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Print 40 comment(s) - last by PhoenixKnight.. on Nov 19 at 10:19 AM

Not all GPUs are supported by the new flash player including some NVIDIA G80 GPUs

Adobe's Flash technology is highly prevalent on the internet both in terms of site content and online advertising. Video is powered by Flash on a number of sites large and small including Hulu where millions go to watch their favorite TV shows.

Adobe has announced today that a new update is available as a beta called Flash Player 10.1. The update is notable because it adds GPU acceleration features to the Flash Player allowing the acceleration of video to be offloaded from the CPU. High resolution flash video processing is traditionally very CPU intensive meaning that playback at sites like Hulu is typically choppy no matter how fast your computer runs.

Flash Player 10.1 is the first consistent browser runtime release of the Open Screen Project. The new version promises to enable uncompressed web browsing of application and HD videos across desktops and devices like smartphones and tablets. Adobe reports that the new player version delivers media using HTTP streaming with content protection powered by Adobe Flash Access 2.0.

The key upgrade for Flash 10.1 is that the player can now use hardware decoding of H.264 video on Windows PCs, notebooks, and mobile devices. The new version of Flash Player also supports Mac and Linux. Adobe has also issued a new update for AIR to AIR 2 that allows developers to create feature rich applications in the desktop context.

“With the beta availability of Adobe AIR 2 and Flash Player 10.1 today, we are taking an important step toward realizing the Open Screen Project vision to enable rich Internet experiences across any device, anywhere,” said David Wadhwani, general manager and vice president, Platform Business Unit at Adobe. “Content creators will provide multi-screen experiences with uncompromised Web browsing and standalone applications across desktops and netbooks, and in the near future across a wide range of mobile devices.”

The hardware video acceleration feature works on supported GPUs only. Supported GPUs include the NVIDIA Ion chipset, ATI Radeon HD 4000, 5700, and 5800 series video cards. ATI Mobility HD 4000 series and HD 3000 are supported along with several ATI FirePro video cards. Video cards from the NVIDIA GeForce 8, 9 or GTS/GTX series are supported as well with the exception of the NVIDIA G80 cards including the 8800 GTX and GTS.

AnandTech tested out the beta Flash Player 10.1 and reports that Hulu playback on ION is nearly perfect. The publication found that CPU utilization dropped significantly with the new Flash Player. Utilization while watching an episode of The Office called “Murder” dropped from 70% with Flash 10.0.32.18 to 30% with Flash 10.1.51.45.

The AnandTech test article stated, "These are awesome improvements. The Hulu HD results were a bit high but the YouTube HD test showed a drop from 60% CPU utilization down to 12%. Most impressive."

If you use Firefox, you will have to jump through a few more hoops to use the new version of Flash Player. The AnandTech story reports, "Before running a YouTube HD clip, please go to Firefox menus and select Tools/Clear Recent History. Ensure the Cookies checkbox is checked, and do the clear. Next, go to Tools/Options/Privacy and select Never Remember History."



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better "upgrade" idea
By tastyratz on 11/17/2009 9:38:07 AM , Rating: 5
how about they instead work on fixing flash in the largest 3rd party browser on the market like firefox? I swear to god flash makes me want to scream on firefox with the pauses.

or getting a good working 64 bit version?

Kudos on the offload but it would certainly not be top priority if you ask me.




RE: better "upgrade" idea
By Chadder007 on 11/17/2009 9:59:50 AM , Rating: 2
Lets see, didn't they just decide to layoff a lot of workers at Adobe, and the workers they do have are working more on less important things it seems?

Where in the world is 64bit support??


RE: better "upgrade" idea
By PhoenixKnight on 11/17/2009 1:57:40 PM , Rating: 1
There's a working 64-bit Flash Player that runs just fine in Firefox. You just have to switch to Linux to actually use it.

It's nice that Adobe has, for once, decided not to completely ignore the Linux community for one small thing (I'm still not holding my breath waiting for a port of Photoshop, though). But it's really bad that they still can't make a working 64-bit Flash for the OS that's running on 90+% of desktops, especially since 64-bit Windows has been out for almost 3 years now.


