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Flash - CPU Usage - FPS - Frame Rate

Dec 10, 2008 6:03 PM

Ok, I first want to apologize if this problem has been answered and fixed before, but I have spent days pouring over forums, and I still can not fix my problem. It requires a little bit of background first:

I can't remember how long ago it started, but whenever I am viewing a flash file (a game, videos from youtube, advertisements, etc.) My CPU usage increases to 99-100% and remains there until I close the program that is running it, or go to a different webpage. I normally use firefox, so for the longest time I was searching for the problem relating to firefox exclusively. I came across FlashBlock, and I still use it in Firefox. However, this is not a SOLUTION to the problem, just a "work around." If I actually want to view the flash content - bye bye CPU usage.

So for the longest time I focused on firefox. I completely uninstalled and removed flash and firefox from my computer, and reinstalled. I even tried it with an older version of flash, because I can't remember always having this problem, and the problem persisted. But now I have everything up to date, and the problem is still there.

Then I decided to use IE for a little bit because I was upset at Firefox. I was surprised when I was on youtube, or playing a flash game, that my CPU went up to 100% and remained there. SO instead of googling "flash firefox cpu" I just googled "flash cpu" and I have been doing some research/experimenting. I am - by no means - a very technical person or a programmer, I am an ordinary user that is upset about this problem. I went to this page http://www.bezzmedia.com/swfspot/samples/beginner/Show_the_Current_Fra mes_Per_Second and watched my cpu usage go up to 100. But when the animation goes to a lower fps, from about 1-5, my cpu usage goes down, but only to about 80. So what happens is I can do control-alt-delete and watch the performance tab's graph. After letting it run for a while, I get almost an perfect, symmetrical mountainous "landscape" if that makes sense - with bumps up to a hundred, and coming down to about 80. It is so consistent that I am positive my system cannot handle even normal frame rates for some reason. However, I am running on XP Pro with a Pentium 4 2.80GHz processor and 2.5 gigs of RAM and I should not even be having this problem - I can run tons of programs and not have my cpu usage go above even 50, but a flash video puts it at 100. It is ridiculous! I don't have a virus or anything, and I actually take pride in keeping my computer clean and efficient. It happens to all users on the computer as well.

Again, I am not a programmer. Is there some option somewhere that I can tell my flash content to reduce its frame rate, or not go above a certain number? It seems that many people are having this problem. I think I remember someone somewhere saying that with the newer versions, they are trying to perform "better" than an older version you had, and the frames per second increases, but I have no idea if this is true. Should I roll back to a later version, like 5? I already tried it back on version 9 but I still had the problem.

The "ideal" solution is to figure out what is going on with the frame rate on my computer. Maybe if I could just right click the flash, and tell it to play a lower fps? Does hardware acceleration have to do with this? Also, changing the "quality" of the flash content from low to high or medium doesn't affect the cpu usage - it stays at 100%.

Please help out an ignorant person if you can. I want to preserve the life of my computer as long as possible. If someone could help me - in layman's terms - I would greatly appreciate it, and so would all the other upset people googling "flash cpu problem." Thank you!
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 14, 2008 5:36 AM   in reply to math_guy87
    I too am frustrated by the very real problem with flash and CPU usage. I have a dell Precision 390 workstation and should not have my system come to a crawl whenever I go to a web site that has some silly ad that I am absolutely not interested in. I wish that they had a utility like FlashBlock for IE. Adobe seems to be silent about this issue. It would be nice if they would acknowledge it and say that they are working on a solution. At least allow the user to fine tune some optimization parameters so as to create an acceptable balance between performance and video experience.
     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 19, 2009 1:04 PM   in reply to MartyxB

    Great post guys..shame that Adobe don't seem to be listening. I have the same problem and its really starting to annoy me.

     

    These are my specs:

     

    Mac PowerBook G4 (PowerPC) 1.67GHz

    Mac OSX 10.5.6

    Firefox 3.0.8

    Flash Player 10.0 r22

     

    ADOBE - PLEASE FIX THIS

     

    Thanks,

    Chris

     
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  • kglad
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    Apr 19, 2009 3:47 PM   in reply to cjm76

    it's not adobe's fault that it's possible to stress your cpu using applications created by one of their products.

     

    just because someone has poor coding skills and uploads a poorly coded file onto their website that causes problems doesn't mean adobe should do anything about it.

     

    here's that same file with more reasonable coding:

     

    http://www.kglad.com/Files/31-framespersecond.html

     

    and while that still may put some stress on your cpu because the glowfilter is cpu intensive, my file should look better, run better and put less stress on your cpu than the original authors file.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 19, 2009 4:41 PM   in reply to kglad

    Thanks for your response, but not sure if I agree.

