The 64-bit version of Internet Explorer 9 has been sitting there, installed on my computer for a long time and I never bothered to check it out. I knew that there weren't any plugins for it and that some websites would not work well on it. But things have changed in the meantime and the plugin problem has disappeared. Therefore I decided it to take it for a spin and see how well it works. First, I spent some time to run a few benchmarks, compare it to the 32-bit version and see if there is any performance gain. Read this article to learn what I have found.
The Benchmarks Used for Testing
I used my personal desktop to make these tests, which has the following hardware configuration: an AMD Phenom II X4 905 (2.5 GHz) processor, a Gigabyte GA-MA785GT-UD3H motherboard, the memory is Corsair XMS3 DHX 6GB DDR3 1600 MHz, a Gigabyte Radeon HD6870 OC 1GB DDR5 video card, an 120GB RunCore Pro V 2.5" SATA III SSD drive.
All the benchmarks except the HTML5 test were ran three times and I calculated the average score.
Internet Explorer 9 64-bit vs 32-bit
Below you can see the results I obtained for each benchmark. As you can see, the picture is rather mixed.
In Peacekeeper there is a performance gain of 2%, while in the V8 Benchmark the gain is of only 0.9%. The Sunspider benchmark was the only that penalized the 64-bit version, which was 1.2% slower than the 32-bit version.
The HTML5 test looks at how well your browser supports the HTML5 standard and related specifications. This test only confirmed that we have the same standard compliance in both versions of the browser, which is not surprising.
Is there a conclusion?
It is obvious that the performance gain (when present) is very minimal. Most likely you won't even notice it when browsing the web. Therefore, if you want a speedier browsing experience, the 64-bit version of Internet Explorer 9 won't be much of an alternative.
Personally, I think it is time that we had more 64-bit browsers available, able to deliver a faster web browsing experience. That's why I would like to continue my testing of the 64-bit version of Internet Explorer 9 and come back with at least one more article about the real experience of using it.