Examining Microsoft Edge Browser Performanceby Brett Howse on July 21, 2015 3:30 PM EST
- Posted in
- Microsoft Edge
Moving forward, Project Spartan got a name in Microsoft Edge back at Build. Over the last several months, Microsoft has put out quite a bit of information on the new features they are adding to Edge over on the Microsoft Edge Dev Blog including support for the latest ECMAScript standards, asm.js, SIMD support, and much more, all in an effort to bring their browser up to par for the modern web. It is likely not a surprise to many that Internet Explorer has had a tremendously long development cycle, especially compared to browsers like Chrome, and now Firefox, which are updated almost continuously. Some of that was due to the reliance of old features which were used in businesses, and Microsoft’s strong adoption in the enterprise has certainly held them back when it comes to large scale changes to the browser. Internet Explorer will be sticking around for those who need it (for example if you need ActiveX Controls on your page) but for the rest of Windows users, Microsoft Edge will now be the new default browser out of the box.
I’ve gone over some of this in the past, but it is likely worth a refresher anyway. Edge is bringing some new features such as integrated Cortana support built right into the browser to offer contextual search within a web page, or to offer answers to questions right in the address bar. It will also have support for annotation of web pages using a pen, mouse, or touch, and annotated pages can easily be shared. It has a reading view, a reading list, and while not available next week when Windows 10 ships, it will be gaining extension support very similar to Google Chrome to add even more functionality to the browser. This, combined with better web standards support, and a much quicker update cadence (this will have to be proven by Microsoft after release, but they have committed to quicker updates of Edge through the Windows Store) should result in a much better browsing experience than was available in Internet Explorer. If you have already switched from IE to Chrome, Firefox, or another browser, it may not be enough to sway you back – especially without extension support at launch – but it is at least worth a look. I’ll get more into my takes on Edge in our Windows 10 review.
For now, what we can examine is browser performance, not only because it is important, but because Microsoft has been making a lot of statements about improved performance of Edge as recently as last week when Windows 10 Build 10240 was released. When a company says a product is “blazing fast” it is a good idea to check it out to see if it actually lives up to that performance level.
Luckily I did run numbers in January on my desktop which features an Intel Core i7-860 processor. None of the hardware has changed, so I decided to re-run the tests with the latest version of all of the browsers. I kept the original numbers for IE 11, but I did re-run the tests to verify that they did not change.
|Browser Performance - Core i7-860|
|Benchmark||IE 11 (Jan)||Spartan (Jan)||Edge 20 (July)||Chrome 40 (Jan)||Chrome 43 (July)||Firefox 35 (Jan)||Firefox 39 (July)|
|Sunspider (lower is better)||149.7ms||144.6ms||133.4ms||260.9ms||247.5ms||220.1ms||234.6ms|
|Octane 2.0 (higher is better)||9861||17928||22278||17474||19407||16508||19012|
|Kraken 1.1 (lower is better)||3781.2ms||2077.5ms||1797.9ms||1992.8ms||1618.7ms||1760.4ms||1645.5ms|
|WebXPRT (higher is better)||913||1083||1132||1251||1443||1345||1529|
|Oort Online (higher is better)||1990||2170||5470||5370||7620||3900||7670*|
|HTML5Test (higher is better)||339||344||402||511||526||449||467|
In every single instance, Microsoft Edge outperformed Project Spartan from back in January which is a good sign. It is the quickest browser in Google’s Octane 2.0 benchmark, and by a good margin. It is still the slowest in WebXPRT 2013 though. One of the biggest improvements though was the WebGL performance in the Oort Online benchmark, which went from terrible to good.
The other browsers have not been sitting idle though, and in that time they have also made gains in their performance. But the story is still a good one for Edge. It really is right up there with the rest of the browsers in terms of performance. It is quicker in some workloads, and slower in others, but generally performance should not be an issue. It still falls behind in the HTML5 test, but it has made big improvements there as well.
One thing that did pop out though is how much of a gain Firefox made in the WebGL test. Firefox went from middle of the pack to leading in the overall score, but if you noticed in the table I had to put an asterisk beside its score. The performance was quite good, but it achieved this performance by not rendering the scene correctly at all which contributed to its high score. In Oort Online’s benchmark, there is a snow scene, which Firefox rendered as blinking lights, and a rain scene, which was rendered as a couple of horizontal lines as seen in this screenshot.
Firefox Rain Rendering (Incorrect)
Edge Rain Rendering (Correct)
It is great to see Microsoft focusing on browser performance again, and especially not sitting idle since January, since the competition in this space has not been idle either. Only time will tell how Edge holds up over time, and if it continues to receive updates on a quicker cadence, but considering it is already at version 20.10240.16384.0, it does appear that Microsoft has jumped on the rapid release cycle with regards to their browser, which will only help them moving forward.
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Primey - Tuesday, July 21, 2015 - linkThat's all well and good but they really need to add extension support.
kmmatney - Tuesday, July 21, 2015 - linkThis. I've been trying to use it, and it's generally good, but I've gotten used to advertisements being blocked and noisy videos not playing autoamtically
Pissedoffyouth - Wednesday, July 22, 2015 - linkYou're a terrorist who robs income from legitimate websites you horrid pirate
Duckeenie - Wednesday, July 22, 2015 - linkIt's okay, this is the internet.
tipoo - Wednesday, July 22, 2015 - linkWhitelist what you like, leave the unwashed internet blocked.
djvita - Wednesday, July 22, 2015 - linknah son, ads have flash vulnerabilities, and cookies that follow you around, i don't mind ads on android, most are away from the content but iverge has 20 trackers and f*ck that. anandtech is whitelisted to the big banner at the top (i hate ads in between content).
3ogdy - Wednesday, July 22, 2015 - linkI block each and every ad I could possibly lay my eyes on. No exceptions. Not even Google ads. I also fruck tracking and flash altogether. I love being a criminal, just like I love a clean Internet. No, I couldn't give a damn about ad revenue. I'm not paying that with my eyes and time. I'd rather pay the Adblock developer in order to hire more people and develop the technology at a faster rate.
I'm also for filtering each and every ad I could possibly see ON TV.
Jim4409 - Thursday, July 23, 2015 - linkI could not have said it better! Didn't think there was anyone else who felt as strongly as I do with the bombardment of invasive, often offensive ads. I'd rather pay a few dollars extra (just a few x millions ='s $$) on my TV and Internet bill and not have to see ads. Why not have a domain totally committed to showing ads for those who are afraid they may miss something. Same with television. Product ads influence me. They influence me to avoid your product as much as possible.
Your post has made me all warm inside but I will pipe down now.
StevoLincolnite - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - linkI block Anandtech's adverts because it often doesn't include the rest of the world in things like the competitions.
Not only that... But historically Anandtech has had multiple cases where it's adverts have carried viruses, I don't want to deal with that crap anymore.
So really it's their own fault.
Lets not forget either that adverts drive up CPU/GPU/Memory usage which also costs the user electricity, potentially reducing battery life of mobile devices as well and slows down the browsing experience in general.
I would actually be happy in paying a small quarterly fee of a few bucks instead if I was given the option rather than deal with adverts.
LaRock0wns - Tuesday, August 4, 2015 - linkThere's a working ad block solution here - https://www.reddit.com/r/Windows10/comments/3fq0yx...