Internet Explorer 9 Beta GPU Acceleration Demo’d

At the Nvidia GPU Technology Conference, Jason Weber, the Lead Program Manager for IE Performance, showed how Internet Explorer 9 was programmed to take advantage of not only multiple cores in a PC’s CPU, but also how the GPU was used to offload many of the tasks that have been traditionally taking up a lot of system resources.

During the course of his presentation, Weber cited some interesting statistics: According the Microsoft’s research, Windows users spend nearly 60 percent of the day in a browser, and the average user has a system with 2.4 cores.

Not surprisingly, Javascript is a big hog when it comes to web site load times (it’s represented by the red bars in the photo to the right). Weber showed how IE9, being a multithreaded app, can ameliorate that by taking advantage of that second core.

But IE9’s real prowess is evident when using the GPU.

In the first 24 hours that it was available, about 1 million people downloaded IE9 beta. Of that group, 37.9 percent had systems with Nvidia GPUs, 27 percent had ATI/AMD GPUs, and 26.2 percent had Intel GPUs. Of course, Weber noted that many of these users are early adopters, and Microsoft has started to see those numbers shift.

One of the benchmark tests Weber showed was called Flying Images, where a number of icons jet around the screen. In IE8, the animation pegged the CPU at 100 percent, and the system could only muster about 2 frames per second. Using IE9, the CPU load is much less, as the GPU is doing more of the work.

This chart shows how IE9 also offloads a lot of the work to the second CPU core when rendering Javascript, for example.

Below, a video showing IE9 rendering various graphics and images, and how it compares to other browsers.

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  1. Greg Says:

    Very cool charts. It’s awesome to see Microsoft taking advantage of the GPU this way.

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