RE: better "upgrade" idea
By jonmcc33 on 11/17/2009 3:09:35 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
There's a working 64-bit Flash Player that runs just fine in Firefox. You just have to switch to Linux to actually use it.


I would rather pour salt in my eyes than use Linux.


RE: better "upgrade" idea
By Jedi2155 on 11/17/2009 4:27:23 PM , Rating: 2
Windows XP x64 edition has been around since 4/24/2005. Thats been over 4 and a half years and still no 64-bit flash support :(.


RE: better "upgrade" idea
By QueBert on 11/17/2009 5:33:26 PM , Rating: 2
But does anyone actually run it? I know MS released it, but 64 bit XP was super fail on every level.


RE: better "upgrade" idea
By nangryo on 11/17/2009 8:28:03 PM , Rating: 2
I do run it. I run it on Thinkpad T61 with 4Gigs of RAM.
The tricky part is the drivers. It really hours and hours of works to find the drivers, and some of them I need to customized, mod them my self because the already modded one is an outdated version.
But after that it runs like a breeze. Fast n stable.


RE: better "upgrade" idea
By PhoenixKnight on 11/17/2009 6:56:32 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, but who really counts XP x64? I tried it but couldn't get a bunch of my hardware or software to even work, and Microsoft quickly abandoned it. Granted, that was due mostly to a lack of drivers, but
no one really started developing for 64-bit Windows until Vista.


RE: better "upgrade" idea
By PhoenixKnight on 11/19/2009 10:19:33 AM , Rating: 2
Down-voted to 0. Guess people on Dailytech don't like people for the sheer fact that they don't use Windows as their primary OS.


RE: better "upgrade" idea
By Veerappan on 11/17/2009 12:02:11 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I just did a before/after test on my Macbook Pro (13.3" unibody 2.53Ghz C2D, with OS 10.6.2) in Firefox 3.5.5.

While GPU Acceleration isn't supported in OSX, I see significant decreases in CPU utilization while watching flash-based video.

I fired up a 480p Family Guy episode on Hulu using Flash player 10.0.x, and monitored CPU utilization in the opening credits. CPU hovered between 65 and 85% at all times.

Then I installed this preview release. Keep in mind that the new release is still CPU-only in MacOS, no GPU acceleration. I loaded the same 480p video clip in Hulu, and the CPU usage hovered in the 40-60% range.

So we're looking at about a 33% decrease in required CPU power to watch the same video. I'd say that's a decent start in optimizing flash performance. If we're lucky, they cleaned up a few more things at the same time, but I'll take what I can get. Who knows, this might finally make my fiance's laptop actually able to play videos off youtube without dropping half of the frames.

33% less CPU usage also means my battery should last longer when watching videos. I'm ok with that.


RE: better "upgrade" idea
By tastyratz on 11/17/09, Rating: -1
RE: better "upgrade" idea
By omnicronx on 11/17/2009 12:35:48 PM , Rating: 3
I don't agree with really any of your statements (a part from the first and quite obvious one). CPU's are general purpose, when a GPU is optimized for certain instructions it can be miles ahead in terms of power consuption. Basically what is going to happen is the big video card manufacturers will be releasing support for hardware accelerated flash in which they will be taking advantage of existing API's and technology. For example ATI has been recently testing the use of DirectX 11 API's such as compute shaders accompanied with their ATI Stream technology. Without a doubt this will reduce power consumption, far moreso than cpu optimizations.


RE: better "upgrade" idea
By tastyratz on 11/17/2009 1:16:29 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
when a GPU is optimized for certain instructions


that is the key to your statement. Just because they offloaded to gpu does not mean it is coded efficiently... just that its happening somewhere else.
Adobe is hardly known for their lack of sloppy coding in flash (dont get me started on acrobat). While a gpu is a task specific processor that excels at processing certain specific instructions, it makes a horrible general purpose processor.