     

    EVERY website I visit that contains Flash hogs my CPU - they can't all be poorly written??  I'm talking about blue chip companies like www.ft.com, www.cnn.com and www.theice.com

     
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  • kglad
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    Apr 19, 2009 4:48 PM   in reply to cjm76

    i'm not familiar with all websites, but a number of prominent ones that should have professional coders working on them do not have skilled flash coders working on them.  in particular, msnbc.com and cnn.com have frequent coding errors in prominent flash applications (like video) displayed on their sites.  in addition, their ads can be coded by low-skill individuals.

     

    i suspect low cost is more important than high quality for these websites.

     

    what if you visit www.kglad.com?  do you see cpu over-load?  what about that glowfilter file on my site?  did it cause a significant impact on your cpu's load?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 19, 2009 4:56 PM   in reply to kglad

    OK, I hit your homepage, www.kglad.com, and my CPU was locked at a steady 85% whilst the pattern was being drawn on the page!  Guess that's a bad sign?

     

    My Mac is only a Powerbook G4 (PowerPC) 1.67GHz...might that be the issue?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 2, 2009 4:43 AM   in reply to kglad

    I also visit kglad.com and my CPU went not below an 85% of usage, and I have a 3Ghz genuine intel pentium.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 7, 2009 3:56 PM   in reply to math_guy87

    I have the same problem over here. I hate to dive into complexity regarding this, but there are two things happening that might be relevent. Firefox when examined with process monitor seems to be recursively creating and killing threads which accounts for upwards of 20% of the cpu usage, these extensive bouts of activity are preceded and punctuated by queries, read, and writes of "C:\Documents and Settings\Open\Local Settings\Temp\fla64.tmp". A second potential relevent note is that we should post what extensions we are using to see if we can track it to one of them. I use many to be efficient "Tools -> Addons -> My Config". I attempted to kill the cpu usage first with google desktop, disabling history, advanced, and safe browing features to no avail.

    Attachments:
     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 7, 2009 5:21 PM   in reply to jortony

    Seems as if a lot of us are having the same problem, with decent hardware specifications too....

     

    KGLAD - any sugestions for us all?

     
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  • kglad
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    May 7, 2009 6:27 PM   in reply to cjm76

    i never noticed that problem but i'm seeing cpu usage between 30% and 40% with that home page design.  and that's way too high.

     

    what about the mandelbrot snippet?  that's actually very cpu intensive and i'm seeing less than 10% during the draw-phase.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 7, 2009 6:38 PM   in reply to kglad

    Mandelbrot image during the drawing phase takes up 90% cpu utilization.  

     

    Another example, The Times online homepage has a Delta advert/banner at the top of the page right now - simply going to the Times homepage causes the Firefox CPU utilization to be locked on 85%...

     

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/

     

     

    These are my specs once more:

     

    Mac PowerBook G4 (PowerPC) 1.67GHz

    Mac OSX 10.5.6

    Firefox 3.0.10

    Flash Player 10.0 r22

    Add-Ons - 1Click-Weather, Foxy Proxy, Chromifox Basic theme

     

    Many thanks,

    Chris

     
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  • kglad
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    May 7, 2009 6:46 PM   in reply to kglad

    ok, now i'm seeing between 10% and 20% when kglad.com is on screen.  if i change tabs cpu use drops to 0% to 1%.

     
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  • kglad
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    May 7, 2009 7:02 PM   in reply to kglad

    and now it's less around 3%.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 8, 2009 1:17 PM   in reply to kglad

    I'm sorry, I'm not following you. Did you find a workaround for watching flash videos with minimal cpu usage?

     
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  • kglad
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    May 8, 2009 2:36 PM   in reply to jortony

    no, i was just cleaning up my code and pointing out that your cpu problems are because of coding issues.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 8, 2009 5:56 PM   in reply to kglad

    For mac users there is a slight performance hit with the mac flash player:

     

    http://www.gskinner.com/blog/archives/2009/05/idle_cpu_usage.html

     

    (that talks a lot about AIR, but the underlying reason apparently is the flash player on the mac platform)

     

    But that's not something that would explain the 85%+ CPU consumption, I agree that that is related to how you code.

     

    Video, and HD video in particular, for example, will consume a lot of CPU cycles on older machines. That's unavoidable as you are basically doing something that requires a lot of work on an older processor. Playing the same video in Vlan player or another player will have similar implications.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 9, 2009 12:47 AM   in reply to kglad

    Hey, my cpu is less active on your site now. I am hovering around 30% now. What did you change?

