Windows 8.1 comes by default with Internet Explorer 11, an improved version of Microsoft’s in-house browser that’s supposed to be faster and more secure than any of its predecessors.

And according to Microsoft, these improvements can also be seen in the way the browser handles JPG images, as the overall loading process is said to be 45 percent faster.

At the same time, the Windows 8.1 plus Internet Explorer 11 mix is said to provide 40 percent lower memory consumption, which means that improved battery life is also part of the package.

“Images on average account for the most bytes downloaded on the Web today. To improve the performance of loading JPG images, IE11 has streamlined its JPG decoding by moving some steps of the decoding process directly to the GPU where it can be done significantly faster and in parallel,” Microsoft explained today in a blog post.

“Images account for 61% of bytes downloaded on the Web today, and 47% of image requests are for JPG images. By using hardware more efficiently to decode JPG images, IE11 now loads JPG images up to 45% faster and uses up to 40% less memory over previous IE versions.”

The blog post then goes on with some techy details, explaining that Internet Explorer uses the available hardware more efficiently, thus making it faster to load JPG photos found on the web.

Windows 8.1 is projected to be released on October 18, but those of you who have already installed Windows 8 will be allowed to download it from the Store free of charge one day earlier.

Several leaked Windows 8.1 RTM ISOs are already up for grabs from file-sharing websites, while Microsoft has also recently published the official builds on both MSDN and TechNet subscription services in order to provide devs with early access to the OS update.