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Adobe Flash: A Look At Browsers, Codecs, And System Performance

Adobe Flash Video: A Case Study

Adobe Flash Video: A Case Study

We looked at five systems and five different Web browsers, with hardware acceleration enabled and disabled, with Windows 7's Aero theme enabled and disabled in windowed and fullscreen mode on all available Youtube resolutions. Furthermore, we tested On2 VP6-, Sorensen Spark-, and H.264-based Flash videos, both in windowed and fullscreen mode.

Test Hardware
ProcessorsIntel Atom D525 (Dual-Core, 1.8 GHz)Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300 (Dual-Core, 1.3 GHz)Intel Core i3-350M (Dual-Core, 2.26 GHz)Intel Core i5-540M (Dual-Core, 2.53 GHz)AMD Athlon II Neo K125 (Single-Core, 1.7 GHz)
Memory4 GB DDR3-10664 GB DDR2-8004 GB DDR3-10664 GB DDR3-13334 GB DDR3-1333
GraphicsNvidia Ion2Intel GMA 3150(Optimus)Intel GMA 4500MHDIntel HD GraphicsNvidia Quadro NVS 3100MAMD Radeon HD 4225
NotebookAsus eeePC 1215NAsus UL20ADell Vostro 3300Lenovo Thinkpad T510Asus eeePC 1215T
Adobe Flash Player10.1.102.64
Operating SystemWindows 7 Home Premium 32-bitWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bitWindows 7 Professional 64-bitWindows 7 Professional 64-bitWindows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
Graphics Driver260.99 (Nvidia)8.14.10.2117 (Intel)8. 14.10.21178. 14.10.2226260.998.782

We've tested with the latest version of Flash, but we felt it was important to note that we saw some performance increases compare to previous versions of the software (Flash Player archive). We saw lower processing overhead, which allowed for higher FPS figures on many high bit rate video files. The scope of this story wasn't to evaluate enhancements from a generational standpoint, but rather to look at the interoperability of how Flash interacts with other software elements during processing.

Benchmark and Settings
Flash Video Playback, Custom Tom's Hardware Benchmark
Web sitesYouTube: All ResolutionsSevenload: HD off (Default)Boeing: HD on (Default)Windowed and Fullscreen video tested
BrowsersIE8 32-bit: 8.0.7600.1685Chrome: 8.0.552.215Safari: 5.0.3Firefox: 3.6.12Opera: 10.63 (build 3516)
Adobe Flash Player SettingsHardware Enable and Disable
Windows SettingsAero and non-Aero enabled

All Flash videos run within the browser and are played after they are fully loaded into the buffer. Wireless networking was disabled during playback. Furthermore, all CPU usage and FPS values are generated from one-minute test intervals.

  • Scott2010au
    Notify Mozilla - they care!
    Reply
  • Tamz_msc
    Detailed and interesting article.
    Reply
  • Another interesting article they should do in regards of flash is games/applications in flash vs java and other methods. I know a majority of the flash games that are on facebook have a tendency to put netbooks into a crawl whereas other methods perform a lot better. Also, an article on how to possibly improve flash performance on netbooks would be a really useful article as well.
    Reply
  • reprotected
    This article should have not been released. Now Apple, Chrome and Opera is going to race against Firefox and IE for the best flash playing browser. MORE HYPE!
    Reply
  • What about performance of flash in different operating systems. For example speed in Ubuntu and Windows?
    Reply
  • acku
    What about performance of flash in different operating systems. For example speed in Ubuntu and Windows?

    Installing Flash in Ubuntu isn't straight forward unless you are on the 32-bit version. I hear 64-bit is a nightmare. And I'm talking about the official version. That says nothing about the poor performance of Gnash and swfdec. Now there is nothing wrong with using Linux, but it wasn't intended for that type of usage. I code in Linux occasionally. That said, we might look into it down the road.

    Can you clarify what you mean by speed comparisons? I'm not sure I follow. Video is video. Regardless of operating system, the difference is going to be performance overhead.

    Andrew Ku
    TomsHardware
    Reply
  • What baffles me is the frame rate drop in full screen mode on Chrome/Safari/Opera.

    And it would be very interesting to see results on a Mac.
    Reply
  • acku
    UmrathWhat baffles me is the frame rate drop in full screen mode on Chrome/Safari/Opera.And it would be very interesting to see results on a Mac.
    Yeah, we only can speculate as to why that is for those three. There defiantly is something going on. As for Macs, point taken I'll be sure to address that in the future.
    Reply
  • randomizer
    9507892 said:
    Installing Flash in Ubuntu isn't straight forward unless you are on the 32-bit version. I hear 64-bit is a nightmare. And I'm talking about the official version.
    The 32-bit version works fine on 64-bit Linux, you just need to install the 32-bit libs. Flash player 10.2 beta has a 64-bit version I believe, and it doesn't need to pull in all those extra dependencies. I've used it on Arch Linux without an issue. Hopefully 10.1 officially gets replaced soon :)

    9507892 said:
    That says nothing about the poor performance of Gnash and swfdec.
    Gnash is an admirable project, but it's too far behind Adobe's Flash player to be relevant. I don't think it even works with some more recent videos.
    Reply
  • acku
    9507895 said:
    The 32-bit version works fine on 64-bit Linux, you just need to install the 32-bit libs. Flash player 10.2 beta has a 64-bit version I believe, and it doesn't need to pull in all those extra dependencies. I've used it on Arch Linux without an issue. Hopefully 10.1 officially gets replaced soon :)

    Gnash is an admirable project, but it's too far behind Adobe's Flash player to be relevant. I don't think it even works with some more recent videos.

    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/RestrictedFormats/Flash#Flash%20for%2064-bit%20%28x86_64%29
    While 64-bit Flash for linux is still beta, Ubuntu mentions that it provides
    # Greater stability
    # Greater speed and performance
    # Fewer dependencies to install

    over using 32-bit Flash in 64-bit Ubuntu. I haven't tried it myself, so I can't say for sure. I'm trusting Ubuntu's internal tests on this one.

    We're of the same mind on gnash.

    Andrew Ku
    TomsHardware
    Reply