Adobe has a history of slapping something on top of another product to make a buck and not for dialing them in efficiently... just mounding on features.
This move was most likely purely to secure their position in the burgeoning netbook low cost computing market.
I will remain skeptical by nature as always with new flash until statistical measurable metrics are released by someone like anandtech or similar.


RE: better "upgrade" idea
By omnicronx on 11/17/2009 1:59:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
that is the key to your statement. Just because they offloaded to gpu does not mean it is coded efficiently... just that its happening somewhere else.
I know this, Flash9/10 already has simple GPU offloading in the fashion you mention above, it is essentially used as another general purpose processor, which was the main reason nobody used it. (In other words I do agree with you statements, offloading to the GPU to perform general purpose tasks is pointless, and could possibly be less efficient) That being said, 10.1 changes things, it will not be merely simple GPU offloading.
It will be hardware accelerated, and as I've already stated, this will involve the use of existing API's and technology. I'm sure Vendors will have different ways of implementing this hardware acceleration, but I assure you, it is far more than just splitting up general purpose tasks between the CPU and GPU.
quote:
Adobe has a history of slapping something on top of another product to make a buck and not for dialing them in efficiently... just mounding on features.
100% agree, I've never been an adobe fan, but it seems they have got it right this time around. There is just no way they can get 10.1 on a mobile platform without making major changes to the way flash works. From what I've seen in limited testing so far, they have made great strides, as it is taking up far less resources, even without GPU offloading
quote:
I will remain skeptical by nature as always with new flash until statistical measurable metrics are released by someone like anandtech or similar.
These reviews have already hit the web.


RE: better "upgrade" idea
By Veerappan on 11/17/2009 2:15:40 PM , Rating: 2
Did you completely skip the multiple times that I stated that both before and after were completely CPU-based on MacOS X? This is increased efficiency entirely on the CPU as far as I can tell, which means that there have been general optimizations to the way that flash handles video decoding, they're not just offloading the decoding from CPU to GPU in Mac OS.

If it will make you feel better, I'll try to do a looped flash video test for the old/new versions of flash after I get home from 100% to drained battery.


RE: better "upgrade" idea
By omnicronx on 11/17/2009 12:19:19 PM , Rating: 5
I think it is THE top priority and should have been in flash 5 years ago (ok well it was starting in flash 9, but it was pretty much useless and required way too much resources to make it worthwhile). Preforming complex vector based imaging all in the CPU terribly inefficient and is probably one of the main reasons that it bogs down even the most powerful systems.

Now I'm all for getting 64 bit working, but i would much rather them fix the inefficiencies then adding 64bit support. 64 bit support is not going to fix the nagging issues that many people mention, nor is it going to make flash noticeably faster.

I've been following this for a while and it actually seems like for once, Adobe has done something right.


RE: better "upgrade" idea
By The0ne on 11/17/2009 1:37:43 PM , Rating: 2
I wasn't aware of issues with firefox. Hmm, I'm going to have to read up and see what's going on. Thanks for the info!


RE: better "upgrade" idea
By dusteater on 11/17/2009 1:51:41 PM , Rating: 2
Adobe can go to hell. Where is the 64 bit support they promised with flash 10? No where! They are morons.


RE: better "upgrade" idea
By Veerappan on 11/17/2009 2:18:31 PM , Rating: 2
Well, it's there if you're running Linux...


RE: better "upgrade" idea
By B3an on 11/17/2009 2:48:47 PM , Rating: 2
From testing i believe it's actually Firefox thats at fault with the poorer Flash performance compared to other browsers.


ATi does accelerated computing too....
By Amiga500 on 11/17/2009 10:01:23 AM , Rating: 2
Listening to Nvidia, you'd believe they were the only show in town.

CUDA CUDA CUDA...

More like CUDA, woulda, shoulda built a decent GPU...




RE: ATi does accelerated computing too....
By Regected on 11/17/09, Rating: -1
By Fanon on 11/17/2009 10:47:01 AM , Rating: 2
And you fail at reading comprehension. Hell, read the damn topic of his post...


