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Adobe previews GPU acceleration support for Flash in Mac OS X

post #1 of 26
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Adobe this week issued a preview release of an update to its Flash Player, code-named "Gala," which allows for H.264 video hardware decoding in Mac OS X 10.6.3, placing less emphasis on a computer's CPU.

The capability for Flash to use GPU hardware acceleration just became available with the Mac OS X 10.6.3 update for Apple's Snow Leopard operating system. A new technical note revealed a new framework that allows developers low-level access to H.264 decoding capabilities in Macs with compatible GPUs, including the GeForce 9400M, GeForce 320M and GeForce GT 330M.

Previously, hardware acceleration for Flash was only available through Windows PCs and X86-based notebooks. Gala marks the first time Mac users will be able to benefit from hardware decoding of Flash.

"The combination of NVIDIA GPUs (GeForce 9400M, GeForce 320M or GeForce GT 330M) with the Gala version of Flash Player enables supported Macs running the current version of OS X to deliver smooth, flicker-free HD video with substantially decreased power consumption," Adobe wrote on its website, where the software can be downloaded. "Users will be able to enjoy a much smoother viewing experience when accessing rich, H.264 video content built with the Flash Platform from popular sites like Hulu.com or YouTube."

The preview release of Gala is a sign of things to come, but does not yet provide consistent results. In a quick test, Engadget found that CPU use Apple's latest Core i7 MacBook Pros dropped a third to a half, but the Core i5 machine actually increased the CPU load by as much as 20 percent.

The Gala preview is intended for developers to test the new functionality and test compatibility. The feature is expected to find its way into the Flash Player after the release of version 10.1, expected to arrive in the first half of 2010. To test it, download the 7.4MB installer from Adobe.

The preview release notifies users when hardware decoding is in use by displaying a small white square in the upper left corner of a video. Adobe has sought input from developers on the preview release as it prepares a final product for the general public.

Gala is evidence of a rare positive between Apple and Adobe, two companies that have been engaged in a bitter rivalry of late. Most recently in their ongoing feud, Adobe abandoned development of Flash-to-iPhone porting software, after Apple's iPhone OS 4 developer agreement specifically prohibited the use of an intermediary tool, such as the one Adobe plans to release.

After Adobe employees criticized the iPhone for being a closed system, Apple fired back in a rare public comment, stating that Adobe "has it backwards," as Flash is "closed and proprietary." Apple has backed the open source standard HTML5 video streaming format while blocking the use of Flash on its portable devices, including the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

At a company meeting in January, the Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was rumored to have called Adobe "lazy," and said most Mac crashes are due to Flash. "The world is moving to HTML5," Jobs was quoted as saying.

Jobs also allegedly called Flash a "CPU hog" in a meeting with officials from The Wall Street Journal. The Apple co-founder was said to have called the Web format "full of security holes" and "old technology."

For more on why Apple is unlikely to ever allow Flash onto its iPhone OS-powered mobile devices, see AppleInsider's three-part Flash Wars series.
post #2 of 26
That's nice, but I never do video with Flash. When are they going to get around to fixing the other 10,000 problems with Flash so my MacBook Pro doesn't burn my lap?
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Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #3 of 26
I installed Click2Flash about a month ago. Unsurprisingly, Safari rarely crashes and websites that insist on having 20 Flash apps, usually ads running, no longer make my lowly G4 a tortoise.

This sounds uninteresting already.
post #4 of 26
It works... I get the little white square on my 2009 Mac Mini. But I would still prefer sites to offer HTML5, as Flash has a history of security holes. Safari does too, but Flash just adds a whole other set I don't really need.
post #5 of 26
jeez, this "Apple finally gave us the API to fix Flash" is pure Adobe horse manure attempt to blame the fault on Apple and distract people from the real issue.

Hello? It's an API to accelerate h.264 videos and just how many Flash sites are there have h.264 videos? The real issue is Flash, with or without video, do cause system breakdowns. period.
post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by bedouin View Post

I installed Click2Flash about a month ago. Unsurprisingly, Safari rarely crashes and websites that insist on having 20 Flash apps, usually ads running, no longer make my lowly G4 a tortoise.

This sounds uninteresting already.

same here, clcik to flash is nice.

Adobe too little too late
post #7 of 26
Love apple... Hate flash... Love the battle between the two companies... One of the better geek soap operas... I do have to wonder if codename gala stands for Get A Life Apple ...
post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by tania View Post

how many Flash sites are there have h.264 videos?

If you go to YouTube and change it to 480p or higher it tends to be h.264
post #9 of 26
This will be fantastic for NHL GameCenter Live
post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

When are they going to get around to fixing the other 10,000 problems with Flash so my MacBook Pro doesn't burn my lap?

Keep it away from your lap unless you want to become sterile - you're literally frying the little guys.


Sounds like a great promo:

"Flash. Better than the George Foreman"
post #11 of 26
I find that quite hilarious as Apple will be switching to AMD Fusion sometime this year.
post #12 of 26
Flash is horrible, Adobe is horrible, why would I want either of them?
post #13 of 26
Flash is great, Adobe is great. I'm glad they are around.
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Previously, hardware acceleration for Flash was only available through Windows PCs and X86-based notebooks. Gala marks the first time Mac users will be able to benefit from hardware decoding of Flash.

