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Internet Explorer Power

Microsoft Boasts of Tiny Energy Saving With IE 243

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the grasping-for-microwatts dept.
judgecorp writes "Microsoft has sponsored research that indicates that its Internet Explorer browser uses less power than the competition, Firefox and Google (there's no explanation of what causes the difference). However, the difference in power use is not really significant — it's about one Watt when browsing. Browsing for 20 hours at this rate, the IE user would save enough power to make a cup of tea, compared with Firefox and Chrome users. That Microsoft commissioned and published the report seems to indicate a certain desperation to Microsoft's IE marketing efforts."
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Microsoft Boasts of Tiny Energy Saving With IE

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  • It adds up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Joce640k (829181) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @05:17AM (#43970703) Homepage

    ...a certain desperation to Microsoft's IE marketing efforts

    Not at all. If you run a company with 10,000 PCs then it's a significant saving.

    • by crutchy (1949900) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @05:20AM (#43970711)

      What company is stupid enough to pay for 10,000 Windows licences?

      • by Joce640k (829181) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @05:24AM (#43970729) Homepage

        Well..certainly not one that would allow their employees to have two extra cups of tea per week.

      • All of them

    • Re:It adds up (Score:5, Informative)

      by aglider (2435074) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @05:23AM (#43970727) Homepage
      Yes, only if all of them are just browsing the internet all the time.
      But if they are making real work, maybe the results would not be that good.
      • Re:It adds up (Score:5, Insightful)

        by LordThyGod (1465887) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @06:16AM (#43970941)

        Yes, only if all of them are just browsing the internet all the time. But if they are making real work, maybe the results would not be that good.

        You have to consider the source here too ... its Microsoft. It was "sponsored" research, which translates to "rigged" test with rigged results. So it is indeed done for marketing purposes, or why else do it. Probably a simple web page with little css or js. You can't take anything they say at face value.

        • Re:It adds up (Score:5, Insightful)

          by 1s44c (552956) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @07:09AM (#43971175)

          You have to consider the source here too ... its Microsoft. It was "sponsored" research, which translates to "rigged" test with rigged results. So it is indeed done for marketing purposes, or why else do it. Probably a simple web page with little css or js. You can't take anything they say at face value.

          I don't think they go as far as rigging the research. What I think they do is pay for thousands of very specific research topics and publish the ones that show them favorably and bury all the others.

          If this is the best they could come up with they really are losing the browser war.

    • I fail to see how using IE over the other major browsers yields a net saving. Power usage is only one factor. And it still remains to be seen how objective this sponsored study really is, as MS doesn't have the best track record in that regard.

      • by Joce640k (829181)

        I fail to see how using IE over the other major browsers yields a net saving...

        ...so therefore it can't be true?

        Must be nice to be omniscient.

        • by 1s44c (552956)

          I do notice Firefox uses a lot of CPU time on recent versions, even when it's displaying nothing but static pages.

          If Mozilla take this seriously and save a few CPU cycles here and there some good might come out of this research.

        • I never said that it can't be true. I'm just saying that this study of itself can in no way be used to support a claim that using IE saves you money. Simply because this study only measured a tiny subset of the total cost of ownership of a software package.

      • I fail to see how using IE over the other major browsers yields a net saving. Power usage is only one factor.

        That is the biggest factor that makes this dumb.

        So you save a little electricity - how much are you losing elsewhere in lost productivity, insecurity, virus infestations, etc, because you are using IE?

    • Re:It adds up (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wvmarle (1070040) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @05:53AM (#43970843)

      The difference is about 5% in power use of the computers only. Which may translate to 1% or less overall savings.

      However IE is also slower in rendering pages, causing productivity loss (a few seconds a page of employee time eaten up) which easily costs more than the energy cost saved.

