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8 Ways Windows 8 Speeds Up

Browse Faster, Better

Windows 8 comes with a new version of Internet Explorer 10. This will also be available on Windows 7, but not Vista (which doesn’t have enough people to make it worthwhile writing a new browser for) or Windows XP (which doesn’t have the support for hardware accelerating the entire browser). On Windows 8 you’ll get the benefit of the general performance improvements as well as the improvements in the browser – and the far better standards support.

We used a mix of Web browsing benchmarks measuring different features in IE 10 on Windows 8, compared to IE 9 on Windows 7 (there is a preview version of IE 10 for Windows 7 but it’s an older version than the one in the Consumer Preview, so we haven’t included those results).

Sunspider and V8 both measure the speed of the JavaScript engine in the browser. IE uses an engine called Chakra that uses the second core on a multi-core processor to run the JavaScript code in a  Web page while the first core is dealing with the other parts of the page (like images and text layout). These benchmarks just look at JavaScript speed, but in a real Web page the improvements might be more noticeable. The Canvas test looks at how quickly the browser can display images in the canvas element; the improved hardware acceleration in IE 10 really pays off here.

Microsoft has a site full of performance tests; Speedread displays letters on screen like an old-fashioned departure board, measuring JavaScript speed and graphics rendering. IE 10 finishes the test faster and it draws the characters on screen faster.

 Webvizbench and Microsoft’s own IE Fishbowl benchmarks measure the speed of a mix of HTML5 features including video playback, sound and animation. Webvizbench records a general score and also shows the average frames per second the browser displays. For the IE Fishbowl test we measured how many fish the browser could display without dropping the display speed below 60fps.