Posted in: Desktop software

Firefox 3.7 claims title of fastest GPU-accelerated browser, beats Internet Explorer 9

Firefox has been staying out of the JavaScript race for the most part. But now it seems it has found a new racetrack – hardware accelerated graphics.

The four most popular browsers on Windows go head to head in the FishIE Tank <canvas> test – and guess who came out on top. Firefox 3.7 and Internet Explorer 9, that’s who. GPU accelerated web browsers rock!

Download Squad ran a test to see how well browsers perform when drawing graphics on HTML5’s <canvas> element and specifically how good their hardware-acceleration support is. All four browsers – Firefox 3.7 (codenamed Minefield), Internet Explorer 9, Chrome and Opera run at the same time on a single Windows machine.

Here’s the video in question:

All browsers perform about the same with 20 fishes on the screen, but the fun really starts with 1000 fish. Both Firefox 3.7 and Internet Explorer hover around 15-17 fps, with FF usually coming out a couple of frames ahead. Both register lower CPU usage than the other two – despite being faster! That’s because they rely on Direct2D and the graphics card.

The other two – Chrome and Opera – don’t do so hot, both falling bellow 10 frames per second, all the way down to 5 fps. Here’s the test if you want to run it yourself (it’s part of Microsoft’s Test Drive test suite for IE9).

Download Squad ran another test yesterday, testing Internet Explorer 9 and Chrome 6 on the same test, here’s that video too:

Anyway, both IE9 and FF 3.7 are still under heavy development, so I don’t expect to see them released any time soon. The Chrome browser used is a developer’s beta version too. Oh, and another problem – Direct2D is a Microsoft framework. Not good news for either Linux or Mac users, since those OSes use other graphics frameworks.

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