RE: ATi does accelerated computing too....
By GodisanAtheist on 11/17/2009 1:16:43 PM , Rating: 2
Its less about Nvidia shouting from the nearest rooftop as it is the dead silence out of ATI's camp.

If Nvidia has associated themselves with GPGPU computing at the expense of ATI, its only because ATI hasn't been doing ANYTHING to counter that image. Nvidia isn't come charity house out to make their competitors look good.

Disclaimer: Before the NVIDIA hate-train rolls up and marks me down to -6, I have an HD4850 and love the little bastard. I only wish ATI/AMD would try to emulate some of Nvidia's aggressive business tactics rather than constantly play the victim.


RE: ATi does accelerated computing too....
By omnicronx on 11/17/2009 2:16:06 PM , Rating: 2
Do you really consider Nvidia as the leaders in terms of GPGPU computing? OpenCL seems to be where the industry is heading. I think Cuda is a great idea and is probably more efficient than OpenCL, but its just never easy to get the masses to shift over to a proprietary product. While I agree that ATI should emulate some of Nvidias business tactics, I don't really agree with either companies tactics on this one. If they really wanted this to be successful, they would have joined forces to come up with some kind of standard. It does not have to be an open standard, but at least this way it would not be hardware dependent. (which in my view is the reason that OpenCL will be more successful)


RE: ATi does accelerated computing too....
By AyashiKaibutsu on 11/17/2009 2:28:43 PM , Rating: 1
openCL is basicly cuda. nvidia had their hands in the development of opencl and were the first to have working driver for it publicly available. ATI might just now be starting to support opencl, but so is nvidia. Also, opencl is basicly just a checkbox feature at the moment; where as, cuda/physx is actually getting a small bit of traction.

In the end, I expect opencl or something similiar taking the lead as far as what supports it, but to say nvidia isn't leading the way with gpgpu is to be blind to the current situation. ATI is in no position to overtake them considering nvidia supports everything ati is aiming for and more.


RE: ATi does accelerated computing too....
By omnicronx on 11/17/2009 2:51:01 PM , Rating: 5
OpenCL is not basically Cuda.. Cuda is best used in GPGPU ONLY situations whereas OpenCL is not hardware dependent. You can code OpenCL to work with or without GPU hardware present, it will just take advantage of it if it is there. This to me makes it far more robust and useful in more situations.(and on more hardware)

Furthermore looking back through history you can see why proprietary formats like Cuda are not a good idea in the graphics industry. 3dFX was once the leader in graphics cards, they controlled and lead the 3d accelerated graphics card industry for a while. What was once a major selling point in glide, very quickly became their Achilles heal. Developers started using the open format OpenGL and the rest was history, Nvidia and ATI stepped in and were able to bring in new rendering enhancements faster and better than 3dfx and glide.

Now I'm not saying Nivida didnt have a major hand in kicking off the GPGPU industry with CUDA, they surely did, but they are quickly losing their grip. Proprietary development just does not fly in the GPU world, heck I can't think of one thing over the years from either ATI or Nvidia that has become a mainstream standard in any way or form. (ex physics, great idea, terrible idea to try and go off on their own, developers are not going to code for something which will segregate the market)


RE: ATi does accelerated computing too....
By AyashiKaibutsu on 11/17/2009 3:01:57 PM , Rating: 2
Yea, I was being a little to vague in my implication of their equality, but it still stands that nvidia had a big hand in developing opencl and is fully supporting it. So while nvidia might have their propriatary cuda/phsyx, they're not in the position of 3dfx as they support the open format too.


RE: ATi does accelerated computing too....
By omnicronx on 11/17/2009 3:09:13 PM , Rating: 2
Very true, in the end either way you are correct. Nvidia is way ahead of ATI who seem to be dragging their feet. (although to their credit they have beefed up their GPU lineup)


By monomer on 11/17/2009 5:03:30 PM , Rating: 2
ATI is making some headway in the GPGPU space, as shown in the November 2009 Top 500 Supercomputer listing (please see entry number 5):

http://www.top500.org/list/2009/11/100

The fastest Nvidia based supercomputer comes in at number 56. The upcoming Oak Ridge supercomputer running on Fermi is still going to be quite some time away, as Nvidia has just announced that Fermi won't be available until Q2 2010.

http://www.nvidia.com/object/io_1258360868914.html

I agree, though, that ATI should be promoting it more, and putting out better development tools.