      • Re:It adds up (Score:4, Insightful)

        by jimshatt (1002452) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @06:08AM (#43970909)
        And besides that, you'd really need to calculate energy cost per rendered page. I might be able to make a browser that uses half the energy competing browsers use, but renders 2.5 times slower. But yeah, productivity loss is probably even more significant.
        • by wvmarle (1070040)

          Rendering is only part of the energy use.

          YouTube is at the top of the power-hungry pages, which is of course caused by the flash plugin playing video. Other pages will have moving ads, that also continue to use energy. Rendering will likely cause a power spike when loading a page, however thinking of dynamic pages like /. discussion, where you can show and hide pieces of the page, rendering is more continuous. So the time spent reading, commenting, the amount of extra comments opened: it all adds to power u

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        I guess you haven't tried IE10. It may be shit for a number of reasons but page rendering speed is comparable to other browsers, certainly not seconds longer.

        A 1W saving is pretty good actually. Small Ultrabook type laptops usually only have 30-40Wh batteries so over an 8 hour run-time it could be 1/4 the machine's power budget.

        • by wvmarle (1070040)

          I haven't used IE in ages, as there is no Linux version so can't even try it.

          TFA however lists benchmarks as well, without further explanation, but based on the numbers I make up that IE is a bit slower than the others.

          And the 1W saving is on a 15W base power draw for laptops, or 2W saving on a 38W desktop. That's just over 5% power saving - which is rather surprising to me, and in itself is asking for further investigation. Your low-power netbook won't have a 1w saving, more likely about 5% of however much

    • Re:It adds up (Score:5, Informative)

      by DeathToBill (601486) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @06:32AM (#43971011) Journal

      No it's bloody not. Honestly people have some weird ideas about arithmetic. If your average PC uses 100W then the difference in browser power usage, 1W, is 1% of that usage. It doesn't somehow magically become 50% if you're running 10,000 PCs - it's still 1%.

      But, for the same of argument, let's do the math. A company with 10,000 PCs each consuming 100W during work hours is using 1,950 MWhr (100W * 37.5 hours per week * 52 weeks per year * 10000 PCs / 1000000 W per MW = 1950) per year to power those PCs. Retail electricity is around 12.86 p/kWhr, so they're spending £250k (1950 kWhr * 12.86 p/kWhr * 1000 kW per MW / 100 p per £) on electricity to power their PCs.

      A company with 10,000 PCs presumably has 10,000 employees to use those PCs. Suppose they all earn the minimum wage full time, costing £12,000 each (£6.19 per hour x 37.5 hours per week * 52 weeks = £12,070.50 per year - call it £12k). Those 10,000 employees cost the company £120 million per year.

      So our company with 10,000 PCs is spending £250k on electricity and £120m on wages. But wait! All those savings will add up! Suppose those users spend every working hour browsing the web. That means they would each save 1950 Whr per year (37.5 hours per week * 52 weeks per year * 1W). Retail electricity is 12.86 p/kWhr, so each employee saves a whacking great... um... 25p per year (1950 Whr * 12.86 p/kWhr / 1000 W per kW). Yes, all those savings add up to £2,500 across the whole company. That's 0.0021% of your combined staff and electricity costs.

      Now suppose you live in the real world and not all your employees work in front of a PC all the time and they only spend about 75% of their time browsing the web when they do and some of them, God forbid, take a holiday every now and then. How much do those savings add up to? Sweet. Bugger. All.

    • So if a company with 10,000 Windows computers has their 10,000 employees browse the web for 8 hours using IE instead of FireFox or Chrome then they'll save enough power for 4,000 cups of tea.

      Or, since the article gives the figure of 1 watt saved per hour, 10,000 IE users browsing for 8 hours will save 80 kilowatts. Not a very big savings. You could replace a few incandescent light-bulbs with compact fluorescent or LED bulbs and save more energy.

  • by aglider (2435074) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @05:22AM (#43970719) Homepage
    I'd like to know how can they tell whether the energy has been ate by the browser, the scheduler, the idle process or whatever else is in a Windows OS!!!
    And I bet that IE v1 (not v10) would eat much less power as it supports a tiny slice of HTML and other web related technologies.
    • Maybe they measured power consumption with IE running and then not, or then with a different browser. The power difference is really the result of the browser, isn't it? If it's the only thing changing?

