Internet Explorer 11 Will Use Your GPU to Make Everything Fast

Besides Windows 8.1, another big topic at Microsoft Build 2013 is Internet Explorer 11. Not surprisingly, IE11 was designed with touch technologies heavily in mind, given the new focus of Windows 8 and the new generation of devices. IE11 will also allow users to pin active and live tiles to the Start Screen, rather than just a static link. Websites that still use mouse-over hover features, such a Ebay's navigation tabs, rarely worked well on tablets, but IE11 preserves that functionality.

Under the hood, IE11 has further speed improvements. Microsoft boasts that current testing has IE11 performing better on the SunSpider benchmark better than the rest of the pack. Microsoft further demonstrated its speed leadership by showing off a WebGL page with a rotating Windows logo. On IE11, the animations were smooth, while running the same demo on Firefox was very slow and laggy. A similar grass growing demo called Lawn Mark also showed IE11 as being faster than the latest Google Chrome.

While we're sure that the engineering team has done what it can to optimize performance in software, a the performance delta shown between IE11 and the rest is all thanks to hardware acceleration. All the demonstrations were GPU accelerated. Not only did the video acceleration make multimedia smoother, but also the rendering of text, the scrolling of web pages, and the entire JPEG pipeline. Microsoft claims that IE11 renders text 30% faster than the competition.

Other improvements behind the scenes include web pre-fetching, pre-render, and instant back navigation. This means less waiting and could be a boon to those on slower connections. IE11 will also support adaptive streaming, which will make for a better YouTube experience. Microsoft also demonstrated Netflix running inside the browser in HTML5 -- no Silverlight plugin needed.

Just as how Windows 8.1 allows for more multi-window option, so too does IE11. Other new features include tabs displaying in the modern app mode, as well as syncing of tabs, favorites and frequently visited sites across devices -- if the user chooses to. Taking a page from other browsers, IE11 offers a feature called Reading List that can save a webpage for future reading.

IE11 is shaping up to be a browser that will change people's perceptions of Internet Explorer. To reach as big a reach as possible, IE11 will also be available on Windows 7.

Those interested in checking out a preview of IE11 right now can find it on the Windows Store.

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  • irish_adam
    The slowness of IE updates means that even if it is faster at launch their lead will be gone in a few weeks and by the time IE12 comes IE11 will be useless
  • Pailin
    As long as the GPU acceleration can be disabled + they don't forget to code for the CPU I am happy.

    Sometimes you don't want silly things like this wasting GPU time while running Distributed Computing projects cause massive slow down for absolutely No gain for say youtube video playback etc etc.

    I am just seeing a future of LOTs of Poorly coded apps chugging Lots of GPU time and for those not using a Distributed Computing Project that will still ramp up those higher end GPUs wasting large amounts of power........

    Damn adds on websites are already bad enough -.-"
  • Marco Washa
    IE isn't slow.... it's only stupid a complete pain in the *** for all web developers :S I hate Microsoft a little bit more