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Microsoft Boasts of Tiny Energy Saving With IE

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the grasping-for-microwatts dept.

Internet Explorer 243

judgecorp writes "Microsoft has sponsored research that indicates that its Internet Explorer browser uses less power than the competition, Firefox and Google (there's no explanation of what causes the difference). However, the difference in power use is not really significant — it's about one Watt when browsing. Browsing for 20 hours at this rate, the IE user would save enough power to make a cup of tea, compared with Firefox and Chrome users. That Microsoft commissioned and published the report seems to indicate a certain desperation to Microsoft's IE marketing efforts."

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It adds up (5, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#43970703)

...a certain desperation to Microsoft's IE marketing efforts

Not at all. If you run a company with 10,000 PCs then it's a significant saving.

Re:It adds up (5, Funny)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#43970711)

What company is stupid enough to pay for 10,000 Windows licences?

Re:It adds up (5, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#43970729)

Well..certainly not one that would allow their employees to have two extra cups of tea per week.

Re:It adds up (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43970785)

Thousands of companies a lot wealtheir and more successful than you, dipshit.

Re:It adds up (0)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#43971053)

such as....?

Re:It adds up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43971105)

Really, insert any fortune 500 company here

Re:It adds up (0)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#43971179)

ok... so name a fortune 500 company that has 10,000 windows licenses?

Re:It adds up (2)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | about a year ago | (#43971187)

Apple?

Re:It adds up (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | about a year ago | (#43970981)

All of them

Re:It adds up (5, Informative)

aglider (2435074) | about a year ago | (#43970727)

Yes, only if all of them are just browsing the internet all the time.
But if they are making real work, maybe the results would not be that good.

Re:It adds up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43970867)

Maybe their core business apps are delivered through a browser.

Re:It adds up (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#43971073)

then they would use linux and save real money

Re:It adds up (5, Insightful)

LordThyGod (1465887) | about a year ago | (#43970941)

Yes, only if all of them are just browsing the internet all the time. But if they are making real work, maybe the results would not be that good.

You have to consider the source here too ... its Microsoft. It was "sponsored" research, which translates to "rigged" test with rigged results. So it is indeed done for marketing purposes, or why else do it. Probably a simple web page with little css or js. You can't take anything they say at face value.

Re:It adds up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43970975)

You obviously didn't bother to click on the link to the article and watch the pictures.

There's a nice graph showing the power draw vs browser for a number of common websites (from YouTube to Craigslist).

Re:It adds up (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43970995)

And no mention of test conditions... with the actual report containing niceties like this:

In addition, at the request of Microsoft we set the JavaScript timer frequency to “conserve power” in
the Windows power options. We found, however, that the default Javascript time frequency for all
computers tested was set to “maximum performance.” We did not investigate the impact of this setting
upon browser power draw.

Re:It adds up (4, Insightful)

1s44c (552956) | about a year ago | (#43971175)

You have to consider the source here too ... its Microsoft. It was "sponsored" research, which translates to "rigged" test with rigged results. So it is indeed done for marketing purposes, or why else do it. Probably a simple web page with little css or js. You can't take anything they say at face value.

I don't think they go as far as rigging the research. What I think they do is pay for thousands of very specific research topics and publish the ones that show them favorably and bury all the others.

If this is the best they could come up with they really are losing the browser war.

Re:It adds up (2)

ameen.ross (2498000) | about a year ago | (#43970757)

I fail to see how using IE over the other major browsers yields a net saving. Power usage is only one factor. And it still remains to be seen how objective this sponsored study really is, as MS doesn't have the best track record in that regard.

Re:It adds up (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#43970881)

I fail to see how using IE over the other major browsers yields a net saving...

...so therefore it can't be true?

Must be nice to be omniscient.

Re:It adds up (2)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | about a year ago | (#43970989)

I fail to see how using IE over the other major browsers yields a net saving. Power usage is only one factor.

That is the biggest factor that makes this dumb.

So you save a little electricity - how much are you losing elsewhere in lost productivity, insecurity, virus infestations, etc, because you are using IE?

