IE9 preview has been making wonderful improvement. It started first with web standards improvement, and now speed progress. Though far from release and still a non-production, it is interesting to see from IE’s own demo that they are beating FF, Safari and Google Chrome.

Friends at IE might have been busy that they missed out on testing Opera. Still it’s heartening that in their demo, Opera icon was used as a test image. So i guess since Microsoft is a little occupied, why not I’ll run it and see how Opera fares.

In A Closer Look at Internet Explorer 9 Hardware Acceleration Through Flying Images , IE9′s demo works in the form of showcasing it’s hardware acceleration ability. IE9 could ramp up more FPS (frames per second) than Safari, Chrome and FF. It logged an impressive 52 FPS, 2nd placed FF was 8.3 FPS.

IE9′s Flying image demo

I decided to try out the stable version of Opera 10.53 and it gave me between 57- 60 FPS while on my machine IE9 hovered between 35 to 38 fps. I tested on VMWare Windows Vista SP2 on my Macbook. Another point observed is that in IE9 the “test image” which are browser vendor icons took significantly longer to load. The test actually started without me seeing the full image in IE9.

So from my first test, Opera 10.53 without hardware acceleration pulls in about 60% faster than IE9 preview with hardware acceleration.

Let’s move on to the 2nd test – A GPU-Powered HTML5 Flickr Photo Viewer.

IE9′s Flickr photo viewer demo

In Seth McLaughlin (Program Manager for IE Performance) ‘s own words “With Internet Explorer 9, Flickr Explorer is generally able to maintain a near real-time responsiveness of 52fps (52 frames per second). In contrast, other browsers struggle to maintain 4-8fps, which is barely 15% the performance”.

This time, Microsoft forgot to test Opera too (actually Microsoft didn’t forget Opera everytime, they did remember to compare Opera when they created a standards table. The table only showed test cases submitted by Microsoft to W3C, and IE9 passed all of them.) More about IE9 Standards discussion in my previous post.

OK, now let’s take a look at the results. As the demo loads, Opera jumps from a low of 20 FPS to 60 FPS within, say, 3 seconds. But once the flickr images stabilized, it remained at 60 FPS. IE9 was similar that it logged 60 FPS once the images stablized, but before it did it hovered between 3-6 FPS for a minute (I counted 61 seconds) and images were obviously draggy.

So the conclusion is that IE9 have a 60 FPS “real-time” rendering, but not before taking a minute between 3-6 FPS. Opera took 3 seconds to hit 60 FPS “real-time”. If forced to compare, Opera would be 20,000% faster.

There you have it. Opera’s performance.