back to article Chrome and Firefox are planet-wreckers, IE cuddles dolphins

Every one of us can do their bit to “save the planet”, whatever that means, and Microsoft has jumped aboard that bandwagon by commissioning a new study that investigates just how much electricity browsers consume when running on desktop and notebook computers. The Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems put its name to …

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Coat

I'm not surprised

The IE machines didn't have to do much. The connected and then spent the entire 6 minutes displaying a pop up asking if you wanted to download a more modern browser.

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Anonymous Coward

Especially

When they don't have to bother will implementing all those troublesome security measures and such.

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Re: I'm not surprised

Yep, a set time period seems like a thoroughly unfair test to me.

“We then measured the average power draw over one-second intervals for a six-minute period with each of the individual browsers open"

If I open IE on my work machine (which is the only time I open it), it huffs and puffs for a good while before it finally sorts itself out and loads the local intranet homepage.

A fairer test might be the total power draw over the time it takes to open the browser, load gmail, open and read a message, load YouTube, play one video and close again.

Never mind the power stats, I reckon IE on anything but a box fresh laptop would lose by about three minutes.

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Holmes

Re: MS TELLS TRUTH SHOCK

Eadon, you missed

"IE sucks less power than rival browsers but simply sucks"

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JDX
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Re: MS TELLS TRUTH SHOCK

People were using it in this test. Try to come up with something that at least makes sense.

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Re: MS TELLS TRUTH SHOCK

"IE sucks less power than rival browsers"

Could have just been written

"IE sucks"

and everyone would be happy...

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Linux

Re: MS TELLS TRUTH SHOCK

No, sir, you have it wrong!!!

"IE sucks less power more than rival browsers"

FTFY!!

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Holmes

Any power consumption results by OS?

I have friends who run Linux distros on relatively old hardware ( coincidentally, they are the ones who asked me to install a good antivirus, Libre / Open office depending on how long ago it was, or just if I could make their boxes go a little faster ). They perform as well as newer hardware with Windows on it, but my guess is that they are less power hungry. Would Microsoft care to do a little research on that too?

It would also be interesting to see if there are variations when it comes to typing a text document or creating a spreadsheet...

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FAIL

Re: Any power consumption results by OS?

Oh, Eadon, Eadon, Eadon.....

Running on old hardware does not equal less power draw. One of the reasons people research newer and better hardware is to reduce the power requirements.

Run a hefty datacentre on Pentiun 2 boxes and see how long before it catches fire.

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Windows

Re: Any power consumption results by OS?

<= not

Unfortunately, the problem is total power consumption over the life cycle - when you scrap a computer you are scraping the energy used to make it. You cannot recover that energy by buying a new "more efficient" computer.

The United Nations University produced a study in which it calculated that it took (from memory) 26 000 litre of oil (and 1 000 litre of water) plus all the other stuff to make a computer.

Separately it would be interesting to see how much energy any particular cross-platform application used on each platform, to remove any possibility that some of the leg work is being done by the OS in certain cases.

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Re: Any power consumption results by OS?

"26 000 litre of oil....."

So even at a conservative estimate of 20p per litre for the oil that would be £5200 per computer just for the energy - better upgrade your memory

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Re: Any power consumption results by OS?

The old P4 chips were the worst - the limiting factor on their performance was generally how much power they could dissipate without melting. Generally modern chips are far more efficient in processing-capacity-per-watt, due to a combination of improved fab technology (lower nm = more efficient) and a design focus more orientated towards portable devices rather than trying to just crunch numbers as fast as possible.

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Re: Any power consumption results by OS?

Although the old P4's were very heat inneficient, you also need to take into account the extra heating costs associated with upgrading to newer chips - since I got rid of my old P4 I have had to put the central heating back on in winter where previously I just had to leave the computer running........

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Re: Any power consumption results by OS?

Hang on, you reckon it takes about two dozen tons of crude oil to make 30kg of computer?

Colour me mauve.

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Linux

Re: Any power consumption results by OS?

You're spot on gerryg, but you can take this even further. People seem to forget that if an O/S demands replacement higher spec hardware, even if that PC is more energy efficient, the raw materials have to be mined, transported, processed, manufacturing plants modified, lighting, heating of buildings, advertising for retail, manufacturing of packaging, patents. The list of dependencies is vast, and all activities involved consume electricity at some point to do.