Re:It adds up (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#43971095)

how much are you losing elsewhere in lost productivity, insecurity, virus infestations, etc, because you are using IE

IT support contractors are doing quite nicely

Re: It adds up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43971111)

THIS

I wa thinking the same thing. I watch an Architect in my office wastes so much time with IE misery I finally introduced him to Chrome. He was blown away at actually being able to browse th winter net with Chrome! LOL. ignorance is bliss for IE fanbois.

Re:It adds up (5, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year ago | (#43970843)

The difference is about 5% in power use of the computers only. Which may translate to 1% or less overall savings.

However IE is also slower in rendering pages, causing productivity loss (a few seconds a page of employee time eaten up) which easily costs more than the energy cost saved.

Re:It adds up (3, Insightful)

jimshatt (1002452) | about a year ago | (#43970909)

And besides that, you'd really need to calculate energy cost per rendered page. I might be able to make a browser that uses half the energy competing browsers use, but renders 2.5 times slower. But yeah, productivity loss is probably even more significant.

Re:It adds up (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year ago | (#43970971)

Rendering is only part of the energy use.

YouTube is at the top of the power-hungry pages, which is of course caused by the flash plugin playing video. Other pages will have moving ads, that also continue to use energy. Rendering will likely cause a power spike when loading a page, however thinking of dynamic pages like /. discussion, where you can show and hide pieces of the page, rendering is more continuous. So the time spent reading, commenting, the amount of extra comments opened: it all adds to power use.

They must have come up wiht some "typical use case" and then replicate that over the various sites they tested. And it is of course telling that barebones site Craigslist is the most energy efficient.

Re:It adds up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43970921)

Bollocks. A few seconds? Seriously, I've seen people waste more time looking for a stapler.

Re:It adds up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43970965)

Sure. And same company would have to pay additional admins to troubleshoot security problems.

Also, same company probably would have higher losses in performance of employees who use mentioned browser.
Doesn't look like your argument holds the ground.

Re:It adds up (5, Informative)

DeathToBill (601486) | about a year ago | (#43971011)

No it's bloody not. Honestly people have some weird ideas about arithmetic. If your average PC uses 100W then the difference in browser power usage, 1W, is 1% of that usage. It doesn't somehow magically become 50% if you're running 10,000 PCs - it's still 1%.

But, for the same of argument, let's do the math. A company with 10,000 PCs each consuming 100W during work hours is using 1,950 MWhr (100W * 37.5 hours per week * 52 weeks per year * 10000 PCs / 1000000 W per MW = 1950) per year to power those PCs. Retail electricity is around 12.86 p/kWhr, so they're spending £250k (1950 kWhr * 12.86 p/kWhr * 1000 kW per MW / 100 p per £) on electricity to power their PCs.

A company with 10,000 PCs presumably has 10,000 employees to use those PCs. Suppose they all earn the minimum wage full time, costing £12,000 each (£6.19 per hour x 37.5 hours per week * 52 weeks = £12,070.50 per year - call it £12k). Those 10,000 employees cost the company £120 million per year.

So our company with 10,000 PCs is spending £250k on electricity and £120m on wages. But wait! All those savings will add up! Suppose those users spend every working hour browsing the web. That means they would each save 1950 Whr per year (37.5 hours per week * 52 weeks per year * 1W). Retail electricity is 12.86 p/kWhr, so each employee saves a whacking great... um... 25p per year (1950 Whr * 12.86 p/kWhr / 1000 W per kW). Yes, all those savings add up to £2,500 across the whole company. That's 0.0021% of your combined staff and electricity costs.

Now suppose you live in the real world and not all your employees work in front of a PC all the time and they only spend about 75% of their time browsing the web when they do and some of them, God forbid, take a holiday every now and then. How much do those savings add up to? Sweet. Bugger. All.

Re:It adds up (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43971147)

Don't turn your nose up at £2,500! That could get you another ivory back-scratcher.

Re:It adds up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43971091)

1 W * 10,000 PCs = 10 KW * capacity factor. For the sake of the argument, let's pick a fairly high value: 25%. This comes to 2.5 KW. Retail costs are about $0.10/KWh [eia.gov] right now, so this would come to a savings of $2,190/yr. For a company that has 10,000 PCs, this is nothing. The cost of paying 10,000 employees would be around half a billion dollars. The time it would cost the IT department to switch browsers, train users, and get everybody configured would exceed the cost saved by 2 or 3 orders of magnitude. Only an idiot manager would use this 1 W "cost savings" to require the users to switch to IE. Thus, it is likely going to happen in many, many places.

