions it is just flogging a dead horse, which so many people are still trying to ride.

I don't understand, at first the articles says that IE downloads JPEG faster (which seems almost impossible to me, unless they previously had a major bug in the way IE handles HTTP downloads), and then the rest of the article only deals with decoding JPEG, which has nothing to do with the downloading part...

I like how any positive improvements is met with ridicule and sarcasm. The trolls are out in force.

Anyway, sounds like they are focusing on all the little things surrounding web use and trying to make that experience as smooth as possible. Since that is a large part of what the average pc user does, it sounds like a smart strategy.

trooper11 said,
I like how any positive improvements is met with ridicule and sarcasm. The trolls are out in force.

.

No, it is not about trolls (or whiners like some fanboys usually call us) but skepticism. The same skepticism used against "new laundry detergent, now 50% more efficient".

I'm sorry, but you can be a skeptic without attacking MS or bashing various products.

Some people think that by calling themselves 'skeptics' it gives them free reign to make ridiculous posts that go way beyond voicing a criticism. So instead of hiding behind labels for protection, people should just try not be a jerk about everything they post. I criticize stuff, but I don't load it up with attacks and bs.

MS claims they improved the loading times for images, that is a good thing.

If it proves to actually show up in real world usage, then we will all be happy to see the improvement. If it doesn't, then we will be disappointed.

Torolol said,
its not 'download' speed, its 'decoding' speed.

it's almost weekend. time for 'unprofessional journalism' article such as this one to come out from under the rock.

Yeah, it's not download speed. Download speed is more related to that great feeling you had when you watched pornographic images slowly materialize as you were on a 14.4 dialup connection.

Enron said,
Yeah, it's not download speed. Download speed is more related to that great feeling you had when you watched pornographic images slowly materialize as you were on a 14.4 dialup connection.

ugh, that 'progressive' jpeg ...
it does feel like Japanese porn censorship

AGAIN? - Microsoft come out with this same line every time they release a new version. IE must load jpegs BEFORE you even want them by now!

Where the hell is the "Report article" button? This has nothing to do with image *download* speed. Short of ripping out the copper run to my house and replacing them with fibre, I don't see how MS would be able to improve my download speed of anything!

Read it again, IE 11 changes the way the images are decoded "Older versions of IE would run the first steps on the CPU and then run the final RGB bitmap in the GPU for rendering. IE11 on Windows 8.1 does things differently by giving the GPU more of the earlier decoding duties."

GreenMartian said,
This has nothing to do with image *download* speed

knowing Microsoft, they probably upped the thread limit (that they previously reduced in each IE service pack for "stability reasons") to allow 45% more downloads concurrently.

Neobond said,
Read it again, IE 11 changes the way the images are decoded "Older versions of IE would run the first steps on the CPU and then run the final RGB bitmap in the GPU for rendering. IE11 on Windows 8.1 does things differently by giving the GPU more of the earlier decoding duties."

Decoding/rendering, yes. Download? Mmm, I don't think so.

dvb2000 said,

knowing Microsoft, they probably upped the thread limit (that they previously reduced in each IE service pack for "stability reasons") to allow 45% more downloads concurrently.

Ha. Didn't they still have that configurable in the registry anyway? (if I remember correctly..)

I think this is mostly marketing talk.

OK, let's say it's 45% faster? Now, how many milliseconds does it take for IE 10 to display a 1024x768 JPEG image after it has loaded on a typical 4 GB Intel Core i5 CPU? When it's in memory and all? I would be surprised if this improvement is even noticeable.

When I open large JPEG's, I really only notice a decoding delay when they're rather massive; 4000x3000 or so will imply about ~0.2-0.4 seconds decoding time on my 2.3 GHz Intel Core i7. Most JPEG's online are in the 100 KB range... (because they have to be for bandwidth reasons, which is a much, much greater bottleneck)

Northgrove said,
I think this is mostly marketing talk.

OK, let's say it's 45% faster? Now, how many milliseconds does it take for IE 10 to display a 1024x768 JPEG image after it has loaded on a typical 4 GB Intel Core i5 CPU? When it's in memory and all? I would be surprised if this improvement is even noticeable.

When I open large JPEG's, I really only notice a decoding delay when they're rather massive; 4000x3000 or so will imply about ~0.2-0.4 seconds decoding time on my 2.3 GHz Intel Core i7. Most JPEG's online are in the 100 KB range... (because they have to be for bandwidth reasons, which is a much, much greater bottleneck)

Exactly.

While technically nice and all, 'loading' as in 'rendering' a JPG file is already FAST, so don't come here making noise about it like it was any bit of significant.

Give me some real advancements or proof that you're overall up to the other browsers, or is the focus on the Metro version?

thartist said,

Exactly.

While technically nice and all, 'loading' as in 'rendering' a JPG file is already FAST, so don't come here making noise about it like it was any bit of significant.

Give me some real advancements or proof that you're overall up to the other browsers, or is the focus on the Metro version?

If you read the article, you will see the reason they did this was to free up the CPU to improve performance across the board. Yes, jpeg's were already fast but taking the decoding off the CPU frees up resources for doing other things.

Northgrove said,
I think this is mostly marketing talk.

OK, let's say it's 45% faster? Now, how many milliseconds does it take for IE 10 to display a 1024x768 JPEG image after it has loaded on a typical 4 GB Intel Core i5 CPU? When it's in memory and all? I would be surprised if this improvement is even noticeable.

When I open large JPEG's, I really only notice a decoding delay when they're rather massive; 4000x3000 or so will imply about ~0.2-0.4 seconds decoding time on my 2.3 GHz Intel Core i7. Most JPEG's online are in the 100 KB range... (because they have to be for bandwidth reasons, which is a much, much greater bottleneck)

Funny, I see people tout millisecond differences in JS performance tests and decide a browser is faster based on metric that is not humanly noticeable...

The main point here isn't even the speed, it is about expanding the role of the GPU as a co-processor further, which is not only faster but more efficient especially on mobile devices.

The GPU use of IE10 on WP8 is already important, and one reason that a 1.x dual core phone browser is faster than browsing on faster devices running Android or iOS.