Is faster always better? With Internet Explorer 9, it would seem so—even when the speed in question isn't obvious.

Case in point: Internet Explorer 9 is the first browser to take advantage of graphics processing power that used to go mostly unused by browsers. That means that now websites can perform more like applications installed directly on a Windows computer.

Speed can be a beautiful thing. True enough, this does mean your computer "draws" things faster, and you can see this speed (unless you blink). But it also means website and web app developers can create richer experiences without introducing any annoying lag.

So, in this case, the higher performance of Internet Explorer 9 means the sites you visit and the web apps you run are more compelling, more absorbing, more immersive, even easier to use. Take a speed test drive.

Internet Explorer 9 Speed Test Drive

Experience faster and more efficient browsing with Internet Explorer 9

Common interactions, juiced. Internet Explorer 9 is also designed to take full advantage of the hardware acceleration capabilities built into Windows 7. And it helps a critical browser technology—JavaScript—find youthful new vigor.

JavaScript is the language of getting things done on the web, but browsers have traditionally been a bit deliberate with how they use it. They read a command, and then they perform the command. Then they read the next command, and so on—and they don't read ahead, so they can't plan on any cool shortcuts.

Internet Explorer 9 leaves this old-fashioned approach in the dust. Taking advantage of the multiple processor cores found on most of today's computers, Internet Explorer 9 reads ahead, and turns these one-at-a-time, semi-English commands into lightning-fast "compiled" machine-language commands.

This compiling ability is tuned to focus on the kinds of interactions most commonly built into today's websites, juicing up the resulting breakneck speed even more:

JavaScript Benchmark Results

All this new efficiency means Internet Explorer 9 expends less effort, if you will, getting things done. This translates directly to less power usage—a wonderful thing if you're running your laptop on battery power.

CPU Power Status Meter

Power consumption while unplugged

Hey, with faster everything, more compelling everything, and more battery cycles to power them all, maybe you'll get more done on that flight home from headquarters.

It could happen.