     

    Reading above, I just want to point out that the biggest cpu hits come from youtube tabs open, or embedded videos/slideshows (flickr, and other image hosts...)

     

    Reading below, (Greg) I agree there should be a point where browsing the internet will be annoying or impossible on older machines, but I would hardly classify the machines listed above as obsolete, and mine even games nicely.

     

    As an recap/update of the current status we are still looking for fixes and workarounds other than to get most of the internets better coders or to go i7?

     

    Thank you for efforts, we will be the beacon of hope for many confused and frustrated people as they start to identify their slow sauce. I wish process monitor/explorer and wireshark shipped with windows...

     

    -J

     

    maybe if there is a point where the coding pushes us too hard to upgrade that we can spoof our OS/browser ID and get something a little nicer served?

     
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  • kglad
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    May 9, 2009 10:35 AM   in reply to jortony

    i wasn't coding as efficiently as i could.  that design on kglad benefited from a few tweaks.

     

    so, the problem with your cpu being 80+% utilized was because of poor coding and not because of any flash player shortfalls. cleaning up my coding dropped utilization from about 40% on my machine to 1%-2%.  and there's more that could be done.  i think i could drop that by 1/2 again, if i thought it would matter to anyone visiting my site.

     

    the problem was, prior to the comments in this thread:

     

    1.  i didn't notice any problem.   and, in fact, i developed that design on an older computer and i'm certain utilization on that computer had to be much higher than 40% and i didn't notice an impact on my older computer's responsiveness.

     

    2.  i didn't think to check if users with less capable computers might have a problem, or people with similar computer specs might have trouble when doing several cpu intensive things simultaneously while visiting my site.

     

    those are programmer (=me) issues.  to some degree that's not adobe's fault.  to some degree it may be adobe's fault:  they made it very easy, in as3, to overload computer memory and bog-down cpu and they made it difficult to create and maintain efficient code.

     

    of course, they didn't make it impossible.  now, with a few years as3 experience i saw right away how to tune that code to be more efficient.  as3 has all the tools needed to create and maintain efficient code.

     

    further, despite the fact that i created that kglad.com design years ago when i was just learning as3, it's safe to say that almost all flash content that i see on the big websites (in particular, cnn and msnbc) are coded by people significantly less knowledgable than i was years ago.  and, in addition, they are probably unaware of the problems they create for many users.

     

    the one thing i can't really understand is, i doubt any of those banners are coded in as3.  they're almost certainly as2 code and that means the coders must be inattentive novices to cause problems using as2.

     

    it's much more difficult to cause problems with as2.  short of creating 1) run-away setInterval() functions, 2) onEnterFrame loops that never end and 3) many movieclips that are not removed when no longer needed, it's hard to create a problem in as2.

     

    i suspect once banner ad creators learn some basic flash, they graduate to creating poorly developed websites instead of making more professional banner ads.  and, if they stick with it, they learn more actionscript and eventually make better-coded websites and applications.

     

    anyway, maybe by complaining to the big websites, they might do something about their poorly coded content.  but i'm sceptical.  i doubt they would care unless the number of visits to their sites dropped.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 9, 2009 12:09 PM   in reply to kglad

    Thanks for your reply kglad, however, I'm afraid my original problem still stands (and I'm sure it still stands for others too.....)

     

    Please see the attached screenshot (download from the Drop.io share if necessary) from my Mac taken this afternoon. I am only running Firefox, no other applications, while viewing your homepage kglad.com - you can see from the Activity Monitor, by CPU utlilisation is running at a constant 80%

     

    http://drop.io/xehwrgj/asset/picture-1-jpg

     

    So despite making the code more efficient, my Mac is still being hammered whenever I view Flash content on websites.  I've already provided my system specs above in previous posts, I'd prefer not to buy another Mac, but I suppose the answer will be to get a faster CPU??

     

    Thanks,

    Chris

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 9, 2009 12:12 PM   in reply to cjm76

    Also just cut and pasted a CRITICAL paragraph of text from the link that Greg Dove posted above - it seems that there IS a problem that Adobe are aware of!!!

     

    "I've been in contact with the team at Adobe, and they have acknowledged that they are aware of the issue, and are actively working to address it. Despite that, I felt it would still be good to write this post for three reasons:

     

    The first reason is to create awareness of this issue, and hopefully through that awareness help to generate some external pressure on Adobe to fix the problem in a timely manner. If you feel this issue is important to you, spread the word about it, and please vote up bug #FP-2009 in the Flash Player bug system. To do so, register on Adobe's JIRA bug system, do a quick search for "FP-2009", and vote for the issue using the link in the left column."

