IE9 Responds To Safari 5 With A Side-By-Side Hardware Acceleration Video

Yesterday, Apple released the latest version of its web browser, Safari 5. In their release notes, they highlight not only new features, but also the fact that it’s faster than the latest versions of Chrome and Firefox. One competitor they didn’t mention was the most-used web browser in the world: Internet Explorer. Today, Microsoft has responded to that.

In a post on their Blogging Windows blog, the IE team has posted a video showing the latest version of IE, IE9 (still in beta testing), running against Safari 5. The result? IE smokes Safari. It’s not even close.

So case-closed? No quite. In the post, Microsoft doesn’t directly mention it but this is showcasing IE9’s use of hardware acceleration vs. Safari’s use. In its release yesterday, Apple was talking about pure JavaScript performance tests, which are different (and again, didn’t mention Microsoft — though judging from their own posted results, Safari 5 would win pretty easily). In other words, for web apps in the future that rely heavily on hardware acceleration (such as games), IE clearly has a leg up right now (at least on Windows machines). But for web apps that are JavaScript heavy (such as Gmail), Safari likely does.

But Apple does highlight hardware acceleration for Windows as a key new feature of Safari:

Tap into the graphics processing power of your PC while browsing the web. Safari 5 adds hardware acceleration support for Windows, so rich media and interactive graphics execute smoothly and speedily in the browser.

I also ran some of the IE9 Test Drive speed demos on the latest release of Chrome (6.0+), and IE9’s results killed it as well (about 60 FPS vs. 6 FPS). But again, as these demos note, they “full advantage of your hardware with background compiled JavaScript.”