Internet Explorer 9 – 64-bit vs. 32-bit – Part 4: Speed

Internet Explorer 9 64-bit speed benchmarks confirm that it faster than the IE 32-bit. Does browser speed really matter?

Michael PietroforteMVP By Michael Pietroforte - Thu, December 9, 2010 - 3 comments google+ icon

Michael Pietroforte is the founder and editor of 4sysops. He is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) with more than 30 years of experience in system administration.

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Internet Explorer 9

So if Internet Explorer 9 64-bit isn’t more reliable, perhaps it scores when it comes to speed? If you’ve been reading 4sysops for some time, you probably know that I don’t miss any opportunity to ridicule the browser speed obsession the IT community enjoys so much. Of course, I am thankful for yet another chance to make some fun of this irrational discussion. If you are one of those IT pros who are so proud to use the fastest and coolest browser, you had better skip the cynical part in this post. I will warn you early enough.

The question whether IE 64-bit performs better than IE 32-bit arises because of the undying myth that 64-bit in general improves speed. But let’s see what others have to say about the speed of IE 9 64-bit.

FavBrowser.com ran some speed benchmarks with the latest version of IE 9 32-bit and 64-bit. The results are quite remarkable. In most of the disciplines, IE 9 64-bit outpaced IE 9 32-bit by far. The same guys ran a comparable test with IE 7 64-bit and 32-bit a while back. The results are similar, although it appears to me the performance difference between 64-bit and 32-bit has become bigger with IE 9.

Inter-browser performance comparisons usually use the 32-bit editions. This is because 64-bit browsing is still quite uncommon and, as far as I know, Firefox is the only alternative browser that is available as a 64-bit edition.

If 64-bit is really so much faster than 32-bit, I am starting to wonder if over all these years where IE has been the tail ender where really justified considering that IE 64-bit is so lightning fast.

Does it make sense to face numerous compatibility problems with IE 9 64-bit in order to run the allegedly fastest and most robust browser? From the introduction of this post, you know my answer already. But let me make my point clearer with yet another analogy.

<Cynical part> I have no doubts that a Ferrari is significantly faster than a Fiat. If you drive your Ferrari on a Formula race track, you have a fair chance of leaving the Fiat in the dust and winning this “benchmark.” And, yes, in normal city traffic, sometimes you might reach the next traffic light a few seconds before your lame rival to your left.

However, 99.9% of the time, when you drive from A to B you will arrive at the same time regardless of whether you take the Ferrari or the Fiat. In the other 0.1% of the time, you might arrive a bit later with the Ferrari because you missed the traffic light turning green while flirting with the girl who pulled up next to you.

Now, many of you tech freaks will reply: “This doesn’t matter at all because I would always go for the Ferrari anyway.” Good that we understand each other because you now know why most male geeks always need the fastest available web browser. What they don’t know is, the girls don’t really care about fast browsers.</Cynical part>

Series NavigationInternet Explorer 9 – 64-bit vs. 32-bit – Part 3: Reliability - Do browsers matter?

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3 Comments- Leave a Reply

  1. Flurgy says:

    I agree that calculating browser speed down to the microsecond is absolutely pointless. For 99% of everyone, the network connection is the true bottleneck.

  2. Good that at least someone agrees. Are you male or female? ;-)

  3. John says:

    Being both a Mac user and a PC user with Windows 7. I have found IE9 64 bit a little faster loading Flash and some other media content. Its nice to finally have a 64 bit Flash player. As for Mac I find Chrome 32 bit much faster then Safari which has had a long defined string of demise in speed rendering. I sometime switch Safari to 32 bit and find it faster then its 64 bit version? Others may have different results and I think plug in’s have a lot to do with browser speed. Safari for some time has always been faster without Flash and its probably why Apple has choose to stop including Flash in new Mac’s.

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