Silly IE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43970707)

you can almost here those advertisers crying

Re:Silly IE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43970735)

ear and there!

Re:Silly IE (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#43971119)

they're just trying to create a "green" browser and latch onto the government environmental innovation funding tit

Browser energy? (3, Funny)

aglider (2435074) | about a year ago | (#43970719)

I'd like to know how can they tell whether the energy has been ate by the browser, the scheduler, the idle process or whatever else is in a Windows OS!!!
And I bet that IE v1 (not v10) would eat much less power as it supports a tiny slice of HTML and other web related technologies.

Re:Browser energy? (1)

Onymous Coward (97719) | about a year ago | (#43970743)

Maybe they measured power consumption with IE running and then not, or then with a different browser. The power difference is really the result of the browser, isn't it? If it's the only thing changing?

Re:Browser energy? (1)

ameen.ross (2498000) | about a year ago | (#43970769)

True, but GP does have a point. What if the scheduler really has some inefficiencies (IE bugs that need fixing) that only MS' devs know about? But let's not go down that rabbit hole.

Re:Browser energy? (2)

aglider (2435074) | about a year ago | (#43970793)

In a real world system, nothing stands still and everything is in flux.
Unless you can finely account for every single CPU instruction and hardware activity to the browsing, then it's unlikely your "test with and without" will yield anything relevant.
Even if you reboot the system after every single test you won't be able to get the very same "execution environment".
And this is why I am asking: there seems to be not enough information on how the test has been conducted and measured.
To me it smells like crap. I could be wrong, but the smell is awful.

Re:Browser energy? (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#43971127)

To me it smells like crap. I could be wrong, but the smell is awful.

will you stop shitting in your pants... seriously dude... you'll only be away from your pyewta for a couple of minutes

Re:Browser energy? (2)

agm (467017) | about a year ago | (#43971031)

A better comparison would be IE running on the OS that is required to run it compared to Chrome running on a different OS. keep in mind that to run the IE OS you also need a vurs checker running. I'm sure the IE/Windows/Virus checker combination would gobble more power than, say, a Linux compiled from source targetted to the hardware and running Chrome.

Re:Browser energy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43971153)

In what world are you living that you get to pick your company's hardware and software based upon browser electrical usage? Running IE vs running another browser should be the only things that change on the test system. Changing anything else means you are no longer testing the browser. If you have a virus scanner, it'll be running for all browsers.

Re:Browser energy? (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#43971165)

keep in mind that to run the IE OS you also need a vurs checker running

as much as i'm a linux fanboi with no sympathy for microsoft i have to call bs on this one

you don't need a virus scanner in windows and even if you have one it probably won't save you anyway... hardened IE security settings and disabling of plugins should be sufficient unless you're into warez and porn, and if you're dumb enough to click on links in unsolicited email you deserve a good infection

on a different note, lynx would be way more power-efficient than IE :)

Re:Browser energy? (2)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | about a year ago | (#43970821)

I normally don't care about browser power usage, until I'm trying to maximise the time left on my laptop battery, and then I play close attention to CPU usage and power consumption.

On my laptop Konqueror wins by a very wide margin when it comes to being able to browse the Internet for as long as possible on a single charge. Firefox and Chrome are absolute pigs by comparison.

What about the biscuits? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43970725)

Browsing for 20 hours at this rate, the IE user would save enough power to make a cup of tea

Hell, it's not like us Brits need another excuse for a cuppa.

"Ah go on, afterall I've been very good with the electricity this week..."

Megawatts worldwide (2, Insightful)

Camembert (2891457) | about a year ago | (#43970737)

It is a small saving on one computer, but take all the computers with IE in the world and it becomes a lot of megawatts. It wouldn't be a bad idea from an ecological viewpoint if this kind of efficiency became more important.

Re:Megawatts worldwide (2)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about a year ago | (#43970795)

amen to that. Its not just ecological issues that benefit from efficiency - there's a reason why modern applications run about the same perceived speed as their ancient counterparts did on ancient hardware - generally its because the programming involved is now built on layers of layers of abstracted frameworks.