     

     

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 9, 2009 12:20 PM   in reply to cjm76

    Finally...proof that I am not  going mad and that kglad's tweaks to his website make no difference at all to me.

     

    Flash Player

    Unacceptable CPU Use on Idle

    Created: Tuesday 09:55 PM                   Updated: Yesterday 12:15 PM
    Component/s:ActionScript Performance
    Security Level:Public (All JIRA Users                                     )

     

    Severity:Performance
    Reproducibility:Every Time
    Discoverability:High
    Found in Version:Flash Player 10              - 10_0_1_218
    Affected OS(s):Mac              - OS 10.5
    Injection:No
    Steps to Reproduce:
    Steps to reproduce:
    1. Create empty FLA
    2. Publish as AIR or SWF
    3. Install/run AIR app, or run SWF in Stand Alone player or browser
    4. Check CPU usage in Activity Monitor 

      Actual Results:
      CPU usage of 3-6% on idle
      
      Expected Results:
      CPU usage of ~0% on idle
      
      Workaround (if any):
      None. Reducing frame rate reduces CPU use, but remains unacceptable even at 1fps.


    This is a very serious issue, particularly for AIR applications. Having 3 or 4 AIR applications open on a Mac (a scenario that Adobe would like to see/promote) would use 10-20% of the CPU minimum, even when the applications are not doing anything. I also suspect that this is the root of at least some of the performance problems with Flash CS4 on Mac, as the stage core / swfPanel players are likely each using a sizable % of CPU even when idle.
      
     
    Language Found:English
    Bugbase Id:none
    Triaged:Yes
    Participants:Grant Skinner,             Manfred Karrer and             Tao Feng
    Browser:Other (specify version)

     

     

     

     

     

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 9, 2009 12:25 PM   in reply to cjm76

    Yes you're right there are definitively a few performance issues with Flash Player, any software is perfect. Adobe engineers must be working very hard on this, remember that Adobe's plans are taking a full feature FP to cell phones so I think will see big progress about performance in the near future.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 9, 2009 1:35 PM   in reply to cjm76

    That JIRA bug report is the same information I posted earlier (there's a link to it from the blog entry which is more descriptive). As I mentioned, it's specific for mac players and adobe (based on comments on grant skinner's blog) appear to be working to fix it.

     

    But I think the point everyone pretty much agrees on still remains....4% is not the same as 85% at idle for example and if adobe fix this (as they should) then there is still 81% "opportunity" for CPU reduction if the application is intended to be in a 'resting' state - this is related to coding, i.e. 'us'.

     
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  • kglad
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    May 9, 2009 2:15 PM   in reply to cjm76

    i can't see anything in that pic.  it's too small and too low resolution so scaling it up causes it to be unreadable.

     

    but i believe you.  did you clear your browser's cache before re-visiting kglad.com?  if not, can you try that and see if utilization is still above 40%?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 9, 2009 3:02 PM   in reply to kglad

    KGLAD - to the top left of the pic is a link where you can download the .jpg.  Its 330Kb in size and plenty big enough.

     

    Agree with Greg Dove, this is an issue with Mac and Flash Player and needs to be fixed by Adobe.

     

    PLEASE can anyone suffering from same problem as me on this thread go the following website, register, then search for "FP-2009" and then VOTE (on the left of the page) to increase the priority on this issue.

     

    https://bugs.adobe.com/jira/secure/Dashboard.jspa

     

    This bug currently has 131 people who have voted for it....lets get it up to 150 quickly!

     

    Chris

     
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  • kglad
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    May 9, 2009 4:05 PM   in reply to cjm76

    got it.  thank you.  i didn't know about the activity monitor.  (i have a new macbook pro but only got it to program for the iphone when i'm traveling.)

     

    i tried my website using safari and saw between 30%-40% cpu utilization.  so, that's more than a 10-fold difference between my pc and mac.

     

    some of that may be the better specs on my pc but most of that must be a problem with flash and safair/mac os.

     

    i'll tweak my website some more and see it that improves the mac performance.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 10, 2009 3:16 AM   in reply to math_guy87

    Hi,

    I was just looking on web to find out if someone having the same problem like me... I am using windows XP on my athlon 2600+, 768mb ram, nforce2  and ati 9600xt configurated computer. I am having the same troubles, which browser i use if a flash content (whether it is video or a banner) i got 100 percent cpu usage (even i write this message)...I hope Adobe is aware that this problem is not effected only Mac users...