All driven by Microsoft top bods and vested interests whose primary interests are are wealth and power and control of resources, not the benefit of humanity or the planet.

IE cuddles the dolphins to distract them, while Windows destroys their habitat and spreads dolphin hating gossip.

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JLV
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Re: Any power consumption results by OS?

>that would be £5200 per computer

good catch.

amusing to see people so numerically challenged in this industry.

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Holmes

“installed three popular browsers, Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer, and Mozilla Firefox, on six new notebook and four desktop computers running Windows 8.”

Running Windows 8. That's your problem right there.

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Indeed… they should try booting up a Linux distribution, and see what Chrome and Firefox are like there compared to the Linux baseline.

Okay, we can't easily test what IE would be like under Linux since IE doesn't easily run under Linux (well, IE6 does... I've done it before and you can find instructions here), but it'd be interesting to see if the overheads of Firefox and Chrome running on Windows are anything like that on Linux.

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Ohh, and if people are trying to reach the page in that screenshot, it's here.

When I ran that test, I found IE used more CPU time, while Firefox used more memory. Chrome didn't exist back then, in fact I think that test predates Webkit... although Webkit's daddy (KHTML; part of the Konqueror web browser) was lurking on that computer so I could've tried it at the time.

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JDX
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Yeah because W8 isn't more resource-efficient than W7, which was better than Vista. Oh wait, it is.

And good job for failing at science, when they eliminate the baseline the fact it's W8 is not a factor.

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Running Windows 8. That's your problem right there.

FTFY!

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Yeah because W8 isn't more resource-efficient than W7, which was better than Vista. Oh wait, it is.

Yes because half the guts of IE aren't part of the OS and already running in the background, and Microsoft don't have a bunch of hidden API calls that other browser manufacturers can't reliably use.

Oh wait, they do.

And yet they can still only manage such slim margins over the browser with the renowned weight problem, Firefox? This... is not impressive.

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Boffin

WIthout a lot more details of the testing process

that whole comparison is pretty pointless.

I can't help feeling that a better comparison would be between browsers running out of the box, and browsers run with the minimum of scripts (ideally none) and with the adverts blocked... it's hard to see how much power is required to display a static image...

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Re: WIthout a lot more details of the testing process

Research published by a vendor, in a public journal, that shows the vendor's product is best? Be critical.

Research published by a vendor, in a press release, that shows the vendor's product is best? Be thoroughly skeptical.

Research published by a vendor, in a press release, that shows the vendor's product is best but doesn't describe the method used? Ignore it, as it probably came straight from the marketing department with no actually research being carried out.

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Anonymous Coward

Yeah right...

... and that tiny power saving is nothing compared to the power spent thrashing the hard drive for 4 minutes as my laptop starts up....

Frankly if this is how far MS have sunk then god help everyone.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Start up

You might want to look into the use of the hibernation feature. It is very useful.

Less than ten seconds from cold to working with all of your programs still running as you left them. Much less wear on your disk.

My computers both desktop and laptop hardly ever need to be booted any more.

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Anonymous Coward

Hibernation

How do people still not know about this and somehow not find out about it when they are moaning about boot-up times?

The technology has been supported since Windows 95.

Maybe, if you have a problem, rather than bleating moronically you could alternatively use the same general-purpose computing device you are sitting at or holding to perform a web search that may help you to solve the issue?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hibernation

Yes. 20 people were happy to 'me too' when a comment is MS-bashing. Not one reader thought to suggest the appropriate use of well-established power management features or to question that a four-minute boot time is by no means normal on modern hardware and might indicate some kind of more serious fault.

Your machine did not take that long to start when it was new. The company that wrote the operating system software installed on your computer are not responsible for the durability of your hardware. All of the cruft and possibly malware you have installed since then is not their fault. The onus falls on you as the owner to perform suitable periodic maintenance.

Hell, a good start might be to defrag the disc - there's a boot-time optimisation switch for just this purpose.

I'm pretty sure that you actually have a brain - how about putting it to some use? It's amazing what one can achieve when one puts his or her mind to solving problems, rather than always expecting someone else to change your nappy for you.