For example, I run a few graphics-intensive games and they work fine, then I run a couple of not-so graphically intensive games that were written using XNA and the cooling fans come on full blast. I don't think its a coincidence that the 'easy to use' abstraction of XNA leads to overall inefficient use of my gfx card (and the power required to run it) where the better libraries that require better developer skills don't.

If MS is targeting efficiency, then we should see an improvement in speed as well as saving the planet from all those millions of PCs running these things.

Re:Megawatts worldwide (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43970919)

You mean "take all computers with IE _10_", which is not that much. IE 8, on the other hand, is a fucking cycle (and by extension, watt) hogging behemoth.

Chrome and FF run on those computers just fine.

Disable Flash (5, Informative)

ninjanissan (1612103) | about a year ago | (#43970741)

Now what would really save some energy on many computers would be to disable Flash. Flash commercials on some sites really waste many CPU cycles (energy). On my poor old computer it is clearly visible on the CPU load :) If you are using a laptop it will also make your battery last longer as a bonus!

Re:Disable Flash (1)

TheP4st (1164315) | about a year ago | (#43970831)

On my poor old computer it is clearly visible on the CPU load :)

I am able to hear from a significant distance when the fans struggle to keep the machine alive as my wife play candy crush on her macbook pro, nothing else that she does on it is causing the same desperate whirring of the fans.

Re:Disable Flash (1)

Nutria (679911) | about a year ago | (#43970979)

On my poor old computer it is clearly visible on the CPU load

Flashblock FTW!

That is quite a bit of power! (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about a year ago | (#43970745)

The energy needed to brew a cup of tea is definitly NOT small compared to the energy that is available in your cellphone battery.

Re:That is quite a bit of power! (1)

xaxa (988988) | about a year ago | (#43970819)

Using this [confused.com] (so making five cups at once):

2.2kW * 3 minutes / 5 = 0.022kWh.

1W * 20 hours = 0.020kWh (the extra energy used by Chrome).

However, I think the whole thing's rubbish -- I don't constantly load websites, I load them once (which takes a few seconds -- or longer if it's IE), then spend time reading the page.

Re:That is quite a bit of power! (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about a year ago | (#43970907)

Ok... so just assume that a typical cellphone battery has a capacity of 2000mAh and a voltage of 5V, then the power stored in it would be something around 0.01 kWh

So you would need the energy of TWO whole cellphone batteries to make a cup of tea.

The difference would be that browsing 20 hours with IE means that you have to go two charching cycles less within those 20 hours than with another browser.

Now we only would need to compare this to a typical number of recharching cycles for 20 hours nonstop-browsing.

But still, it's meaningless if it's only visible on dasktop machines and/or they don't know why IE uses less energy.

As I'm English (1)

maroberts (15852) | about a year ago | (#43970747)

I'm just going to have a cup of tea whilst I read this...

Re:As I'm English (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43970777)

I'm going to google how to make a cup of tea and watch 5 videos on youtube about it. Then make a cup of tea using a fully filled kettle that I've reboiled 3 times.

Desperation? (1)

DeathToBill (601486) | about a year ago | (#43970751)

Yes, though maybe not corporate desperation. More like some idiot in marketing commissioned some idiot study then desperately had to have something to show for the money.

Shame about teh malware consumption... (0)

telchine (719345) | about a year ago | (#43970755)

Unfortunately every Toolbar that gets installed by accident adds another two watts, and every bitcoin mining piece of Malware that IE lets in adds 100W

Theehee thats a bad comparison (2)

Barryke (772876) | about a year ago | (#43970765)

No matter how silly the original article is, this /. article is even lamer.

Browsing for 20 hours at this rate, the IE user would save enough power to make a cup of tea,

Heating thee? Thats a really bad comparison!

Or .. a good one if you realize how inefficient heating with electricity is, especially relatively to other useful household things such as anything with batteries, your DVR, the lighting, a tablet, or even a laptop.
On my 35W laptop this means 3% power savings.

(my dupe comment on a dupe submission: http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3846941&cid=43962015 [slashdot.org] )

This article seems to wind down on the marketing effort. Whats news in that? I rather like this fact exposing instead of the shockshell courtroom cases.