     
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  • kglad
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    May 10, 2009 6:55 AM   in reply to lunaticinsane

    i don't think there's any flash on this page.  so if you're getting 100% cpu usage from this page, you have problems beyond a flash issue.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 10, 2009 7:19 AM   in reply to kglad

    I was watching a video by that time

     

    All non flash content sites works well, i hope Adobe works this out. By the way, kglad you seem you would like to ignore that kind of a problem because that you dont have but there is suc problem, check out google for "cpu usage flash" keywords...

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 10, 2009 7:24 AM   in reply to lunaticinsane

    I think is the fact that developers or designer are doing pretty complex apps, I visited all web pages that were mention in this thread, and the Mandelbrot was the one that during drawing used at most 10% of my CPU, and then inmediately CPU usage when down to 0, both in Firefox 3.0.10 and IE 8. But I got a Core 2 Duo Quad, I believe that if I use my all P4 PC then things will be different, but in my old computer even open wordpad is painful.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 10, 2009 7:35 AM   in reply to math_guy87

    Correct me if i am wrong. Coding important but i am talking about even flash banners, my configuration is not that bad it can plays hd videos, could run flash banners too... Check this out, http://www.isbank.com.tr/ ,  this is a Turkish bank web page, in the middle you can see a banner including iphone and stuff... Even this banner makes cpu go %100...

    İf anyone like i can add screenshot...

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 10, 2009 7:51 AM   in reply to lunaticinsane

    So the   http://www.isbank.com.tr/  website sends my Mac into a 90% CPU frenzy...

     

    lunaticinsane - Please refer to my earlier posts - THIS IS A KNOWN ISSUE THAT ADODE NEED TO FIX.   You need to log into Adobe's bug website (links in earlier post) and vote for bug "FP-2009" to be fixed.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 13, 2009 1:34 AM   in reply to Michael Borbor

    Re: Borbor,

        could you post some basic specs of your computer, perhaps it is a driver issue.... who knows.. but kglad also shares your fortune and we are working to help Adobe fix their delicious product.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 13, 2009 1:35 AM   in reply to lunaticinsane

    Re:lunaticinsane,

       that banking website's internets seem to be down, through there have been several examples which lead to a general slowdown (ie. Youtube). Could you post your configuration WRT browser, extensions, addons, java, OS, and/or hardware. Mine are above if you see any similarities.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 13, 2009 1:36 AM   in reply to math_guy87

    we should post this in a pub forum. I don't know how the privacy of this registered forum would influence google search queries. I have to sleep now.. will think about it when I next remember to =)

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 13, 2009 3:00 AM   in reply to jortony

    Core 2 Quad Core Q9550 2.83Ghz

    HD 1 TB Samsung 7200 RPM/32MB Buffer

    4GB RAM

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 13, 2009 3:22 AM   in reply to jortony

    AMD Atlon 2600+ (single core)

    768mb RAM (DDR 400)

    Nforce2 Based mainboard

    ATI Radeon 9600XT graphic card

    2 Harddisks 80+30 gb 7200 rpm

    Audigy sound card

    Acer 23" full hd monitor

    Win Xp Sp3

    Firefox 3.0.1

    İE 8

    Java last edition

     

    I know that my system is old but i can play HL2 at full hd, it should work out a simple flash animation i believe.

    Plus, i dont think that this problem depeds on addon's. Because i usually use firefox with a couple of extension but even i use standart ie8 i get the same problem.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 17, 2009 4:40 AM   in reply to math_guy87

    I have similar problems (100%CPU) and oddly I can find very little about this in the forums.

     

    My system should easily be able to handle the videos. Furthermore if I download the videos and play them through another video player they run fine, so it is not the hardware. I originally went crazy trying to tweak my Firefox but I also have the problem in Chrome and IE8, so it is not the browser. In fact, reading what few threads I can find it seems this problem has been mentioned on Vista, XP, and Macs, so it isn't even the operating system.

     

    The glow app drops to less than 2fps for me. I have had videos with framerates dropping to less than 1 FPS.

     

    Is FP-2009 the right bug? It says 3-6% on idle on a Mac. This is not the same problem I am facing.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 17, 2009 4:32 AM   in reply to math_guy87

    Hi

     

    I have the same problem with sites that contain flash apps, specially with youtube and those with embedded videos. I've seen that some of you think that this can be an OS related problem; let me say I'm using Linux and I'm having the same issues.

     

    Here are my specifications:

     

    P4 3,2 Ghz

    2 GB RAM

    ATI Radeon 9200SE

    Debian 5.0 "Lenny"

    Linux kernel 2.6.26-1-686

    Shockwave Flash 10.0 r22

    Iceweasel (Firefox) 3.0.6

     

    As someone else said in this thread I can download FLV movies and play them smoothly, with my CPU staying under 10% of usage, so I think this issue is clearly related to Flash player.

     
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