Support for hardware accelerated browsing
However, merely featuring a new, user-centric UI and support for the latest web standards amount to little if the browser is not fast enough to deliver an optimal online experience for its users. Fortunately, Internet Explorer 9 largely eliminates any performance-related issues with its support for hardware accelerated browsing, which leverages a PC's GPU (if available) for graphics rendering via the Direct2D API.
According to Hardman, Direct2D acceleration is one of the most important aspects of Internet Explorer 9 which sets the browser apart from its competition.
"This is a good example of the full power of the PC being utilized. Typically, in most browsing scenarios, users barely make use of the hardware within their PCs to its full potential. And yet today, you can buy a PC that costs less than US$500 and experience all rich content that the Internet can offer because IE9 supports hardware accelerated browsing," he said.
To prove his point, Hardman showed off a PC loaded with Internet Explorer 9 and hooked up to three displays while accessing a webpage. Unlike most typical webpages, this particular site had both a flashy interactive menu system and a video clip for a page background, but Internet Explorer 9 was able to attain a consistant frame rate of 27-30fps, in spite of the fact that the site was being viewed at the extremely high resolution of 3240 x 1826.
If that has got you interested in giving Internet Explorer 9 a spin, the good news is that Internet Explorer 9 is already available for download at http://www.beautyoftheweb.com/. However, users might want to take note of its system requirements: Vista users are required to have the SP2 updated installed before upgrading to Internet Explorer 9, and the browser will not run on any version of Windows XP.