Are they really that stupid? Yes. That is why we call them "commentards".

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Browser setup?

Hmmm... First of all, how about running on Windows7 (or even XP)?

Second - I couldn't see what configurations they used for the various browsers. Were they running with plugins? If so, which? Did they represent a standard home setup?

Inquiring minds want to-... ah, who cares - it's an MS propaganda piece. Never trust a paid-for piece that says the paid-for item is better than the others. I'll wait for independent testing, TYVM.

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JDX
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Re: Browser setup?

Well IE9/10 doesn't run on XP for a start.

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Incomplete

The experiment only seems to measure power consumption in a static situation. Most browser use involves opening the browser, spending a period of time actually using the browser to achieve an aim and then closing it. The overall energy consumption is then significantly affected by how efficient the browser is - but that isn't tested.

So no : it's an interesting result, but not detailed enough to justify any meaningful conclusions.

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Re: Incomplete

I'm not sure why someone would open a browser, except if the power went off and they had to reboot. In any case, I just turned off JavaScript and the lights in the room got brighter, so you're probably right about the results not being detailed enough to justify any meaningful conclusions.

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Re: Incomplete

I'm the sort that doesn't leave things running in the background unless I actually want to use them in the near future, particularly browsers. Granted, if I'm in the minority then efficiency isn't necessarily significant.

I would have liked to have seen results based on representative operational scenarios, and these graphs sure aren't that.

It's all a bit academic, mind - (most) people choose browsers for what they do, not to be eco-friendly.

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JDX
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Re: Incomplete

Do you also make sure to turn off unused power sockets so the electricity doesn't leak out?

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Sitting in the office in the dark saves power too.

Hardly fruitful though.

Same goes for IE - it needs a more power hungry OS to host it - or at least I assume it does: W8 requires at least a 1Mhz processor. I've used firefox on a 90Mhz pentium so that suggests it can run on 1/10th the power. This is a valid comparison as the above test.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: W8 on a 1Mhz processor

Now that I would like to see.

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Re: Sitting in the office in the dark saves power too.

1/10th Clock Cycle != 1/10th power consumption.

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Re: Sitting in the office in the dark saves power too.

Also, getting rid of that 100w power sucking incandescent, and replacing it with a 15w CFL does the same thing.

</sarcasm>

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FAIL

Re: W8 on a 1Mhz processor

Now that I would like to see.

Time from cold power on to full desktop - 15 years!!!!

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Awsome, now we only need...

...a version for OS X and another for Linux.

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Flame

Muhahahaha

I have firefox/Adblock/flashblock and Internet Explorer on this corpo PC. The Internet Explorer "experience" is royal shit, because I can't block all those CPU-hungry flash ads, animated GIFs and all those other distractions. Just scrolling up and down with IE is a mess because it has to render some stupid commercial and it has to move that portion of the screen up and down.

Rendering movies and animated ads clearly is as power-hungry as it can get. So, factoing in Adblock and Flashblock, my guess is that firefox takes about 1/10th of energy consumption compared to Internet Explorer.

Regarding Fraunhofer, they are supposed to finance themselves by 70% from commercial funding and 30% from public funding. They had some massive successes in the past (e.g. MP3), but this smells of being the sales-bitch of M$. Nor much science to see here.

If they wanted to do real science, they should compare Flash player with VLC. I recently ran youtube videos properly using VLC, which would not run properly on the weak celeron Under Test using Flash Player.

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Re: Muhahahaha

You can block most of the shit with a few TPLs.

Personally, I too run Firefox but let's not pretend IE = ads. It only does that if you're clueless.

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FAIL

Re: Muhahahaha

Eadon, you seem clueless about what real and big businesses run on their computers and they do it for some very good reasons, i.e most of them choose IE. At home i use FF but some financial sites dont work with FF correctly so i need to sometimes use IE. When using IE i also add an adblocker. I also have two PCs running Linux.

Time and time again you spout crap opinion void of facts, bringing open source into disrepute, hanging on to hope that opinions are more valid than facts - but only in politics Eadon, not in the real world, you'd make a great gobsh!te of a politician; con dem lab, take your pick.

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