Re:Theehee thats a bad comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43970835)

Actually heating with electricity is 100% efficient, if you don't take into account the production and transport of the electricity to your home. Of course those very same production and transport losses will also happen for the electricity you use to drive your computer (and if it's a laptop on battery power, you'll have to add the losses from the battery charging cycle to that), and are certainly not included in that 1W savings figure.

BTW, I'd expect the power requirement of the browser to be strongly dependent on the processor. Especially I strongly doubt that IE on the processor of your 35W laptop will save you 1W, even if your surfing behaviour happens to match exactly the test scenario.

And BTW, the meaningful number would not be the absolute wattage, but the relative one. If IE consumes 0.1W where FF consumes 1.1, that's a significant difference. If IE consumes 1000W where FF consumes 1001W, the difference is negligible. And yes, the first pair of numbers is ridiculously low, while the second pair is ridiculously high, but that's intentional, to make the point more clearly.

Finally, I'd bet FF with AdBlock and NoScript consumes less energy than IE without those.

Re:Theehee thats a bad comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43971089)

Making tea isn't 100% efficient. The kettle doesn't magically remain at room temperature while heating the water to boiling point. Unfortunately, their calculation does seem to assume 100% efficiency or very small cups of tea, because 20Wh is enough to heat 215g of water by 80C (i.e. from room temperature to boiling).

Re:Theehee thats a bad comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43971135)

I don't know what tea cups you are used to, but I'd say that is quite a big tea cup.

Re:Theehee thats a bad comparison (1)

telchine (719345) | about a year ago | (#43970841)

Heating thee? Thats a really bad comparison!

It was RIGHT THERE in the summary! In fact, you QUOTED that part of the summary! It's a three letter word and you STILL screwed it up THAT badly?

Re:Theehee thats a bad comparison (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43970943)

Maybe in his language tea is spelled thee and since it sounds pretty much the same he accidentally typed the word from his native language? Have a bit of tolerance for people communicating in other languages. Then again maybe it was auto-correct's fault...

On the other hand... (5, Funny)

gishzida (591028) | about a year ago | (#43970771)

Microsoft failed to mention the amount of power wasted cleaning up malware infections brought about because IE is not able to block malware 'mouse over' attacks. "Ad Block Plus" and "No Script" kill crapware attacks before they happen... unfortunately IE is part of the problem rather than the solution.

Re:On the other hand... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43970945)

Have you tried IE 10? Seriously, actually given it a go? Or are you just speaking out of zealotry rather than experience? FF has made some anti-customisation (and thus anti-user) changes lately that are really pissing me off. I think they've gotten a bit big-headed, or they're terrified of Chrome, either way, MS has been working really hard improving their browser and perhaps they do feel justified in feeling unfairly judged and perhaps they can feel desperate - they've put in a tonne of work and everybody keeps dumping on them - without actually giving them a fair go.

Re:On the other hand... (2)

Nutria (679911) | about a year ago | (#43971157)

FF has made some anti-customisation (and thus anti-user) changes lately that are really pissing me off.

I haven't noticed any. What kind of changes?

OS comparison (3, Interesting)

TheP4st (1164315) | about a year ago | (#43970773)

I wonder if initially it were meant to be a OS comparison but the outcome were not the one wished for so they had to settle for a browser comparison.

terminal server (1)

jamesh (87723) | about a year ago | (#43970787)

I use firefox on my laptop almost exclusively (I don't drink tea), but on terminal servers i'd much prefer users ran IE than firefox. Memory is cheap but lots of memory is expensive, and the stats of IE vs FF on a terminal server shows IE using hardly any resources while firefox consumes much more memory and cpu.

of course firefox is better so i'd expect it to use more power to better express it's awesomeness...

No method? (1)

zaax (637433) | about a year ago | (#43970799)

As with any experiment If there is no explanation of how they got to the results the experiment was worthless

Re:No method? (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#43971151)

As with many Slashdot stories linking to news reports of scientific experiments, you may need to travel a whole two clicks away:

we installed three popular browsers, Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer, and Mozilla Firefox, on six new notebook and four desktop computers running Windows 8. We then measured the average power draw over one-second intervals for a six-minute period with each of the individual browsers open, for each of the ten most-visited websites in the U.S. In addition, we also measured power draw for both the Flash® and HTML5 versions of an online video, as well as the Fishbowl HTML5 benchmark.

