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article imageWebsites will load 'significantly faster' in next Microsoft Edge

By James Walker     Aug 25, 2017 in Technology
Microsoft has said an upcoming update to its Edge web browser for Windows 10 will allow some pages to load "significantly" faster. The company is changing the way in which it renders pages so they feel more responsive and don't hang the entire browser.
Microsoft recently detailed the "transformative" technology in a technical blog post. Called independent rendering, the technique allows Edge to offload the rendering of parts of webpages onto a separate CPU thread. This keeps the page rendering separate to that of the user interface.
The performance enhancements this enables can be dramatic. By offloading demanding portions of the rendering to another thread, the main browser can continue to load the rest of the page concurrently. The total time taken to display the page is considerably reduced.
Independent rendering takes better advantage of modern multi-core processors. Because it's handled by the browser, developers don't need to do anything to benefit from it. Microsoft said the technology will be of particular use in web-based games, complex visualisations and fast-moving animations. With each render taking less time, overall framerate will be higher.
Microsoft Edge independent rendering performance improvements
Microsoft Edge independent rendering performance improvements
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The technology isn't entirely new to Microsoft Edge. It's already been available in previous versions of the browser, albeit with some serious limitations. Independent rendering was previously turned off whenever a webpage contained certain controls, such as dropdown menus and complex graphical sections. Microsoft's now lifting this restriction, expanding independent rendering to cover many more pages.
"Independent rendering allows the browser to selectively offload graphics processing to an additional CPU thread, so they can be rendered with minimal impact to the user interface thread and the overall visible performance characteristics page, such as silk-smooth scrolling, responsive interactions, and fluid animations," said Microsoft. "By offloading rendering to a separate (parallel) thread, independent rendering can improve page load and dynamic content updates, while more efficiently utilizing multicore CPUs."
Microsoft Edge independent rendering performance improvements
Microsoft Edge independent rendering performance improvements
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According to Microsoft, independent rendering can improve Edge's performance by up to 43 percent in some benchmarks. It results in smoother gameplay, faster scrolling and quicker page loads, all while more effectively utilising modern hardware.
The improvements will be delivered to Microsoft Edge users as part of the upcoming Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. Although this isn't the first time Microsoft has promised a big performance boost, independent rendering holds promise as a way of making the browser more responsive. The Fall Creators Update is expected to be released within the next couple of months.
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