Microsoft launches its own "Let It Snow" web site

This past weekend, Google gave users of its search site a cool little holiday themed "Easter Egg" surprise when users typed in "let it snow" in the site's search box. Now Microsoft has answered the call with its own little holiday web site that can be seen on the Internet Explorer Test Drive web site.

The "Let it Snow" site itself uses HTML5 as well as other web programming to let users control just how many snowflakes appear on the screen, from 100 to a whopping 4,000 snowflakes. As you might imagine, having that many snowflakes appearing on your computer monitor at once can cause some frame rate reductions. The snow actually covers up the sign above the happy snowman. Moving your PC cursor over the snow-filled sign reveals a holiday greeting from the Internet Explorer team.

While the site works on other HTML5-based browsers, Microsoft has clearly meant for the "Let it Snow" site to be run on Internet Explorer 9 and IE 10. Using those browsers allows for faster snow frame rate animation and you can also hear the "Let it Snow" theme playing in the background. In a post on the Internet Explorer blog, Microsoft reveals that users of Internet Explorer 10 in the Windows 8 Developers Preview with a compatible touch screen can actually touch the screen to wipe off the sign and reveal the message.

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I decided to test it on my computer. Core 2 Quad Q6600, Windows 7 64-bit, 6GB RAM, Geforce 9600 GT 512MB. Maximized on 1920x1080 screen, automatic snowflake generation.

Google Chrome 16.0.912.63: SLOWED TO A CRAWL (no matter how few snowflakes, 2 fps), 1918x979
Waterfox 9.0: 242 @ 57 fps, 1920x976 (Firefox 9.0 is 235 @ 56 fps)
Safari 5.1.2: SLOWED TO A CRAWL (3 fps), 1920x937
IE 9: 1656 @ 60 fps, 1920x934
Opera 10.60: SLOWED TO A CRAWL (3 fps), 1920x960

Edited by Orlando Rays, Dec 22 2011, 2:07am :

Also FWIW, I found Google's "Let it Snow" works faster in Waterfox than in Chrome. It bogs down in Safari and Opera, and doesn't work at all in IE 9 (I bet Google did this on purpose, likewise for Microsoft with the other)

Not terribly thrilled with Chromium's performance either, even at the lowest setting the frame rate is abysmal, where FireFox 11 and IE9 are maxing out even at the highest setting.

Google's "Let It Snow" seemed to work in IE9 just fine for me though.

Max Norris said,
Not terribly thrilled with Chromium's performance either, even at the lowest setting the frame rate is abysmal, where FireFox 11 and IE9 are maxing out even at the highest setting.

Google's "Let It Snow" seemed to work in IE9 just fine for me though.

It worked fine for me in IE9 as well, talking about Googles little effect.

tanjiajun_34 said,
On 250 snowflakes chrome can run on 60fps (Not so bad?) but the brushing away the snow feels laggy even on 60 fps...

500 snowflakes require a DX10 GPU and netbook CPU to run at 60FPS with laggless brushing away the snow.
You mad?

Can't run 100 flakes in chrome, but run 500 buttery smooth in IE9, and 1000 with slight jitter.

Atom D525 1.8 dual core netbook. Pick up your game Google!

Slow on anything but IE. Why am I not surprised.

It runs like a dog on Linux, yet Google's original is smooth as butter. Isn't it about time Redmond learnt to write code that works outside of Windows and Microsoft software LOL.

Joey S said,
Slow on anything but IE. Why am I not surprised.

It runs like a dog on Linux, yet Google's original is smooth as butter.


That's because google did it as an easter egg with very low snowflake count, and MS did it as a kind of browser-benchmark/show of the IE GPU feature.

I think it isn't even new, and they already had that thing before IE9 was released.

Joey S said,
Slow on anything but IE. Why am I not surprised.

It runs like a dog on Linux, yet Google's original is smooth as butter. Isn't it about time Redmond learnt to write code that works outside of Windows and Microsoft software LOL.


