Microsoft releases holiday "Lite Brite" browser benchmark test

Microsoft's Internet Explorer team always celebrates the holidays with a new web browser benchmark site that has a seasonal theme. In 2011, it featured a snow filled-image called, naturally, "Let it Snow" and in 2012 it unleashed singing penguins on the Internet. This year, the IE benchmark team has made a site that sends many of us back to a simpler time, when toys didn't had a ton of electronics inside.

The IE blog reveals that the browser site site for the 2013 holidays is called "Holiday Brite" and is based on the classic toy Lite Brite. Created in 1967 by Hasbro, the toy allows kids to create any art piece they want by putting in multi-colored pegs on a board that has a light in the background.

The IE Holiday Brite benchmark test shows how quickly a web browser can generate four holiday designs on the virtual Lite Brite board; Rudolph, a snowman, a Christmas tree and even The Grinch. Microsoft says:

This demo shows how IE11 updates content incrementally rather than needing to layout and render the entire page after every DOM manipulation. It uses a broad range of technologies including HTML5, CSS3, Border-Image, Flexbox, MP3 Audio, Power Efficient timers, and more.

While the benchmark site is designed to work best with IE11, it can also work with other browsers such as Chrome.

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I really like IE11 on 8.1, it's so fast (not just talking about benchmarks) I just wish it had the plugins/extensions Chrome does

ashpowell said,
I really like IE11 on 8.1, it's so fast (not just talking about benchmarks) I just wish it had the plugins/extensions Chrome does

What is strange is that people originally loved Chrome because it had no extensions and bloatware messing with it. Now people like Chrome for the opposite reason.

Mobius Enigma said,

What is strange is that people originally loved Chrome because it had no extensions and bloatware messing with it. Now people like Chrome for the opposite reason.

I liked Chrome for it's speed, and disliked IE because of it's lack of. That seems to have switched around now though

What is interesting, is the consistency across a wide range of hardware performance...

All Tests Windows 8.1, IE11 Modern (Desktop IE11 performance was the same)

Intel Atom Z270 (Acer Aspire One Netbook)
6.79

Intel Pentium4 3.4ghz (Sager 2005 Desktop-Laptop)
2.69

Intel Core2-Duo T6500 (Toshiba Laptop)
2.11

Intel Core i5-4670 (Desktop)
1.97

Intel Core i7-4930K (Desktop)
1.93

Notice that from the oldest and slowest computers, the performance is only a couple of seconds behind, and is still in the range of being quite usable.


Now contrast this to Chrome - (Optimal settings, all acceleration enabled.)

Intel Atom Z270 (Acer Aspire One)
346.23

Intel Pentium4 3.4ghz (Sager 2005)
86.74

Intel Core2-Duo T6500 (Toshiba)
41.81

Intel Core i7-4930K
32.67

Beyond the large difference between IE11 and Chrome, the consistency is what is important to take away from this test.

As a web developer using the latest 'standards', you can build rather complex content for IE11 users and not have to worry about what level of hardware they are using. If they can run IE11, your site will run consistently.

However, if you are building for Chrome customers, they if they have an older computer, your website could be so slow it would be impossible to operate, with a sliding scale of performance based on the CPU the end user is using.

THIS is why browser engines need to move beyond the 'document/display' model and use a model closer to IE9/10/11' 'compile/run'.

(The 'runs on rails/hardware' design philosophy behind the rewrite of IE9 was a big change in how browser technology works, and sadly the OSS community and Google and Firefox and Apple all ignored this crucial difference and are being left behind.)


While Google/Firefox is screwing around with non-standards and introducing Native code execution, they could rebuild Webkit to handle ALL content at near native code speeds like IE does.

It is this lack in performance of HTML5/CSS3 standards that is causing Google and others to push aside the standards to find speed in other ways.


Even if you hate Microsoft, they have held firm to standards and getting a high level of performance out of them, that is also consistent across hardware for end users.

Mobius Enigma said,

Lumia 928 : 156s

Did a couple of runs, and it seemed consistent at least.

Just tried it on an iPhone 5s: 53 seconds. iPad Air: 45 seconds.

tajddin said,

Just tried it on an iPhone 5s: 53 seconds. iPad Air: 45 seconds.

With the ARMv8 based CPU, it had should be easily a lot faster than the older Nokia phones.

I'm glad that Microsoft gets its browser to do some fancy bubble dot stuff to show how fast it is, but still doesn't get basic CSS3 text-shadow alpha behaviour right.... nice!

Be warned - as soon as the page load, it auto-plays Christmas music that you can't "mute" (short of manually turning your system volume down)

My Firefox 26 indicated it ran the benchmarks (26.24 seconds for Christmas Tree) but didn't actually display anything. None of the benchmarks displayed, though it appeared they ran. Weird.

I have the same issue with Firefox 26 on 64bit Linux. Nothing shows up, just a black box where it is supposed to show the content.

Wait a minute, so Microsoft who wants to push Internet Explorer, creates a web-site that "benchmarks" browsers. And wouldn't you know it, their main competitor's browser takes an ungodly amount of time to "render" the code vs IE.... what a surprise.... Shenanigans called...

This demo shows how IE11 updates content incrementally rather than needing to layout and render the entire page after every DOM manipulation. It uses a broad range of technologies including HTML5, CSS3, Border-Image, Flexbox, MP3 Audio, Power Efficient timers, and more.

It doesn't push its own browser per sé. Its using HTML/CSS standards... unlike html5checker.com and others which give points for non-HTML features and such.

MS has been doing this quite fairly actually, sticking to w3 standards.

Not their fault that IE isnt a "Document viewer" anymore (like Chrome, FireFox etc)but an active compiled application.

xendrome said,
Wait a minute, so Microsoft who wants to push Internet Explorer, creates a web-site that "benchmarks" browsers. And wouldn't you know it, their main competitor's browser takes an ungodly amount of time to "render" the code vs IE.... what a surprise.... Shenanigans called...

No different than googles octane. All companies do this. Tbh I don't trust any benchmark. I go by what seems faster in real use to me.