Microsoft study finds IE the most energy efficient browser

Microsoft loves its Internet Explorer browser and has no problem showing off to the world what it is capable of doing. We have seen the browser enable you to edit videos on the web and explore Mt. Everest, but this time around, IE is championing a new title as the most energy efficient browser on Windows 8.

If you are like us, you didn’t know that today is ‘World Environment Day.' That links up nicely to the IE announcement about how the browser is most efficient on Windows 8 when compared to the market rivals. The study was conducted by the Center for Sustainable Energy Systems at Fraunhofer US and noted that IE, when compared to Firefox and Chrome, uses 18% less energy.

Importantly, this study was conducted on behalf of Microsoft, so take that into consideration when digesting the information.

The research team tested IE 10, Chrome 26, and Firefox 21 for their baselines and concluded that IE used significantly less energy than the other browsers. In short, if you use IE, you will use less power which should in theory give you longer battery life on your machine. Based on the report, switching to IE is an easy way for you to be slightly more conscious of the environment and can help to reduce your global footprint on a daily basis. 

Source: Microsoft

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coincidentally. it is also the browser with the least porn-related activities. which satisfactorily ejaculates, or rather, dispels that 'most energy efficient' claim.

Actually this is true, but only if you have IE without any add-ons, plugins, etc… but if you start installing plugins like Adobes Reader, Lync, OneNote, etc... It uses more power to bring those up, and if you don't know what you are doing and end up with 10 different toolbars then IE will never work fine.
That's why when I'm on battery I make sure I only run IE x64, that way nothing (well almost) can slow it down.

SaT.161 said,
Actually this is true, but only if you have IE without any add-ons, plugins, etc… but if you start installing plugins like Adobes Reader, Lync, OneNote, etc... It uses more power to bring those up, and if you don't know what you are doing and end up with 10 different toolbars then IE will never work fine.
That's why when I'm on battery I make sure I only run IE x64, that way nothing (well almost) can slow it down.

about plugins, the same can be said about any browser.
if you install a lot of apps on your computer, chances are that both Firefox and chrome will be affected by lots of toolbars or extension that will display ads everywhere and slow down your browser.
including on osx.

SaT.161 said,
Actually this is true, but only if you have IE without any add-ons, plugins, etc… but if you start installing plugins like Adobes Reader, Lync, OneNote, etc... It uses more power to bring those up, and if you don't know what you are doing and end up with 10 different toolbars then IE will never work fine.
That's why when I'm on battery I make sure I only run IE x64, that way nothing (well almost) can slow it down.

It is easier to just select "Balanced" as your laptop should already be on by default for Power Options, and then use the Windows 8 App version of IE10.

Using the x64bit version of IE no longer has the protections of less addon offerings that it once did in the XP and Vista era.

It is also important for people to just outright reject addons and keep them turned off. With the exception of Flash on Windows 7 and a few Microsoft Office/account related addons, nothing should be running, an don Windows 8 the flash addon is also no longer necessary.

(Things like Adblocking is literally built in to IE9/10 and Windows 8 brings other features like spellcheck and the ability to share content and data.)

Too bad it sucks compared to Chrome or any other browser I've used on Windows. Just browsing something as simple as Tumblr in Internet Explorer 10 (both Desktop and Metro) is frustrating. GIFs bring it to a halt. Some embedded videos won't play. The videos that do play are green.

Ugh. Not fun at all.

SaT.161 said,
it seems more like you have a problem with your internet connection

Strange b/c I have no problems in OS X. Or any other browser in Windows. Howbeit, other browsers tend to get bogged down in Windows. OS X? Smooth sailing.

Why's that?

srprimeaux said,

Strange b/c I have no problems in OS X. Or any other browser in Windows. Howbeit, other browsers tend to get bogged down in Windows. OS X? Smooth sailing.

Why's that?

no such problem with IE here.

I guess you have installed some adware on your computer and it has installed some buggy toolbar/addons killing IE's performance.

link8506 said,

no such problem with IE here.

I guess you have installed some adware on your computer and it has installed some buggy toolbar/addons killing IE's performance.

Nope. It only happens on certain websites. If it were adware related, I'd expect a consistent issue. It's IE's inability to render things correctly.

srprimeaux said,

Nope. It only happens on certain websites. If it were adware related, I'd expect a consistent issue. It's IE's inability to render things correctly.

