Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 review

The latest version of Microsoft's web browser is finally out of beta, but is it really that much better than Firefox or Chrome?

One of the less obvious new features is the ability to pin' websites to the taskbar in Windows 7. This gives the site an icon just like an application. Better still, websites that support it mean you'll have Jump Lists (the right-click menu) to browse directly to a particular section of the website.

We're particularly happy to see a proper download manager in IE9. As with Firefox, this lets you see what you've downloaded recently, and also lets you pause downloads and resume them at a later date. Oddly, the pause button was greyed out on some downloads.

Another big feature is GPU support, which means IE9 can take advantage of your computer's graphics processor when rendering animation and other graphically intensive sites. This is one area where we thought IE9 would beat Chrome, but it didn't on every computer. Microsoft's own FishIE Tank test (with 20 fish) ran at 17fps on our test laptop, with a 1,600x900 screen and a Radeon HD 3400 graphics chip. In Chrome 10.0, it ran at 30fps. However, the results depend largely on whether each browser supports the particular GPU or not. On a powerful desktop PC with a Core i3 processor and the latest Radeon HD 6950 graphics card, the same test ran at 60fps with 1,000 fish. Chrome 10.0 slowed to a crawl unless there were 50 fish or fewer.

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