When comparing web browsers, most folks tend to focus on features, user interfaces, standards compliance, and how quickly pages are rendered. What about power consumption, though? Microsoft's IEBlog explores that question in surprising detail—and with fancy graphs. Oh my.
Since the testing was conducted by Microsoft, the results should be taken with a grain of salt. Not only did Redmond choose the hardware on which the browsers were run, but it also picked the scenarios under which they were tested. Those scenarios covered rendering an about:blank page to probe interface power consumption, displaying an unnamed "news site" that uses HTML4, and running a couple HTML5 demos from Microsoft's IETestDrive site. In addition to monitoring power consumption at the system level, Microsoft measured the power draw of individual components like the CPU, memory, and graphics processor.
As one might expect, Internet Explorer 9 has the lowest overall power consumption of the bunch, which includes the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Safari. The differences in power consumption are small enough to be of little concern to desktop users trying to save a few bucks on their monthly electric bills. However, notebook users striving for the best possible battery life may want to take note of the results. When rendering the news site, for example, Microsoft claims that IE9 would deliver 4:46 hours of battery life, while Chrome 10 would only get you 4:07.