Wow finally!

Is Steve like a bit out of touch or something? Why did it take such a media blowout, name calling, ¨Flash is a CPU hog¨ and all this childish stuff just to get a little GPU acceleration?

Like DUH! of course Flash is a CPU hog without the GPU, it was designed to use both to begin with.

Then Apple goes ahead and creates the Flashless iPad with only 1Ghz processor and low graphics capability so they dont have to include elaborate cooling, then complain because so many sites out there use Flash because most visitors have a PC with GPU acceleration.

So the only thing Steve can do is create a media storm and a temper tantrum as to hopefully get websites to make iPad friendly versions of their sites. Because the iPad will have slow adoption rate once people find out they cant visit nearly half the sites on the web. Web sites will say why bother if the hit traffic to their sites from iPads isnt worth the trouble. Thus setting a vicious cycle in motion.

So Steveś outburst was designed to hopefully break that cycle, because Apple stands to make huge margins off the iPad that lacks many features of PC laptops of the same price range.

Itś a heck of a gamble, if I was Apple I would have kept the entire MacBook line just in case, instead of forcing MacBook people either into a iPad or a MacBook Pro or worse a Windows laptop.
post #15 of 26
I find it funny that the current threat to the Flash throne has caused such a flurry of activity in the Mac front. A good indicator that there wasn't enough competition in that arena and Adobe was just being lazy. I seriously hope the rest of the world puts Flash in it's place. Although it has limited uses, I could do without it.

Sounds like they still have some work to do to the performance numbers, but at least this may have a positive spin on those sites where you're forced to use it. I can't stand sites that supply ONLY flash for the entire site. Webmasters who rely on such should be taken out back and shot, not only for being lazy, but for not providing text only alternatives.
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post #16 of 26
I am just wondering whether this is a question of too little too late, on the part of Adobe. Part of the problem of Flash is that many of the animations are written by designers with no notion of programming, so while things may look stunning and seem to work well, there are performance hits that could be avoided. If Adobe really wants to help Flash, then it should analyse these common mistakes and try to provide solutions to deal with it. My mind is already set on HTML5 & CSS3, and IE is currently the only weight around my ankles in that move.

Note: Bias: I am not a big fan of Flash.
post #17 of 26
Apparently, neither is Steve Jobs.
post #18 of 26
I see... Now that their feet are exposed to fire, they start to explore how to accelerate Flash for OS X.
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post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

I see... Now that their feet are exposed to fire, they start to explore how to accelerate Flash for OS X.

OR, here in reality, they had this planned for a while, just as they have with the Windows version.

Imagine that concept.
post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronster View Post

OR, here in reality, they had this planned for a while, just as they have with the Windows version.

Imagine that concept.

If true, the results are even more lame.

http://www.engadget.com/2010/04/28/a...sults-may-var/

It's actually WORSE on the i5 system? And even on the i7, it still requires 50% CPU?

Pretty dismal results if they've actually had this in the lab for a while (which, presumably, they have).
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
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post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1337_5L4Xx0R View Post

Apparently, neither is Steve Jobs.

Exactly.
post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

If true, the results are even more lame.

http://www.engadget.com/2010/04/28/a...sults-may-var/

It's actually WORSE on the i5 system? And even on the i7, it still requires 50% CPU?

Pretty dismal results if they've actually had this in the lab for a while (which, presumably, they have).

Yeah i was just going to say...

I have the MBP i5 and Flash is a LOT slower!? Like it is barely usable on some videos now.

Um, wtf. I like what Flash can do. I just don't get why a huge company like Adobe can't make a friggin' video player that doesn't skip and bring modern dual-core CPUs to their knees with 4 gigs of RAM. After years and years of having a Mac player. That's kind of nuts, what do they have like 0.5 people working on the Mac player? Like, they have the janitor working on it every other week?
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post #23 of 26
I'm using it, playing a video on Facebook using Safari and my cpu usage is 15% temp 56C.

BUT, other things don't work properly, Farmville is unplayable, the new Flash sections of mafia wars are also unplayable, it's like the Flash sections don't know where they should be when other elements should be layered above them on a page.
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post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

I'm using it, playing a video on Facebook using Safari and my cpu usage is 15% temp 56C.

BUT, other things don't work properly, Farmville is unplayable, the new Flash sections of mafia wars are also unplayable, it's like the Flash sections don't know where they should be when other elements should be layered above them on a page.

No more Zynga? So you will be thanking Adobe??
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post #25 of 26
Nope I do the Flash parts (of Mafia Wars) on my iPhone, the old way still exists as an alternative.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquatic View Post

No more Zynga? So you will be thanking Adobe??
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post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

Nope I do the Flash parts (of Mafia Wars) on my iPhone, the old way still exists as an alternative.

Farmville and Mafiawars are the heroin of the Internet.
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