Recent Microsoft and Intel primers on Internet Explorer 9's accelerated graphics point to snappier Web browsing.
Microsoft will launch the beta of the upcoming Internet Explorer browser on Wednesday at an event in San Francisco as competition from Chrome, Firefox, and Safari has spurred Redmond to beef up its graphics acceleration, among other improvements. And Intel is slated to introduce its Sandy Bridge chip architecture, with features enhanced graphics silicon, at the Intel Developer Forum, which begins on Monday.
In a blog posted on Friday, Microsoft spelled out what it says are the merits of "full vs. partial acceleration," while Intel, in a new video, is claiming IE9 acceleration on its Core i series of chips--which will include new Sandy Bridge processors.
Graphics chip-based acceleration (Microsoft calls it "hardware acceleration") shifts some tasks from the main processor (CPU) to the graphics processor (GPU). Mainstream GPUs pack in dozens or even hundreds of processing cores. While each GPU core delivers a tiny fraction of the processing power of a CPU core, combined, they can tackle certain tasks much more quickly and efficiently than a CPU. Intel, for its part, has improved the built-in graphics on its Core i series of processors and will integrate its fastest graphics function yet onto the CPU in its upcoming Sandy Bridge processor.
In the Microsoft blog, Ted Johnson, program manager lead for Web graphics at Microsoft, explained the merits of a "fully-hardware accelerated display pipeline that runs from their markup to the screen."
In March, Johnson explains, Microsoft released the first IE9 Platform Preview with GPU-powered HTML5 turned on by default, enabling hardware acceleration on "everything on every Web page" including text, images, backgrounds, borders, SVG (scalable vector graphics) content, and HTML5 video and audio.… Read more