Lol!!! That's because IE9 and IE10 are the fastest browsers in the world with FULL hardware acceleration. Chrome, just like Google's EVERY SINGLE product is slow as molasses and a pain to use. Google is an epic epic fail.

england_fanboy said,

Lol!!! That's because IE9 and IE10 are the fastest browsers in the world with FULL hardware acceleration. Chrome, just like Google's EVERY SINGLE product is slow as molasses and a pain to use. Google is an epic epic fail.

It took me a moment to realise that you were joking.

Joey S said,
Slow on anything but IE. Why am I not surprised.

It runs like a dog on Linux, yet Google's original is smooth as butter. Isn't it about time Redmond learnt to write code that works outside of Windows and Microsoft software LOL.

You stop to think, if possible, for a minute that it doesn't run smooth on Linux because the Linux kernel doesn't support the same type of GPU acceleration unless you're running the new linux 3.0.0 kernel? I know this might be hard to wrap your head around but the acceleration is as much a OS feature as it is a IE9 feature.

Also, as others have posted, and you seem to have totally ignored, i wonder why, they've gotten good performance using the newest firefox and opera on this test.

GP007 said,

You stop to think, if possible, for a minute that it doesn't run smooth on Linux because the Linux kernel doesn't support the same type of GPU acceleration unless you're running the new linux 3.0.0 kernel?

$ uname -a
Linux arch 3.1.5-1-ARCH #1 SMP PREEMPT Sat Dec 10 14:43:09 CET 2011 x86_64 Intel(R) Core(TM)2 CPU 6600 @ 2.40GHz GenuineIntel GNU/Linux
GP007 said,

they've gotten good performance using the newest firefox and opera on this test.

$ firefox --version
Mozilla Firefox 9.0.1

Joey S said,

$ uname -a
Linux arch 3.1.5-1-ARCH #1 SMP PREEMPT Sat Dec 10 14:43:09 CET 2011 x86_64 Intel(R) Core(TM)2 CPU 6600 @ 2.40GHz GenuineIntel GNU/Linux

$ firefox --version
Mozilla Firefox 9.0.1

Mozilla must not be doing it's job on linux and OpenGL then since it runs the test fine on Windows. As I stated, it's as much a OS feature as it is a browser feature, other factors come into play.

GP007 said,

Mozilla must not be doing it's job on linux and OpenGL then since it runs the test fine on Windows. As I stated, it's as much a OS feature as it is a browser feature, other factors come into play.


plus how is it microsofts responsibility to make it run smooth on linux? its linux's or the distro's own responsibility to come with a counter product.

it's linux's fault microsoft didnt add repos to windows!!

Tried it first with Chrome, barely scraped 2fps with 100 flakes. I then loaded it up in IE9, and solid 60fps. But NO flakes at all. Odd. Refresh and the flakes appeared. Now I can get a solid 60fps with 1000 flakes, dropping to around 25fps with 4000. Oh, and music all around.

Firefox fares a lot better than Chrome, but still a long way behind IE. No music on FF though.

Awwwwwwwwww, I can see from the comments above that most people seem to think this is a *fair* benchmark - when it's in fact optimized for IE. I couldn't care less how my browser does on a MS optimized benchmark. All browsers have their strengths and weaknesses, it's just that IMHO, IE got the most flaws. Add to that the fact that it cannot be removed from Windows...

Frankenchrist said,
Awwwwwwwwww, I can see from the comments above that most people seem to think this is a *fair* benchmark - when it's in fact optimized for IE. I couldn't care less how my browser does on a MS optimized benchmark. All browsers have their strengths and weaknesses, it's just that IMHO, IE got the most flaws. Add to that the fact that it cannot be removed from Windows...

Many people think that Peacekeeper is a fair benchmark.
It is not because it tests out of spec technologies like WebM and WebGL.

_Heracles said,
Many people think that Peacekeeper is a fair benchmark.
It is not because it tests out of spec technologies like WebM and WebGL.
THAT'S why it gets smoked by current beta and alpha versions of Firefox.

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