And during those 20 hours... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43970817)

... he's spending some 100 times that by keeping the computer and monitor on, plus using the internet infrastructure.
There was a calculation some years ago, that on google search alone would use up the equivalent of heating a cup of tea (i.e. 20 Wh).

So turning off the search engine's auto completion is probably better than switching browsers.

Only part of the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43970827)

Websites and flash do faaaar worse at wasting power !

1 Watt is HUGE on mobile! (3, Insightful)

bemymonkey (1244086) | about a year ago | (#43970829)

As I type this in Firefox, Lenovo's Power Manager is showing power usage of about 6W. 1W less would be a 17% decrease! With the 9-cell battery currently attached, that's a 2h20m jump in battery life.

Of course, I've already dropped FIrefox's power consumption significantly using Adblock, Noscript and so on, so it's unlikely I'll see a full Watt of improvement by switching to IE, but for others, this could be huge.

Re:1 Watt is HUGE on mobile! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43971029)

But how does it scale? Saving 0.7W-1.0W on a 37.8W as in the article might well translate as low as 0.0185W-0.026W, giving you an extra 3 minutes if you're lucky. That's also assuming that it IE doesn't draw more power in total - unfortunately the source cited in TFA wasn't available when I tried so the only numbers available are the "averages" with no explanation of what they're averaging over (if it's average during page load, for example, and IE takes twice as long to load then IE uses more power overall).

Re:1 Watt is HUGE on mobile! (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | about a year ago | (#43971079)

Hmmm, the chart seems pretty clear: Average power consumption over a set period of time displaying the web page (either including or not including the power spike during the page load - at those figures, I'm assuming it includes the spike unless the laptop is running dedicated graphics).

The PDF seems to confirm this (see 2.2.2) - 6 minute test for each page, including the load spike.

Re:1 Watt is HUGE on mobile! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43971117)

you (any many people in this thread) are assuming it is telling the truth, and that they have not played funny games with statistics and unrelated effects.

Re:1 Watt is HUGE on mobile! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43971057)

If it was a 1W decrease on your Lenovo.

By reading TFA you can find the link to original report and see that 1W is _average_ over different laptops. Seems like on newer ones they saw the difference of +-0.2W in favor of different browsers for different websites and ~1W is for older laptops with baseline draw of ~25W.

Re:1 Watt is HUGE on mobile! (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | about a year ago | (#43971115)

This is correct, of course... however: I've already decreased the average power usage of my system with idling Firefox from about 8W to 6W (no Flash, Noscript, GIFs set not to animate, Profile and Firefox itself entirely on RAMDisk to minimize disk access etc.). I'd assume optimizing the browser directly would be much more effective, so getting half of the power savings I'm able to reach with a few simple (albeit drastic) tweaks is entirely within the realm of reality, IMHO.

Returning to IE (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43970845)

Lately there have been a series of changes to Firefox that leads me to feel Mozilla has "jumped the shark". I don't know what it is, perhaps many of the Gnome programmers who supposedly abandoned that project have joined Mozilla, I don't know, but recently Moz have been stripping out features and making changes that at least on the surface have no reason.

I worry they have begun to believe their own hype and forgotten that's we use them for the power of customisation - the freedom the user has to utterly control their browsing experience. Lately, this seems to be better served by Microsoft. For example, there's an add-on (McAfee site Advisor) that I cannot for the life of me disable in Firefox but with IE, no problem. Browser and download history handling and cookie handling all appear to have much improved in IE, whereas in FF since v20, previously multiple options are being combined or stripped-out. Moz seem to be joing the "dumb-down" brigade and the anti-config zealots from Gnome-land. Some of the UI changes are just bonkers.

Getting used to IE is taking some work and there's a few things that are irritating, but right now it's a lot less irritating than whatever Firefox is morphing into. I'm still not sure, maybe I'll give the webkitted version of Opera a go (sad what happened there though).

I'vew been a true-blue (red?) Firefox user since day one and the recent developments are worrying, switching to another browser makes me feel sad but as I can't program I have to go where the functionality is because I can't fix it myself.
:'-(

Re:Returning to IE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43970905)

So you read a questionable, unverified and non peer-reviewed study sponsored by Microsoft that claims IE consumes less power than Firefox, and suddenly Firefox has jumped the shark. Hmm, ok. So, I take it, if Mozilla were to call a press conference tomorrow and say that IE is responsible for the extinction of Unicorns in Elbonia, you'd also feel Microsoft were evil mofos?

