Huge Improvements under OS X

The release notes for the Flash 10.1 preview say the following about cross-platform hardware accelerated H.264 decoding support:

In Flash Player 10.1, H.264 hardware acceleration is not supported under Linux and Mac OS. Linux currently lacks a developed standard API that supports H.264 hardware video decoding, and Mac OS X does not expose access to the required APIs. We will continue to evaluate adding the feature to Linux and Mac OS in future releases.

Ouch. Linux isn’t ready and Apple isn’t open enough. That’s not to say that there aren’t major performance gains to be had.

I took the same Office clip I’d been using for all of the other tests and ran it on my Mac Pro at full screen (2560 x 1600). Using Activity Monitor I looked at the CPU utilization of the Flash Player plug-in. I compared both versions of Flash and saw a significant drop in CPU utilization:

Hulu Full Screen (2560 x 1600) Average CPU Utilization Flash Flash
Hulu 480p - The Office - Murder 450% 190%

Going from roughly 450% down to 190% (or a bit over 10% of total CPU utilization across 16 threads) made full-screen Hulu playable on my machine. In the past I always had to run it in a smaller window, but thanks to Flash 10.1 I don’t have to any longer.

With actual GPU-accelerated H.264 decoding I’m guessing those CPU utilization numbers could drop to a remotely reasonable value. But it’s up to Apple to expose the appropriate hooks to allow Adobe to (eventually) enable that functionality.

Until then, even OS X users have something to look forward to with the Flash 10.1 upgrade.

Final Words

It's finally here. GPU accelerated video decode for Adobe Flash. Grab the preview and let us know how it fares on your system in the comments.

ATI and Intel Update
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • gandralf - Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - link

    Not while we have the H.264 vs. Theora issue.
  • Zoomer - Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - link

    Don't see why it can't both be supported.
  • fredz - Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - link

    How do you actually measure the FPS of these Flash based videos in Hulu etc?
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - link

    FRAPS with logging of the WDM enabled. (This is only available on Vista/Win7.) Oddly, this is only necessary on Flash 10.1; FRAPS works without WDM logging on 10.0.
  • max22 - Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - link

    What is the link to the firefox version please? Will the latest prerelease flash mess up Skype's Extras as well ?
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - link

    The download link on page 1 is now updated so it takes you to the correct page. There's an EXE plugin as well as an EXE for ActiveX.

    Incidentally, you can run the following from the command line to uninstall the current version of Flash:

    flashplayer10_1_p1_plugin_111709.exe -uninstallclean
  • macs - Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - link

    what about atom + 945gse chipset?
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - link

    945GSE doesn't have any support for video offload (at least not the H.264 stuff) so it won't get any help from Flash 10.1 other than perhaps some CPU optimizations.
  • AstroGuardian - Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - link

    945GSE is totally useless.
  • Sunday Ironfoot - Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - link

    Silverlight has had GPU acceleration since version 3.0 (the current latest version). I'd be interested in a comparison between Silverlight vs. Flash.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now