CPU usage: embedded Flash vs. AVI file in VLC player

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 06, 2011 7:26 PM GMT
    I've noticed that several minutes of playing a YouTube video on my MacBook makes the cooling fans ramp up to audible levels. But, playing an AVI file in VLC player does not. Looking at CPU usage in iStat Menus, playing a YouTube video doubles CPU usage; pause the video, and it drops back down. Playing and pausing a video in VLC player makes no noticeable difference in CPU usage.

    Why the difference? Is the Flash Player software massively inefficient? Is Flash video content more intensively compressed, requiring vastly more CPU power to play it? It's weird to me that two different ways of doing essentially the same thing (playing a video) should require such hugely different levels of processing power. What's going on here?
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    Feb 08, 2011 1:20 AM GMT
    I did an experiment, and I think the difference must be the players. Using Video DownloadHelper in Firefox, I saved the flash video file from a YouTube video that really cranked up the MacBook's fan. I then compared playing the video on YouTube with playing the FLV file in VLC. Playing it in VLC doesn't ramp up the fan.
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    Feb 08, 2011 1:22 AM GMT
    paradox saidI've noticed that several minutes of playing a YouTube video on my MacBook makes the cooling fans ramp up to audible levels. But, playing an AVI file in VLC player does not. Looking at CPU usage in iStat Menus, playing a YouTube video doubles CPU usage; pause the video, and it drops back down. Playing and pausing a video in VLC player makes no noticeable difference in CPU usage.

    Why the difference? Is the Flash Player software massively inefficient? Is Flash video content more intensively compressed, requiring vastly more CPU power to play it? It's weird to me that two different ways of doing essentially the same thing (playing a video) should require such hugely different levels of processing power. What's going on here?


    Flash sucks when it comes to resources, and it's buggy.

    VLC has much better open source codecs (based upon ffmpeg) running in the background.

    Open source has the advantage of many different eyes, and is often so much better.

    LINUX won't make our laptop fans go, and Windows 7 is better than Windows XP, which would get it going.

    ffmpeg, by the way, is a vey powerful tool.
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    Feb 08, 2011 1:26 AM GMT
    Thanks Chucky! It's a shame that such a ubiquitous media player is such a needless resource hog.
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    Feb 08, 2011 1:30 AM GMT
    HTML5 will make Flash non relevant in the next few years.

    In fact, right now, we're working on an IPAD/Iphone/Android app using Sencha and HTML5 for a major insurance carrier.
  • Anto

    Posts: 2035

    Mar 06, 2011 11:14 AM GMT
    paradox saidWhy the difference? Is the Flash Player software massively inefficient? Is Flash video content more intensively compressed, requiring vastly more CPU power to play it? It's weird to me that two different ways of doing essentially the same thing (playing a video) should require such hugely different levels of processing power. What's going on here?


    You should try the newer version of Flash, 10.2. Adobe wasn't given access to the api's it wanted to decode video by Apple until last year. 10.1 had decoding but the presentation was still done through the cpu. 10.2 does both through the gpu so you should see drastically less cpu usage in players that have taken advantage of the updates. This appears to have been more of an issue on Mac OS than Windows though.

    I should point out that Flash is a lot more sophisticated than a simple video player. Flash isn't even really a video player. It is a runtime with it's own virtual machine that runs AS3 code that can do all kinds of crazy things. Some people make video players with it which is way a lot of people think Flash is for playing video but that is like the tip of the iceberg in terms of what can be done with it. It allows an incredible amount of flexibility and power that is pretty much left open to a developer's own imagination. It's also why things can go bad if a developer or designer doesn't take care about how they do things with it.

    Here's an article on Adobe's website with information about 10.2 and download info if interesetd:
    Flash Player 10.2 is here: Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux
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    Mar 06, 2011 12:33 PM GMT
    Thanks. I think I did just recently upgrade Flash because a recent Firefox update told me my version was out of date. On my Windows machines, Flash tells me when it needs an update, but it doesn't seem to be doing that on the Mac.
  • Springer70

    Posts: 65

    Mar 07, 2011 1:42 AM GMT
    Yes... Flash is that bad. This is one reason it's not supported on the iPad.

    Even on older machines, flash sites (with lots of motion) and especially video causes systems to really work hard, and the fan will often be needed.

    I also agree with another reply, that the more open standard of html5 is a step in the right direction.

  • Anto

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    Apr 02, 2011 12:53 AM GMT
    paradox saidThanks. I think I did just recently upgrade Flash because a recent Firefox update told me my version was out of date. On my Windows machines, Flash tells me when it needs an update, but it doesn't seem to be doing that on the Mac.


    Well if you are interested Flash 10.3 is in beta but people can install it now if they want to start using it before it's final release. One of the new features is that on Macs it auto-notifies you when there is an update available.

    Introducing Flash Player 10.3 Beta!
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    Apr 02, 2011 1:18 AM GMT
    The current Flash player was developed by Adobe.

    Have you ever used anything else made by Adobe? Of course it's slow and bloated.

    Of course, you're comparing very different things. Both the players you describe AND the media formats are all vastly different, so it's difficult to say. Try playing an FLV with VLC and see how it compares.

    VLC is where it's at. icon_wink.gif

    Another part of your problem is that you're using a Mac. Most companies write their software with Windows in mind and then port it over to Mac later (Apple also encourages programmers to write in Obj-C, which is a hideous piece of shit). Adobe is one of those companies. Now I'm gonna go on a rant about Macs.

    I can't believe they're discontinuing support for JRE. What a stupid fucking move; abandoning an enormous amount of actually useful software.

    Also, why pay for Unix? That's all OS X is. The only difference is that OS X has a flashy (and convoluted) GUI and that OS X supports significantly less hardware than any other well known OS. What a waste. Learn to use a computer; stop wasting your money on this crap.