Your 'reasoning' of why it must be a problem with IE is fallacious, lacking relevant information.

IE version? OS versions? Win8 App or Desktop version of WP7/8?

Literally over half a billion people use IE9/10 to browse the internet, which makes your personal anecdotal evidence less likely to believe, considering they are not having your issues.

There are some rather important HTML5/CSS3 and other 'standards' based graphical rendering tests and performance testing that show IE10 to lead when it comes to actually W3C standards. (Microsoft's own IEtestDrive demonstrates a lot of key problems in Chrome and Firefox for rendering inconsistencies in additional to demonstrating a performance difference of 1000 x between Chrome/Firefox and IE10)

"Microsoft study" - seriously, I wasn't expecting any other outcome (other than seeing IE at the top).

techbeck said,
Other browser can do more.Only time I do use IE is to test sites.

Are you intentionally trying to be funny as your grammar suggests? If not, you are offering a talking point type opinion.

For example, I can reference a few HTML5 standard sites that work properly at 60fps on IE9/10, yet run slowly and/or fail to work on Chrome/Firefox. In my perspective, IE9/10 does more and does it faster.

Mobius Enigma said,

Are you intentionally trying to be funny as your grammar suggests? If not, you are offering a talking point type opinion.

For example, I can reference a few HTML5 standard sites that work properly at 60fps on IE9/10, yet run slowly and/or fail to work on Chrome/Firefox. In my perspective, IE9/10 does more and does it faster.

I use addons, extensions, and like to customize my browser. Things IE cannot do.

And yes, test sites. You can create a site and it may work well in FF, but have issues in IE. I have all the major browsers loaded, but only really use FF.

techbeck said,

I use addons, extensions, and like to customize my browser. Things IE cannot do.

And yes, test sites. You can create a site and it may work well in FF, but have issues in IE. I have all the major browsers loaded, but only really use FF.

Less extensions are needed on IE, for example site/Ad blockers, as the protection list features provide this functionality.

I agree that customization is not always bad, but there is a threshold that it creates confusion for general users in addition to being a security concern.

Remember IE4,IE5,IE6 were lampooned for being 'too customizable', with skinning, customizable toolbars. They were also hurt and heckled for too many addin options that were a detriment to security. The same argument can be made today against Firefox and Chrome, as their plugin technologies are still a major security concern and that is even considering Chrome's limited attempt to use the Microsoft brokering techniques that was added in IE7/Vista to provide a layer of protection between OS/browser/addins with the sandbox model.

Having tons of 'installable' 3rd party addins (software) is by its nature a security risk, as even with strong brokering and sandboxing they expose the browser and its content to local native code that has few restrictions.

Providing various layers of customizability are a noble effort, but when only a few percent of users take advantage of these features they are no longer worth the extra develop time and security concerns. When opening up customizable options to 3rd parties it also creates usability inconsistencies that harm the majority of users, and it also degrades performance. (And this includes examples like Microsoft's own Bing Bar and other showcased browser addins.)

rippleman said,
at that rate you will save about 25 cents a year if you switch to IE

I think the point is $.25 * 1.3b is roughly 315 million dollars in saved energy. Because IE.

gonchuki said,
graphs that have a non-zero origin on the Y axis make me bang my head against the wall.

And why is that? When there is no significant data below a certain number why show it? Haven't you ever seen a graph where the y-axis line zig-zags? It's the same thing.

gonchuki said,
graphs that have a non-zero origin on the Y axis make me bang my head against the wall.

This is an traditional specious argument, that is fun for intellectual arguments, but in reality does not negate the impression or validity of the data.

mnl1121 said,

And why is that? When there is no significant data below a certain number why show it? Haven't you ever seen a graph where the y-axis line zig-zags? It's the same thing.


because it makes a 0.8w difference look like it was 5 or 10 watts.

These graphs have a purposefully offset origin to magnify a tiny difference, making what was a 3.7% difference visually look like 37.5% (16px IE, 22px Firefox), or the 17.5% on the HTML5 video look like 70% (48px vs 82px).

