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Report: IE8 Has A Sasquatch-Like Footprint

Internet Explorer 8 beta 2 takes up more than twice the memory of Firefox and significantly more than IE7, according to a new report from Devil Mountain Software.

In a Monday blog post, researchers from Devil Mountain Software shared results of recent Web browsing performance tests they conducted using a Dell OptiPlex 745 (Core 2 Duo @ 2.66GHz) Vista/XP machines with 2GB of RAM.

The researchers found that IE 8 used about 380MB of memory during a 10-Website test using multiple browser tabs. In comparison, IE 7 took up around 250MB and Firefox 3.01 took up only 159MB. IE8 also required 171 concurrent threads to complete the test, compared to 65 for IE7 and 29 for Firefox, according to the researchers.

"What we found was another example of unchecked Microsoft code 'bloat', complete with 'shirt-bursting, waistline-stretching' memory consumption and the kind of CPU-hogging thread growth normally reserved for massively parallel server farms," the researchers wrote.

The researchers also speculated that Microsoft has designed IE8 to take advantage of the multi-core processor architectures of the future, an approach that could be "overwhelming" to current single and dual core PCs.

However, Matt Rosoff, an analyst with Directions On Microsoft, a Kirkland, Wash.-based research firm, says he hasn't noticed any performance problems running IE8 beta 2 on lower end machines.

"Microsoft makes software that takes advantage of the latest hardware, and I don't think they worry too much about resource consumption with desktop software," Rosoff said.

Microsoft last week released IE8 beta 2, which adds a slew of new privacy and security features, including one that has acquired the nickname 'porn mode' for its ability to cover up users' Web surfing tracks.

With the final release of IE8 due before the end of the year, some solution providers feel it's a bit unfair to compare a beta build to final releases.

"I'm not so sure you can compare beta software (which is full of debugging code) to mature, production releases of an application," said Andy Kretzer, director of sales and marketing at Bold Data Technology, a Fremont, Calif.-based system builder.

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