Seems like Microsoft's FUD really is working.

Re:Returning to IE (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#43970911)

This is pretty sad astroturfing.

Hard to believe (2)

countach (534280) | about a year ago | (#43970857)

I would have thought the fastest browser was the most efficient, thereby making the fastest browser also the most efficient in power. That makes this study very hard to believe.

Re:Hard to believe (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | about a year ago | (#43971047)

I believe it. Firefox, Chrome, etc are all independent programs. IE however is part of the OS. Microsoft has been telling us that for years. :-)

Re:Hard to believe (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#43971169)

I would have thought the fastest browser was the most efficient

Why? You wouldn't assume the same of cars, would you?*

*knowing my luck this will probably turn out to be obviously true

Test procedures (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43970863)

Let's look at the test procedure in the actual report...

Measure the true root-mean squared (rms) current, power, and voltage for each UUT over a six (6)-
minute period at 1Hz (averaging over 1s period) for the following test conditions:
a) Baseline: No browsers or other windows open
i) First perform a preliminary measurement of power draw in this mode for the UUT, to
ensure that the lowest suitable current range has been selected on the power meter to
maximize measurement accuracy
(1) Record the current range selected for testing the UUT
(2) Record at least 6 minutes of ‘Baseline’ UUT operation with no browsers.
(3) Move the mouse/trackpad once a minute to prevent the unit from going idle
b) Static Website Test: Three different browsers (Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Mozilla
Firefox) will be used. Each browser will be tested for the Top 10 U.S. websites as of March 25,
2013 (listed below, from Alexa 2013). The UUT will then be rebooted after all ten websites have
been tested. In all cases, the browser will have two ‘background tabs’ open to
cse.fraunhofer.org and cfvsolar.com, both static landing pages.
i) Each browser will be directed to the following websites, with all cookies accepted. Data
logging will begin immediately when changing the target website to capture transitional
power draw.
(1) Google.com
(2) Yahoo.com
(3) Live.com
(4) Youtube.com
(5) Facebook.com
(6) Wikipedia.org
(7) Ebay.com
(8) Amazon.com
(9) Craigslist.org
(10)Bing.com
ii) Record all power, current, and voltage measurements in a database. Each test will take
place for at least 6 minutes.
iii) Move the mouse/trackpad once a minute to prevent the unit from going idle

Notice the "at least 6 minutes" part...
So if we change sites every 6 minutes with one browser and every 30 minutes with another, that's still perfectly valid.

And then this gem:

In addition, at the request of Microsoft we set the JavaScript timer frequency to “conserve power” in
the Windows power options. We found, however, that the default Javascript time frequency for all
computers tested was set to “maximum performance.” We did not investigate the impact of this setting
upon browser power draw.

Microsoft opens up about Prism... (0)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about a year ago | (#43970877)

Now that the cat is out of the bag anyways, Microsoft simplified their DNS :

> dig login.live.com
[...]
;; ANSWER SECTION:
login.live.com. 0 IN CNAME login.live.com.nsatc.net.

==> so login.live.com is just a shorter name for NSA Tracking Center?

Can read in another way... (1)

plankrwf (929870) | about a year ago | (#43970895)

In true /. tradition, I did not read the article. So perhaps the article contradicts me, but just bases upon the summery I could give an alternative explanation:
It could have been that the following two things are true:
1. IE is terrible in use. It is that horrible to work with that an average person browsing the web for 20 hours with IE reads only half the pages compared to an average person using Chrome or Firefox.
2. IE is terrible in powermanagement. Within that 20 hour period, it will use almost the same amount of energy to load and display the pages as Chrome and Firefox use to load and display double that number of pages. Compared to - say - Firefox this is partly true because the average Firefox user reads less ads (through extensions such as add-blockers) and hence less information had to be downloaded, and less flashy ads have to be shown.

Re:Can read in another way... (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#43971173)

In true /. tradition, I did not read the article. So perhaps the article contradicts me

Spoiler alert: it does.