      • True, but GP does have a point. What if the scheduler really has some inefficiencies (IE bugs that need fixing) that only MS' devs know about? But let's not go down that rabbit hole.

      • by aglider (2435074)
        In a real world system, nothing stands still and everything is in flux.
        Unless you can finely account for every single CPU instruction and hardware activity to the browsing, then it's unlikely your "test with and without" will yield anything relevant.
        Even if you reboot the system after every single test you won't be able to get the very same "execution environment".
        And this is why I am asking: there seems to be not enough information on how the test has been conducted and measured.
        To me it smells like cr
      • by agm (467017)

        A better comparison would be IE running on the OS that is required to run it compared to Chrome running on a different OS. keep in mind that to run the IE OS you also need a vurs checker running. I'm sure the IE/Windows/Virus checker combination would gobble more power than, say, a Linux compiled from source targetted to the hardware and running Chrome.

    • I normally don't care about browser power usage, until I'm trying to maximise the time left on my laptop battery, and then I play close attention to CPU usage and power consumption.

      On my laptop Konqueror wins by a very wide margin when it comes to being able to browse the Internet for as long as possible on a single charge. Firefox and Chrome are absolute pigs by comparison.

      • by 1s44c (552956)

        I second that. Firefox on a laptop on battery is a nightmare that is best shut down unless it is absolutely needed. I see 10% CPU usage when it's doing absolutely nothing. Come on Mozilla, stop wasting my CPU cycles!

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      I'd like to know how can they tell whether the energy has been ate by the browser, the scheduler, the idle process or whatever else is in a Windows OS!!!

      If only there was an electrical device you could connect to a computer and see instantaneous power usage. That way you cold open a page in IE, look at the power. Open the same page in Firefox, look at the power, etc.

      I guess we'll all have to wait at least another century for a technology as advanced as that, though.

      Oh, wait: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kill_A_Watt [wikipedia.org]

      • by Grishnakh (216268)

        That's not what the parent is asking at all: he's asking for an accounting of which parts of the Windows OS use power, and how much, not just the overall consumption. The implication is that other parts of the Windows OS are wasting power, compared to other OSes (namely Linux). Of course, this is all speculation; it'd be interesting if someone did do some measurements of some Linux systems (desktop and laptop, multiple ones of each, for better statistical data, and also using different Linux distros and D

  • by Camembert (2891457)
    It is a small saving on one computer, but take all the computers with IE in the world and it becomes a lot of megawatts. It wouldn't be a bad idea from an ecological viewpoint if this kind of efficiency became more important.
    • by gbjbaanb (229885)

      amen to that. Its not just ecological issues that benefit from efficiency - there's a reason why modern applications run about the same perceived speed as their ancient counterparts did on ancient hardware - generally its because the programming involved is now built on layers of layers of abstracted frameworks.

      For example, I run a few graphics-intensive games and they work fine, then I run a couple of not-so graphically intensive games that were written using XNA and the cooling fans come on full blast. I

    • Yeah, but doesn't running windows consume a lot more power than running OSX or GNU/Linux? Especially with all that fancy aero stuff, etc, etc.
      My laptop had windows out-of-the-box. With Linux I get abotu 25% more battery duration, which basically translates to 25% energy savings. Windows+IE pushed me the wrong way.

  • Disable Flash (Score:4, Informative)

    by ninjanissan (1612103) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @05:28AM (#43970741)
    Now what would really save some energy on many computers would be to disable Flash. Flash commercials on some sites really waste many CPU cycles (energy). On my poor old computer it is clearly visible on the CPU load :) If you are using a laptop it will also make your battery last longer as a bonus!
    • by TheP4st (1164315)

      On my poor old computer it is clearly visible on the CPU load :)

      I am able to hear from a significant distance when the fans struggle to keep the machine alive as my wife play candy crush on her macbook pro, nothing else that she does on it is causing the same desperate whirring of the fans.