I've begun using IE10 on my Windows 8 hybrid. It's the only one that works well with a touch screen and the lower power usage is icing on the cake. Not only does the battery last longer, but the fan can stay off longer and spin slower (quieter) than with Chrome. Chrome has atrocious touch screen support on Windows 8. It's pretty obvious Google is trying to sabotage any modern Microsoft platform.

mrp04 said,
I've begun using IE10 on my Windows 8 hybrid. It's the only one that works well with a touch screen and the lower power usage is icing on the cake. Not only does the battery last longer, but the fan can stay off longer and spin slower (quieter) than with Chrome. Chrome has atrocious touch screen support on Windows 8. It's pretty obvious Google is trying to sabotage any modern Microsoft platform.

true, scrolling is awfully laggy on chrome compared to IE10 when using an atom tablet.

bviktor said,
The only thing that prevents me from switching is the lack of extensions.

extensions are a thing of the past.

the future is about sandboxed apps and OSes that no longer allows unrestricted apps. (i.e: windows RT, iOS, WP)
why the hell would Microsoft allow people to expose themselves by letting them install potentially malicious extensions in their browsers?

browser extensions have the power to steal your passwords, sessions ID (to bypass things such as two factors authentication) and send your whole history to a 3rd party (among other things).

link8506 said,

extensions are a thing of the past.

the future is about sandboxed apps and OSes that no longer allows unrestricted apps. (i.e: windows RT, iOS, WP)
why the hell would Microsoft allow people to expose themselves by letting them install potentially malicious extensions in their browsers?

browser extensions have the power to steal your passwords, sessions ID (to bypass things such as two factors authentication) and send your whole history to a 3rd party (among other things).

Let me fix this for you:

why the hell would Microsoft allow people to expose themselves by letting them install potentially malicious apps onto their computer?

You do realize extensions can have permissions too? And run sandboxed.

fobban said,

Let me fix this for you:


You do realize extensions can have permissions too? And run sandboxed.

that doesn't work in real life, because malicious extensions will always ask the highest level of privilege, and users will always accept the setup no matter what the extension is asking. Because you know, these video downloaders extensions are so much more important than keeping web activity and passwords private...

btw, many software automatically install extension and bypass the confirmation mechanism.

that's how I end up seeing chrome users with flash ads in google search results. Thanks to the miracle of extensions.

link8506 said,

that doesn't work in real life, because malicious extensions will always ask the highest level of privilege, and users will always accept the setup no matter what the extension is asking. Because you know, these video downloaders extensions are so much more important than keeping web activity and passwords private...

btw, many software automatically install extension and bypass the confirmation mechanism.

that's how I end up seeing chrome users with flash ads in google search results. Thanks to the miracle of extensions.

And why can't the same be said about malicious apps, that they will ask for the highest level of privilege?

If you can sideload a browser extension without user consent, then there's a problem. Chrome had a bug with this a while back, I don't know how other browsers handle it. But simply saying we shouldn't have extensions because they potentially could be harmful is like saying we want Windows 8 without an app store.

link8506 said,
extensions are a thing of the past.

You can (and you could since ~forever) have 3rd party plugins (i.e. native DLLs) for IE - from random obscure sites. How the hell is this more secure than a central repo maintained, verified and filtered by MS? (just like with other browser vendors)

To this day, I'm just unable to have a freaking free ad blocker in IE. Adblock Plus alone has been downloaded over 200 million times, and this is just ONE of the several thousand extensions. And you're saying there's no need for them? Turn off your reality distortion field please.

Apps will not replace browsers. It's much less effective to switch between apps all the time. I hate all these load times and suspend-resumes. It'd drive you crazy very soon if you'd have to do all your online activities on your desktop by continuously switching between freaking apps. In fact, it's going in the opposite direction: most newcomers develop a mobile-friendly site instead of an individual app. It's much more accessible and much less of an effort for all parties involved.

Edited by bviktor, Jun 6 2013, 6:10pm :

bviktor said,

You can (and you could since ~forever) have 3rd party plugins (i.e. native DLLs) for IE - from random obscure sites. How the hell is this more secure than a central repo maintained, verified and filtered by MS? (just like with other browser vendors)

To this day, I'm just unable to have a freaking free ad blocker in IE. Adblock Plus alone has been downloaded over 200 million times, and this is just ONE of the several thousand extensions. And you're saying there's no need for them? Turn off your reality distortion field please.

Apps will not replace browsers. It's much less effective to switch between apps all the time. I hate all these load times and suspend-resumes. It'd drive you crazy very soon if you'd have to do all your online activities on your desktop by continuously switching between freaking apps. In fact, it's going in the opposite direction: most newcomers develop a mobile-friendly site instead of an individual app. It's much more accessible and much less of an effort for all parties involved.

