Oct 5, 2007
Back when IE9 Beta first came out for us to try I decided to run a few tests on it and pitit against one of its oldest foes, FireFox. While I use both IE9 RC and FF4 (the beta finally supports my addons) I still think its good to see which company is pushing what in innovation. Both offer great new features and will help push the web to a new level of interactivity.

Here is the old one I did:


My hardware has remained the same except my GPU has been upgraded to a HD5870 1GB. My internet connection is still a 25/5MB cable connection and both browsers are tested on this machine. I will try to stay away from tests that will always favor one or the other but will post some that are interesting.

Lets start of with the infamous SunSpider. The one that is normally used to show how pitiful IE8 was:

IE9 RC: 215.2ms


FF4 Beta 12:


Side by side comparison:


IE9 is still outpacing FF4 but both are sube 300ms and nearing 200ms. Its nice to see them finally push back against some of the others.

My next test comes from http://www.beautyoftheweb.com/. Its Microsofts IE9 site but man do they really have some neat HTML5 tests. The front page alone has hardware acceleration to mess with. You can turn on fish, a mous trailer and a performance monitor. This should push the browsers ability to utilize hardware on the PC to accelerate games, video and more. I also crank it up to 1000 fish. make your browser work.

IE9 RC: 55FPS max, it would fluctuate between 30-50FPS


FF4 Beta 12: 28FPS max, it would normally stay at 20-21FPS


Here is what I did. First I turned on the performance monitor. That stays at 60FPS in both. Then I turn on the mouse trail. It puts both to about 50FPS. So far evenly matched. But the second I turn on the Fish, FF4 starts to slow down. A lot. When I crank it up to 1000 Fish and don't move the mouse, FF4 stays near 35-37FPS. But the second I move the mouse, it drops to 18FPS and back up to 21FPS. IE9 however, never drops below 30FPS and moves around 30-55FPS. I would assume its because Microsoft created D2DWrite and therefore knows how to fully take advantage of the GPU. Maybe Mozilla should ask for hel....

The next one was well I was trying out one of the HTML5 games:


Its a thrid party game that uses HTML5 to well create the game. No flash or shockwave needed. Cool. Only one problem. IE9 loads it without a hitch. But FF4, nothin. Just the background. Now this kind of urks me because earlier this month, a high up guy from Mozilla Paul Rouget.


He says IE9 is not a modern browser. Yet FF4 wont open some HTML5 web tests. I might be crazy, but I think he is either talking trash or full of himself.

Speed Reading

IE9 RC: 7 Seconds (from 10 in IE9 Beta)


FF4 Beta 12: 35 seconds. A HUGE drop from the 6th betas 450 second score.


Thats a nice boost there.

For Acid 3 and HTML5test.com, I wont post pictures. Acid 3 is the same as last time. 95 for IE9 and 97 for FF4. HTML5test.com gives IE9 116 and FF4 207.

IMDB also has a pretty cool video-rama thingy. It works great in IE9. But FF4, no H.264 support. I don't know why FF4 doesn't have the support but it should since thats one of the biggest codecs people will want to use next to MPEG-4.


This is a interesting little test:

IE9 RC 2527 Snowflakes


FF4 Beta 12: 378 Snowflakes


Overall both browsers can do a lot more than the browsers I used as a kid. IE3 and Netscape. Ahh the good ol days. But to me, overall IE9 seems to be able to utilize hardware better for better acceleration while FF4 is set to support more standards, be it if they get used or not.

From what I can tell, FF4 will be the goo browser for testing while in the real world tests, such as HTML5 tests or tests that use hardware to accelerate a feature, IE9 will perform better.

Strange to say that. Still I use both. I don't think we will se any performance improvements out of either but I might revisit them again when the final version is out, for IE its suspected to be in mid March and for FF4, its whenever they get the final bugs out.

As for the tests, there are a slew of tests I could do. Microsofts website links to some pretty cool stuff designed in HTML5.

Overall, I use IE9. I feel it is faster and a bit smoother. For features, I like FF4s grouped tabs but ther tear tabs is horrible compared to IE9. When you take a tab from FF4, it stays there. When you do it with IE9, the tab shrinks to a small page and you can see whats behind it. Both have localized ad blocking, basically you can stop the ad companies from knowing your habits and location so you wont get those "Hot Mom makes 50K/hour in your state" BS.

Overall i like both. Hope we see more innovation out of IE10 and, well probably FF6 since Mozilla plans to shoot FF5 out pretty soon afer FF4.