By GodisanAtheist on 11/17/2009 11:24:47 PM , Rating: 2
...and yet no one remembers Close to Metal:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Close_to_Metal

ATI was out of the gate first when it came to GPGPU computing. This was back on their X1xxx GPUs. They dumped it, and left it to rot (as Stream SDK).

People seem to be astoundingly ignorant of what CUDA really is. From what i'm reading here, its being conflated with PhysX or some such thing. "Oh, it'll get CRUSHED by OpenCL". No. CUDA stands for Compute Unified Device Architecture and has nothing to do with software at all. Its simply NVIDIA's design for exposing the compute power of the GPU and while not nearly as powerful as ATI's architecture, it is FAR FAR more accessible.

If anyone needs confirmation of this, look at F@H. ATI should be kicking Nvidia's ass up and down the street based on TFLOP figures alone, but reality tells a different tale.

Fact is, while Nvidia wasn't the first to enter GPGPU computing it has invested an enormous amount of money into the technology and as a result they are leaps and bounds ahead of ATI. NVIDIA talks about GPGPU more than anyone else and has done more than anyone else to make it available to the consumer. It should be no mystery as to why NVIDIA & GPGPU are often one and the same to the average joe.


I'm curious...
By Drag0nFire on 11/17/2009 10:20:57 AM , Rating: 2
what this update might do to battery life on my laptop. On the one hand, decreased CPU activity. On the other hand, increased GPU activity...

Someone study this for me!




RE: I'm curious...
By Veerappan on 11/17/2009 12:04:21 PM , Rating: 2
I just posted another reply in this thread, but I'll recap.

Even without GPU acceleration, this flash version seems to be more efficient, so hopefully our battery life will go up regardless. And in theory the GPU-based acceleration will be even better because the dedicated hardware should be more efficient than general-purpose CPU cycles.


no 8800gtx?
By hypocrisyforever on 11/17/2009 10:55:36 AM , Rating: 2
It sucks that flash won't utilize my 2 8800gtx's. Now,....if someone has something newer and better than my 8800gtx, I doubt the cpu they are using would feel ANYTHING from running flash.....so this seems like a moot issue.




RE: no 8800gtx?
By eddieroolz on 11/17/2009 2:02:28 PM , Rating: 2
Actually my E7200 OC still kinda feels it once a while, so I'll be eagerly trying this out in a bit!

Shame it won't run on your 8800GTX though.


Embarrassing
By knowom on 11/17/2009 4:55:52 PM , Rating: 2
The offloading is nice on Adobe's part, but 64bit flash for windows and mac would have been nicer too bad they've been dragging their knuckles on that issue for ages.




RE: Embarrassing
By highlandsun on 11/17/2009 11:37:38 PM , Rating: 2
Eh, you're not missing anything. The only thing Open about the "Open Screen Project" is the hole you're getting reamed through by all their DRM crap. The longer Adobe ignores 64 bit the more surely they cement their irrelevance going forward, and the world will be a better place when their hypocritical crap is gone.


where's sprockkets?
By Manch on 11/17/2009 10:41:53 PM , Rating: 2
I thought sprockkets would be on here screaming and ranting about how much Adobe Flash sucks by now. Hell he made 57 of the 108 posts on the article below! RMFAO!

http://www.dailytech.com/Adobe+Tries+to+Prod+Apple...




No Linux Support
By Trisagion on 11/17/2009 10:26:15 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Linux currently lacks a developed standard API that supports H.264 hardware video decoding


That's a load of croc. nVidia's VDPAU acceleration has been around for some time now and works fine on the ION platform. They can even use the VAAPI architecture to make it vendor neutral.

Not to mention, still no 64-bit support.

Adobe just plain sucks. Get some decent Linux programmers, losers.




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