You are negating your own point...

On IE9/10 - Tools - Manage Addons
Tracking Protection - Get a Tracking Protection List Online...

There you can select several from traditional 'maintained' lists that protect privacy, block Google and the EasyPrivacy lists that are used by Adblock Plus.

This is BUILT into IE9/10 and DOES NOT REQUIRE an additional Addon/Extenstion.

(Everyone arguing for extensions for Privacy lists or Adblocking lists still do not realize the functionality of these 'plugins/addons' is built into the browser already.)

The only other credible 'addon/plugin' requests like Spell check or various forms of site sharing are also built into Windows 8. (Using the Share functionality of Windows 8, IE10 can provide URL/text to other software just as normal extensions would work.)

/me hugs Mobius. Yes, you're right, I didn't realize. Should I have? "Protection list", seriously? And no, 3rd party IE plugins != extensions in the way they are provided with Firefox/Chrome/Opera.

Anyway, I was googling a lot about adblocking in IE, obviously I haven't found any post mentioning this feature so far.

Thanks dude, I'm gonna promote this method with a blogpost. Now the IE evaluation period begins...

First of all, any idea about tab groups in IE?

Well, no, we haven't anything better to do. 1 PC using less power won't make a difference, but remember dat IE is installed on over 1.3 billion PCs as the standard browser! The smallest improvement in power usage will have a massive effect on the environment.

Sszecret said,
I wonder, where have I heard this before? Right... http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ie/arc...th-internet-explorer-9.aspx
Look, I'm not saying this isn't good, but do we really have nothing better to do than measure the power consumption of a browser?

if you get 10 hours of battery life using IE10 on an atom tablet rather than 9 hours using another browser, then yes, it's pretty important to let users know that before letting them downgrade their experience to chrome/firefox.

chrisj1968 said,
Hey!, my browser is the best! it is the most energy efficient!, I did the study myself
Because the study is done by Microsoft, it isn't true? Yes of course they won't release results if it works against them, but then ther wouldn't be any studies at all.

there are ways to be less subtle than doctoring the results. like what methodology did the research firm use? what did they test? did they use samples that take advantage of things IE supports but the others don't? etc.

although in the grand scheme of things the power usage of the browser is probably negligible anyways.

Just another case of when Google releases a study saying they are the best, questioning it receives comments that you do not know what you are talking about, a troll, and even though it was Google funded it is completely correct. But if Microsoft funds a study, and it should not be considered because it is completely fake.

http://www.neowin.net/news/fir...ding-to-google-funded-study


Edit: Of course, you also believed an article that claimed that BillG is purposely poising children in Africa because he is an eugenicist and it is all part of the plan to take over the world. That you believed, but that IE uses the least amount of batter, that should not be believed and needs to be reviewed by an 3rd part before you will consider it.

Edited by StephenBratz, Jun 5 2013, 6:07pm :

chrisj1968 said,
Hey!, my browser is the best! it is the most energy efficient!, I did the study myself

other independent reviews have showed that IE was more energy efficient than other browsers in the past.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/2834/3

and considering that on most systems, IE uses less CPU time to render the same thing (web pages, flash videos) than other browsers, the consequence on power usage is not surprising.
furthermore, MS explained that with ie9 they did a significant effort to let the CPU sleep for longer periods of time when running scripts, rather than interrupting cpu power states too often, which should lead to better power savings.

link8506 said,
other independent reviews have showed that IE was more energy efficient than other browsers in the past.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/2834/3

and considering that on most systems, IE uses less CPU time to render the same thing (web pages, flash videos) than other browsers, the consequence on power usage is not surprising.


That was in 2009 when almost every browser listed had different scripting engines, plugin engines etc... Also IE has always offloaded more to the OS systems (because they are made by them where some browsers think it's more efficient other ways) so measure CPU time is a bit irrelevant.

All you have to do is read this study to the part which talks about the operating system settings (which were provided by MS) to find out why IE won. The test was doctored in their favour by changing settings that IE uses and far from the default found in windows.

Phalanger said,

That was in 2009 when almost every browser listed had different scripting engines, plugin engines etc... Also IE has always offloaded more to the OS systems (because they are made by them where some browsers think it's more efficient other ways) so measure CPU time is a bit irrelevant.

