June 7, 2013
A Microsoft-sponsored study by Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems concludes that Internet Explorer (IE) consumes less wattage than Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.
According to the Fraunhofer report, IE used less power than either of its top rivals when accessing the top 10 sites on the Internet, although it also runs slightly slower.
To make this determination, Fraunhofer installed Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox, on six new notebook and four desktop computers running Windows 8. Researchers then measured the average power draw over one-second intervals for a six-minute period with each browser accessing the 10 most popular websites in the U.S. Power draw for both the Flash and HTML5 versions of an online video, as well as the Fishbowl HTML5 benchmark were also recorded.
The top 10 websites used in the test were: YouTube, Yahoo, Bing, Amazon, eBay, Google, Facebook, Live.com, Wikipedia and Craigslist.
“Our measurements show that the Internet browsers tested increased computer power draw by an average of about seven to 13 percent for notebooks and three to five percent for desktops, relative to an ‘idle’ baseline,” the report reads. “For the top 10 U.S. websites tested, average computer power draw increased the most while using the Chrome browser and the least while using the Internet Explorer browser. Variations in power draw among the websites tested were of a similar magnitude as differences in power draw among browsers.”
While Microsoft did indeed use less power for both laptops and desktops when surfing the popular websites, the difference between its power usage and that of Firefox and Chrome was not substantial — two percent at the most.
When it came to the HTML5-based websites, power usage went up substantially, the report says.
“Testing of two HTML5 websites (one benchmark, one video) and one Flash video found that both appear to increase power draw significantly more than the top 10 websites tested,” reads the study. “Most notably, the HTML5 benchmark test condition more than doubled the notebook power draw for all computers and browsers tested, while desktop power draw increased by approximately 50 percent.”
Fraunhofer said it was unable to draw accurate conclusions about the power draw of HTML5 websites without further testing.
But, according to PC World, Microsoft is claiming IE uses 18.6 percent less power than Chrome when running Flash. Microsoft also said if Americans were all to convert to IE, the energy saved would power 10,000 U.S. households for one year, or provide the carbon reduction equivalent of growing 2.2 million trees for 10 years.