    • by Nutria (679911)

      On my poor old computer it is clearly visible on the CPU load

      Flashblock FTW!

    • You poor old computer? My octo-core Bulldozer FX 8150 can't keep up with flash. Of course, flash uses just one core, but it should be more than enough to get decent FPS on silly flash games.

  • The energy needed to brew a cup of tea is definitly NOT small compared to the energy that is available in your cellphone battery.

    • by xaxa (988988)

      Using this [confused.com] (so making five cups at once):

      2.2kW * 3 minutes / 5 = 0.022kWh.

      1W * 20 hours = 0.020kWh (the extra energy used by Chrome).

      However, I think the whole thing's rubbish -- I don't constantly load websites, I load them once (which takes a few seconds -- or longer if it's IE), then spend time reading the page.

      • Ok... so just assume that a typical cellphone battery has a capacity of 2000mAh and a voltage of 5V, then the power stored in it would be something around 0.01 kWh

        So you would need the energy of TWO whole cellphone batteries to make a cup of tea.

        The difference would be that browsing 20 hours with IE means that you have to go two charching cycles less within those 20 hours than with another browser.

        Now we only would need to compare this to a typical number of recharching cycles for 20 hours nonstop-browsing.

  • Yes, though maybe not corporate desperation. More like some idiot in marketing commissioned some idiot study then desperately had to have something to show for the money.
  • by Barryke (772876) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @05:33AM (#43970765) Homepage

    No matter how silly the original article is, this /. article is even lamer.

    Browsing for 20 hours at this rate, the IE user would save enough power to make a cup of tea,

    Heating thee? Thats a really bad comparison!

    Or .. a good one if you realize how inefficient heating with electricity is, especially relatively to other useful household things such as anything with batteries, your DVR, the lighting, a tablet, or even a laptop.
    On my 35W laptop this means 3% power savings.

    (my dupe comment on a dupe submission: http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3846941&cid=43962015 [slashdot.org] )

    This article seems to wind down on the marketing effort. Whats news in that? I rather like this fact exposing instead of the shockshell courtroom cases.

    • by telchine (719345)

      Heating thee? Thats a really bad comparison!

      It was RIGHT THERE in the summary! In fact, you QUOTED that part of the summary! It's a three letter word and you STILL screwed it up THAT badly?

  • by gishzida (591028) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `adizhsig'> on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @05:35AM (#43970771) Journal

    Microsoft failed to mention the amount of power wasted cleaning up malware infections brought about because IE is not able to block malware 'mouse over' attacks. "Ad Block Plus" and "No Script" kill crapware attacks before they happen... unfortunately IE is part of the problem rather than the solution.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Have you tried IE 10? Seriously, actually given it a go? Or are you just speaking out of zealotry rather than experience? FF has made some anti-customisation (and thus anti-user) changes lately that are really pissing me off. I think they've gotten a bit big-headed, or they're terrified of Chrome, either way, MS has been working really hard improving their browser and perhaps they do feel justified in feeling unfairly judged and perhaps they can feel desperate - they've put in a tonne of work and everybo

      • by Nutria (679911)

        FF has made some anti-customisation (and thus anti-user) changes lately that are really pissing me off.

        I haven't noticed any. What kind of changes?

  • OS comparison (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheP4st (1164315) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @05:36AM (#43970773)
    I wonder if initially it were meant to be a OS comparison but the outcome were not the one wished for so they had to settle for a browser comparison.
  • I use firefox on my laptop almost exclusively (I don't drink tea), but on terminal servers i'd much prefer users ran IE than firefox. Memory is cheap but lots of memory is expensive, and the stats of IE vs FF on a terminal server shows IE using hardly any resources while firefox consumes much more memory and cpu.

    of course firefox is better so i'd expect it to use more power to better express it's awesomeness...