All you have to do is read this study to the part which talks about the operating system settings (which were provided by MS) to find out why IE won. The test was doctored in their favour by changing settings that IE uses and far from the default found in windows.

Using the Laptop DEFAULT "Balanced" settings that IE references to adjust power consumption is NOT DOCTORING the results. If you truly believe this, you lack of understanding is embarrassing.

IE's use of the OS in relation to CPU rendering has never actually been true. When this 'rumor' started was with IE4 and Windows98 where the IE HTML rendering engine was 'preloaded' with File Explorer. Thus reducing its startup time. PERIOD. This NEVER affected CPU usage, nor truly gave it any advantage beyond a few 'ms' in load times on a Pentium computer in 1998.

This ended in XP, and with the IE7 sandboxing in Vista, actually increasing the browser load time in comparison and any 'OS" correlated advantages.

More importantly, preloading IE and Load times are also completely IRRELEVANT to CPU usage for rendering.


The Reason IE has a lower CPU utilization in rendering can be explained if you look up the building the of IE9. IE9/10 async threads differently, and 'compiles' even non script content, treating it more like code and running the content like native software, even if it s a plain HTML page. IE9/10 also utilize various GP-GPU functionality, which is why IE9/10 were not available for XP, as the Graphics model (XPDM) in Windows XP cannot run IE9/10.

These performance features of IE use the advanced functionality of Windows 7/8's graphics subsystem, things like GP-GPU threading and Direct2D; however, this functionality is ALSO available to Chrome, Firefox or any software written for Windows 7/8.

IE9/10 does use the GPU for processing and rendering in addition to CPU cores more efficiently than Chrome/Firefox, but this is directly related to a lack of programming on behalf of Chrome/Firefox's teams, and not some special treatment of IE.

(Seriously go read about the development of IE9 and treating HTTP content like 'code' beyond traditional JIT of script/code. When reading, also pay attention to the Async processing of layers and the GPU utilizations. These is what ultimately gives IE9/10 advantages, like the ability to run CSS3/HTML5 graphical content significantly faster Chrome/Firefox.)

PS
Even on WP7/8, IE9/10 use the GPU for processing, thus reducing the CPU utilization, as it uses the power of the GPU instead of wasting CPU cycles.

I don't think the results have been doctored, but MS probably wouldn't have released the study if IE wasn't the top pick. Why would they provide good PR for other companies?

vanx said,
I don't think the results have been doctored, but MS probably wouldn't have released the study if IE wasn't the top pick. Why would they provide good PR for other companies?

on the other hand, it's safe to think that google and Mozilla ran similar tests in their labs too, but decided not to publish the results when they saw what browser was the most power efficient

vanx said,
I don't think the results have been doctored

They were if you read the report. They used windows setting changes which lowered the amount of work IE does but the other browsers don't get affected by meaning they were doing more work than IE. It states the setting changes (which are not the default in windows) were at the request of Microsoft and they did not study the impact of these setting changes.

Aka MS told them how to doctor it in their favour and they did so. More propaganda through a paid for study...

What a surprise, no doubt the results from google indicate the same about chrome, and the ones from Apple say the same about Safari etc.

Phalanger said,

They were if you read the report. They used windows setting changes which lowered the amount of work IE does but the other browsers don't get affected by meaning they were doing more work than IE. It states the setting changes (which are not the default in windows) were at the request of Microsoft and they did not study the impact of these setting changes.

Aka MS told them how to doctor it in their favour and they did so. More propaganda through a paid for study...

Microsoft just asked them to verify the setting of the JavaScript frequency timer.

if your computer is running in high performance mode (like desktop PCs are), the timer is set to max performance.

but if you're using a laptop in balanced mode or power efficiency, which should be the default on battery mode, then that JS setting is set automatically to power saving mode.

so the results of this benchmark are what you get using the default settings on a laptop.

also, you clearly misunderstand the effects of that setting. IE still does the same job of rendering websites than other browsers. It just does it more efficiently, at a slight performance cost. And btw, other browsers do exactly the sane thing on battery, they reduce their JavaScript timer freq, exactly like IE.

btw Flash doesn't care about this setting at all, and yet it is significantly faster and more power efficient on IE, thanks to better composition and hardware acceleration on IE.