    I hate Apple. They could take a shit, wrap it in tin foil and call it the iDoodoo 2 and you retards would still buy it. They have a brilliant marketing department, but it's really just an enormous scam.

    EDIT: I just tested it in Windows 7 and my idling CPU went from 4% to 10% when I played a YouTube clip. I don't know what you're doing wrong. I'd test it in Linux too, but that would require me to restart and I'm far too lazy.
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    Apr 02, 2011 9:36 PM GMT
    I use Windows and Mac; I like 'em both. Other than the reliability and robust security, I hate *nix with the heat of a thousand suns because it's like pulling teeth to get anything accomplished if I have to dig down into the console mode innards. Before I had two and a half miles of fiber optic buried out to the house, I used to have my own private, single line dial-up Linux PPP server in town and a Linux box at the house that would dial up and share the modem connection over an early, proprietary wireless network. I paid a Linux geek to set that up for me, but I would occasionally have to dig around in the Linux bowels, and it was never pleasant. I also tried using some of the early, supposedly "user friendly" Linux distros, and they were always completely unusable. I simply have no interest at all in becoming a computer scientist just so I can configure something in Linux that I can do very easily in either Windows or OS X.

    As for Mac hardware, the multi-touch touchpad in my two year old aluminum MacBook is still lightyears ahead of any touchpad in any Windows laptop you can get today. And, two years on, it's still a joy to see and feel that luscious aluminum case every time I use it. Basically, it's a designer laptop. I'm sorry you don't have the refinement and sophistication to appreciate finer things in life, but that doesn't make those of us who do "retards".
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    Apr 02, 2011 9:39 PM GMT
    Its probably because you have an ungodly amount of addons and plug-ins running on your safari. Its only logical that using a single source player would be more efficient then using something that is already running 10 or so things.
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    Apr 02, 2011 9:55 PM GMT
    On the MacBook, I use Firefox, not Safari, and the only add-on I'm running is Ad-Block. It's simply a matter of bloated crappy code from Adobe, with the possibility that their crappy code is especially crappy when ported over to OS X. It's not a problem I notice on my Windows PC, but then, my PC is completely fanless and makes no noise at all, except when the optical drive is in use.
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    Apr 06, 2011 10:40 PM GMT
    Springer70 saidYes... Flash is that bad. This is one reason it's not supported on the iPad.

    Even on older machines, flash sites (with lots of motion) and especially video causes systems to really work hard, and the fan will often be needed.

    I also agree with another reply, that the more open standard of html5 is a step in the right direction.



    No, its because adobe doesn t have permission to implement it on a apple product due to the apple closed door policy and because the ipad's hardware like most mobile devices would CHOKE on flash.
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    Apr 06, 2011 11:24 PM GMT
    paradox saidI've noticed that several minutes of playing a YouTube video on my MacBook makes the cooling fans ramp up to audible levels. But, playing an AVI file in VLC player does not. Looking at CPU usage in iStat Menus, playing a YouTube video doubles CPU usage; pause the video, and it drops back down. Playing and pausing a video in VLC player makes no noticeable difference in CPU usage.

    Why the difference? Is the Flash Player software massively inefficient? Is Flash video content more intensively compressed, requiring vastly more CPU power to play it? It's weird to me that two different ways of doing essentially the same thing (playing a video) should require such hugely different levels of processing power. What's going on here?
    Try editing multi-track full HD (1920x1080p) and listen to the fans while the finished movie is rendering for Blu-Ray.

    Sometimes I think my PC is gonna fucking explode. icon_lol.gif
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    Apr 06, 2011 11:44 PM GMT
    i run my fans on full speed constantly with software, its something that became a necessity due to shitty hardware being sold, especially in notebooks. Infact i had the ONLY ibook g4 in the past that never had a hardware failure, trick is to keep the hardware at low temps so the sauder doesn t crack from expanding and shrinking. My new macbook pro and HP dv same thing, fans on max, always lol
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    Apr 07, 2011 1:51 AM GMT
    mi16t said
    Springer70 saidYes... Flash is that bad. This is one reason it's not supported on the iPad.

    Even on older machines, flash sites (with lots of motion) and especially video causes systems to really work hard, and the fan will often be needed.

    I also agree with another reply, that the more open standard of html5 is a step in the right direction.



    No, its because adobe doesn t have permission to implement it on a apple product due to the apple closed door policy and because the ipad's hardware like most mobile devices would CHOKE on flash.


    When it comes to tablets and smartphones the components are packed in a very small package and it is more difficult to isolate the heat coming from the processor, memory and such. iPhones and iPads are perfectly capable of running flash however this might potentially affect their performance due to overheating and more importantly battery life. Android devices that do support flash have a terrible battery life and in some cases they havent been able to support the standard their initial release(ex. Motorola Xoom).
  • Anto

    Posts: 2035

    Apr 10, 2011 4:54 PM GMT
    charlitos said
    When it comes to tablets and smartphones the components are packed in a very small package and it is more difficult to isolate the heat coming from the processor, memory and such. iPhones and iPads are perfectly capable of running flash however this might potentially affect their performance due to overheating and more importantly battery life. Android devices that do support flash have a terrible battery life and in some cases they havent been able to support the standard their initial release(ex. Motorola Xoom).


    I think those points are arguable and irrelevant because the same can be said about html/js driven content and native applications even. Steve Jobs' whole argument against Flash is pure BS imo.

    It's pretty obvious that Flash and other plugin technology that html5 allows through the standardized 'embed' tag are banned by Apple for political/business reasons but Steve Jobs can't just say that or people and perhaps lawyers wouldn't like it so he has to try and demonize them in order to gain favor and support from critics and consumers in his stance against Flash and other plugin technology that is not Apple's own.