  • by bemymonkey (1244086) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @05:50AM (#43970829)

    As I type this in Firefox, Lenovo's Power Manager is showing power usage of about 6W. 1W less would be a 17% decrease! With the 9-cell battery currently attached, that's a 2h20m jump in battery life.

    Of course, I've already dropped FIrefox's power consumption significantly using Adblock, Noscript and so on, so it's unlikely I'll see a full Watt of improvement by switching to IE, but for others, this could be huge.

    • Of course, I've already dropped FIrefox's power consumption significantly using Adblock, Noscript and so on, so it's unlikely I'll see a full Watt of improvement by switching to IE, but for others, this could be huge.

      And you have found the real power guzzling culprit!

      Browsers wouldn't have to waste so much power if they didn't have to spend so much time processing crap rather than just displaying your content. On some web sites I have managed to vastly increase the speed and responsiveness of the sites just

  • by countach (534280) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @05:55AM (#43970857)

    I would have thought the fastest browser was the most efficient, thereby making the fastest browser also the most efficient in power. That makes this study very hard to believe.

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      I believe it. Firefox, Chrome, etc are all independent programs. IE however is part of the OS. Microsoft has been telling us that for years. :-)

    • I would have thought the fastest browser was the most efficient

      Why? You wouldn't assume the same of cars, would you?*

      *knowing my luck this will probably turn out to be obviously true

  • Test procedures (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @05:56AM (#43970863)

    Let's look at the test procedure in the actual report...

    Measure the true root-mean squared (rms) current, power, and voltage for each UUT over a six (6)-
    minute period at 1Hz (averaging over 1s period) for the following test conditions:
    a) Baseline: No browsers or other windows open
    i) First perform a preliminary measurement of power draw in this mode for the UUT, to
    ensure that the lowest suitable current range has been selected on the power meter to
    maximize measurement accuracy
    (1) Record the current range selected for testing the UUT
    (2) Record at least 6 minutes of ‘Baseline’ UUT operation with no browsers.
    (3) Move the mouse/trackpad once a minute to prevent the unit from going idle
    b) Static Website Test: Three different browsers (Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Mozilla
    Firefox) will be used. Each browser will be tested for the Top 10 U.S. websites as of March 25,
    2013 (listed below, from Alexa 2013). The UUT will then be rebooted after all ten websites have
    been tested. In all cases, the browser will have two ‘background tabs’ open to
    cse.fraunhofer.org and cfvsolar.com, both static landing pages.
    i) Each browser will be directed to the following websites, with all cookies accepted. Data
    logging will begin immediately when changing the target website to capture transitional
    power draw.
    (1) Google.com
    (2) Yahoo.com
    (3) Live.com
    (4) Youtube.com
    (5) Facebook.com
    (6) Wikipedia.org
    (7) Ebay.com
    (8) Amazon.com
    (9) Craigslist.org
    (10)Bing.com
    ii) Record all power, current, and voltage measurements in a database. Each test will take
    place for at least 6 minutes.
    iii) Move the mouse/trackpad once a minute to prevent the unit from going idle

    Notice the "at least 6 minutes" part...
    So if we change sites every 6 minutes with one browser and every 30 minutes with another, that's still perfectly valid.

    And then this gem:

    In addition, at the request of Microsoft we set the JavaScript timer frequency to “conserve power” in
    the Windows power options. We found, however, that the default Javascript time frequency for all
    computers tested was set to “maximum performance.” We did not investigate the impact of this setting
    upon browser power draw.

    • by Thornburg (264444)

      Please mod parent up.

      Who wants to be that the Windows Power option for JavaScript timer frequency only affects IE, and not other browsers on the machine?

  • In true /. tradition, I did not read the article. So perhaps the article contradicts me, but just bases upon the summery I could give an alternative explanation:
    It could have been that the following two things are true:
    1. IE is terrible in use. It is that horrible to work with that an average person browsing the web for 20 hours with IE reads only half the pages compared to an average person using Chrome or Firefox.
    2. IE is terrible in powermanagement. Within that 20 hour period, it will use almost the same

    • In true /. tradition, I did not read the article. So perhaps the article contradicts me

      Spoiler alert: it does.