No energy saving ...yet (1)

ColdCat (2586245) | about a year ago | (#43970899)

The paper is clear there is no conclusion from those tests. And as the tests were paid by Microsoft If there was something really significant in favour of IE we will read it everywhere.

Due to the very limited number of test conditions, we cannot draw robust conclusions about differences in power draw among browsers running Flash® and HTML5. We recommend conducting additional testing of a larger set of Flash® and HTML5 websites to draw more robust conclusions about how these technologies impact computer power draw.

It's good to start some energy efficiency ranking. Windows 8 (all tests are on that platform) have some very nice feature to helps developer on power consumption. My guesses is that no-one is using them as you need Win8 specific code but if somebody like microsoft try to MAYBE we could see some real differences.

Re:No energy saving ...yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43970963)

In addition, at the request of Microsoft we set the JavaScript timer frequency to “conserve power” in
the Windows power options. We found, however, that the default Javascript time frequency for all
computers tested was set to “maximum performance.” We did not investigate the impact of this setting
upon browser power draw.

Why does this sound like "we ran the same tests with default options first, MS didn't quite like the outcome"?

banners (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43970903)

the banners in IE will drawn the 1 W

Bing less power efficient (1)

sturle (1165695) | about a year ago | (#43970913)

The first thing i noticed: Browsers use more power on Bing than on Google and even Facebook. All browsers. Don't use Bing on portable equipment. (Like if anyone ever did)

My power saving tips:
- Adblock (does IE even have Adblock?)
- No flash. Just remove it.
- Ghostery (in Opera to kill unwanted javascript) or NoScript (Firefox).

Oops (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#43970915)

Microsoft based their power savings on people accidentally starting IE right before turning off their monitors for the evening.

Makes sense,,, (1)

MitchDev (2526834) | about a year ago | (#43970929)

Slower things need less energy...

Study conducted using Windows 8 (2)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about a year ago | (#43970997)

But you have to check the PDF to find that...
http://preview.tinyurl.com/kyp6ypz [tinyurl.com]

Selected quote: "The variation between websites and the technology they use seems to be far more significant, with YouTube clearly burning up to 3W more power than other popular sites such as Google. And more complex media experiences, delivered by sites using Flash or HTML5, appear to burn even more energy, with heavy HTML5 and Flash sites causing an increase in power draw of up to 8W or 9W (effectively adding 50 percent to the machine’s power draw)"

So maybe IE can make more power-efficient use of Win8 when playing YouTube videos? Not really a surprise...
Put noscript, adblock etc. into Ffox and save! (Also on bandwidth..)

Would have been nice to have seen Fraunhofer (who conducted the survey) try and retain some shred of dignity by comparing performance on other platforms.
How about Safari on PC & MAC? Chrome & F'fox on Linux also?
Maybe because IE only runs natively on Windows?

explorer.exe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43971007)

Was the test fair? i.e. did they kill explorer.exe when testing the other browser(s)? oh wait...

WHY? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43971021)

You know WHY they can say this?

ALL WINDOWS COMPUTERS ARE RUNNING 'IE'. ALL OF THEM.

It's the main process IN windows. it IS ie. explorer.

Call it whatever you want. The shell. The UI. It's ie.

That's why it was always stupid they tried to make microsoft 'unbundle' ie... It's not really a seperate package.

Coffee? (1)

m.alessandrini (1587467) | about a year ago | (#43971043)

Sorry, I'm not english, can you convert to milli-coffee units?

I run browser on other operating system (2)

stasike (1063564) | about a year ago | (#43971065)

OK. I could save one watt by running IE instead of [insert your favorite browser here]. But then I would have to run it on Windows, and install anti-mallware, anti-virus and other anti-CPU measures.
I think I am much better off running a less efficient browser on Linux, even with a memory hog called KDE 4 running the whole show.

Less Power? Easy (1)

kramulous (977841) | about a year ago | (#43971133)

Use a dark colour as a background instead of white when drawing pixels.

Re:Less Power? Easy (1)

m.alessandrini (1587467) | about a year ago | (#43971139)

Don't know, I always felt it's an urban legend, especially with LCDs.

damning with faint praise (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year ago | (#43971141)

It's like damning with faint praise, only they are doing it to themselves.

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