With the release of Windows 10 Technical Preview 2 Build 10049, Windows Insiders have received their first hands-on look at Project Spartan, Microsoft’s next generation Web browser that will be the centerpiece of Windows 10. While Microsoft is not killing off Internet Explorer (despite many erroneous reports to the contrary), Spartan will be the default browser for consumers who upgrade to the next version of Windows later this year.
Spartan, and the broader Windows 10 operating system, are still in beta, of course, but we wanted to take a look at how this new browser compares from a performance perspective, both with IE 11 and with competing browsers. Spartan’s new rendering engine, EdgeHTML, has already been available in the Windows 10 preview release of IE for several months, but we’ve decided to test the engine natively in Spartan.
For our Spartan benchmarks, we compared Spartan to IE 11.0.10011.0 running its default Trident engine, Chrome 42.0.2311.60, Firefox 37.0, and Opera 28.0. Other sites that have looked at browser benchmarks have run their tests on mid-tier hardware, but we wanted to give these browsers as much power as they can handle, to see a “best case scenario” of performance. We therefore used our high-end test platform: a Haswell-based Intel i7-5960x, 16GB of DDR4 memory, and a Samsung 850 Pro SSD.
For each browser, we ran the following tests: Sunspider 1.0.2, Kraken 1.1, Octane 2.0, Futuremark Peacekeeper, WebXPRT, HTML5Test, and the Oort Online benchmark. Without further ado, the results of our Spartan benchmarks:
|Oort Online (higher)||3610||3190||10000||10000||10000|
Here’s another look at the same tests, this time focusing strictly on Spartan vs. IE:
|Oort Online (higher)||3610||3190||13.2|
It appears that Spartan certainly offers some performance improvements over IE, and even has the best Sunspider score out of all the major Windows browsers, but it’s still behind by quite a bit compared to its competitors, especially in the WebGL rendering tested by the Oort Online benchmark (of note, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera all scored the maximum 10,000 points on that test, which explains their identical scores).
Spartan brings with it a number of interesting new features in addition to pure performance, such as integrated annotations and support for Cortana, but users shouldn’t expect this new browser to immediately leapfrog performance leaders like Chrome any time soon.