  • Slower things need less energy...

  • by Bearhouse (1034238) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @06:28AM (#43970997)

    But you have to check the PDF to find that...
    http://preview.tinyurl.com/kyp6ypz [tinyurl.com]

    Selected quote: "The variation between websites and the technology they use seems to be far more significant, with YouTube clearly burning up to 3W more power than other popular sites such as Google. And more complex media experiences, delivered by sites using Flash or HTML5, appear to burn even more energy, with heavy HTML5 and Flash sites causing an increase in power draw of up to 8W or 9W (effectively adding 50 percent to the machine’s power draw)"

    So maybe IE can make more power-efficient use of Win8 when playing YouTube videos? Not really a surprise...
    Put noscript, adblock etc. into Ffox and save! (Also on bandwidth..)

    Would have been nice to have seen Fraunhofer (who conducted the survey) try and retain some shred of dignity by comparing performance on other platforms.
    How about Safari on PC & MAC? Chrome & F'fox on Linux also?
    Maybe because IE only runs natively on Windows?

  • OK. I could save one watt by running IE instead of [insert your favorite browser here]. But then I would have to run it on Windows, and install anti-mallware, anti-virus and other anti-CPU measures.
    I think I am much better off running a less efficient browser on Linux, even with a memory hog called KDE 4 running the whole show.

  • Use a dark colour as a background instead of white when drawing pixels.

  • It's like damning with faint praise, only they are doing it to themselves.

  • I'm guessing you know why that is.

  • by jibjibjib (889679) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @07:25AM (#43971251) Journal

    On a laptop or tablet, one watt is a lot of power to waste. But of course it looks small when you compare it to an irrelevant but very energy-intensive task and add some anti-Microsoft flamebait.

  • Meaning that IE was running on the test machines regardless of browser being tested, but the same wasn't true in inverse?

    Hardly seems fair to me.

    When IE first started getting forcefully integrated in the latter days of 95, even more so in the 98 days, one of the first things I would do is do every hack and trick I could find (usually available in handy "lite" programs) to remove IE from the background when you weren't using it. It was a major undeniable performance boost on those machines of the day. I'm

  • Offset against the millions of megawatt hours that have been burned by development teams wrestling with IE inconsistencies over the years I think they still have some way to go.
  • What the press release totally left out was that the power savings of running IE on Linux is 100% compared to running firefox on linux. I don't understand why MS wouldn't mention that in their own press release - I mean, how often does MS beat anybody on linux systems?

  • Yeah, because a whole watt of power is completely irrelevant when you're running on a battery.

    Submitter was in such a rush to bash MS he just sounded like an idiot (along with half the posters). I enjoy some good old fashioned Slashdot MS bashing, but let's make it good old fashioned MS bashing, okay?

    • Consider how much energy we would save as a species if IE never existed. I remember all the wasted time debugging and breaking my code to work with IE6. I still do have to write code that works in EVERY OTHER BROWSER without change, and then consistently does not work in IE, and requires additional effort to create. Consider that continuing to use IE means every web business wastes time making code that specifically panders to IE's broken rendering and javascript environments. I'm sorry. I remember t

  • It uses zero power on my computer. I never click on it.

  • Ridiculous bullshit. Focus on your damn core competency MS. You know, that shit you actually suck at now?

  • How much power does Windows 8 use compared to other operating systems? Perhaps you'll save enough money to make 2 cups of tea per week, but is that savings negated by running Windows 8 with both the Metro UI and the "desktop" mode with a separate version of IE in both modes? Compare that to Safari on OS X or Firefox/Chromium on Linux (gnome 3 vs fluxbox vs xmonad vs KDE...)

    I mean if we're just looking at power consumption here...

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