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.
Post Your CommentPlease log in or sign up to comment.
View All Comments
niraj246 - Wednesday, July 22, 2015 - linkYou can do paste & go. Ctrl+Shift+L - same as IE.
jhoff80 - Wednesday, July 22, 2015 - linkHave to admit that shortcut is completely new to me, so thanks for the tip. I still would prefer if it was integrated into the right-click/press and hold menu from the address bar too though.
ATLVM - Tuesday, September 22, 2015 - linkThat's an OS feature not just browser.. Edge is an APP with OLE built in, still the BASIC CORE functionality is not there, stop defending something we ALL pretty much use everyday.
damianrobertjones - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - linkAdd a list to your hosts file
ATLVM - Tuesday, September 22, 2015 - linkOH yeah lets all right click hosts file, edit, past url, lookup IP address and paste that into hosts file, and save as EVERY time just to block an add..
Yeah good solution there dweeb, you do it, the rest of us will use what we HAVE been doing, extensions and add-ons. Thanks so much for that helpful suggestion (rolling eyes)
WaltFrench - Tuesday, July 21, 2015 - linkThis looks like an arms race with programmer talent being the input.
It raises the question of how “profitable” it is for all these browser developers, to throw an extra person at improvements. If your browser is a LOT slower than the best, you'll definitely lose users (and presumably the ad revenues from search providers). But if everybody is at rough parity of features, or if the user base is so small/specialized that a better speed wouldn't attract many more users, the choice gets harder.
fokka - Wednesday, July 22, 2015 - linki don't care how profitable it is for the companies, but i like that it means that browsers in general get faster and more powerful.
jjj - Tuesday, July 21, 2015 - linkLOL you call that examining the performance?
Even when you test one app, you can't actually test the app?
And that;'s without factoring in power, stability, RAM usage and a lot more. IE's biggest problem was stability.
Have they payed for you to not actually test it ?
menting - Tuesday, July 21, 2015 - linki had more crashes with FF than with IE. And FF has always had an issue with RAM, at least for me. Only Chrome and IE for me nw.
jimbo2779 - Tuesday, July 21, 2015 - linkThat it's exactly my experience with the different browsers as well.