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Adobe Flash HD-Video GPU Acceleration Guide E-mail
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Written by Servando Silva - Edited by Olin Coles   
Wednesday, 30 December 2009
Table of Contents: Page Index
Adobe Flash HD-Video GPU Acceleration Guide
ATI GPU Acceleration Problems
Setting up your ATI GPU
NVIDIA Control Panel Settings
Testbeds and Methodology
High-End PC CPU usage
ATI Image Quality
NVIDIA Image Quality
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Adobe Flash GPU Acceleration Guide

Let's think the first words coming to our minds when reading: Adobe Flash Player. Youtube, Hulu, vimeo, HD videos might be some of them. If you don´t understand or relate this words you probably live under a rock or have been out of the game, and by game I mean technology world, for a long time. In our AVIVO Purevideo DXVA HD Acceleration Guide we show you how to use your GPU to playback and enhance many kinds of video formats, normally used on DVDs and Blu-Rays, but not limited to them. The benefit is clear. As long as you can use your graphics card to playback your videos instead of using the CPU, you are doing things easier for your machine, thus consuming less energy and freeing your CPU to do other stuff at the same time.


This was the original idea of the DXVA technology. But what happens to the rest of the content we normally watch at the web? Flash is one of the biggest and more used formats today. Youtube being ranked 4th (by traffic stats) is knocking hard at our doors asking for some attention. Some other sites like Hulu (USA) or vimeo have enormous quantities of traffic also, and it wouldn´t be a problem if they weren´t constantly evolving and offering better quality services. For example, Youtube just went up to 1080p support the last month. But I fear 1080p isn´t an easy task for a mid-low CPU, it is? The answer to all this is very simple: DXVA for Adobe Flash Player, and that's what we are testing today in our Adobe Flash GPU Acceleration Guide.

Why Accelerate Video with GPU and not CPU?

Well, if you think deeply about it, the answer remains at the name of the hardware component. Video Cards are meant to be processors which co-operate with the whole micro-controller so that they can actually work in anything that involves video creation, playback and 3d rendering. Let´s put it simple. If we have an enterprise which evolves into many departments for every task they do, why should the CEO Manager should be doing the counts if they have a counters department?

Your GPU can partially or completely decode any video in a faster and more productive way than your CPU does. This involves using less time, having better results and lower power consumption. Yes, you have that power on your high-end PC and you´re wasting it just to check your emails and read articles on Benchmark Reviews (and we particularly appreciate that), but certainly a good part of the time you will use your PC as a HTPC (Home Theater Personal Computer) watching videos on the net, having a second ride on an old/new DVD or enjoying the new Blu-Ray collection you just bought. Meanwhile, you don´t want your GPU eating nachos and touching its belly while your CPU makes his best effort to decode your videos. Needless to say if you bought an HTPC, you really need to know how to take advantage of it, if not, the price will not be reattributed.

Here at Benchmark Reviews, we did some extensive testing on how does DXVA affects on HD flash videos. We measured CPU usage and image quality as well. To complete our target, we used the new Adobe Flash 10.1 release, which enables DXVA acceleration on ATI and NVIDIA GPUs. One month ago, when this pre-release version was launched there were some driver issues with ATI cards. They solved this with their new drivers and it seems all is working flawless now, so we think right now, after a month, it ´s a good time to test and publish our guide.

About Adobe Flash Playeradobe_logo_benchmark-reviews-com.png

The Adobe Flash Player is software for viewing animations and movies using computer programs such as a web browser. Flash player is a widely distributed proprietary multimedia and application player created by Macromedia and now developed and distributed by Adobe after its acquisition. Flash Player runs SWF files that can be created by the Adobe Flash authoring tool, by Adobe Flex or by a number of other Macromedia and third party tools.

Adobe Flash, or simply Flash, refers to both a multimedia authoring program and the Adobe Flash Player, written and distributed by Adobe, which uses vector and raster graphics, a native scripting language called Action Script and bidirectional streaming of video and audio. Strictly speaking, Adobe Flash is the authoring environment and Flash Player is the virtual machine used to run the Flash files, but in colloquial language these have become mixed: "Flash" can either mean the authoring environment, the player, or the application files.

Flash Player has support for an embedded scripting language called Action Script (AS), which is based on ECMAScript. Since its inception, Action Script has matured from script syntax without variables to one that supports object-oriented code, and may now be compared in capability to JavaScript (another ECMAScript-based scripting language).

The Flash Player was originally designed to display 2-dimensional vector animation, but has since become suitable for creating rich Internet applications and streaming video and audio. It uses vector graphics to minimize file size and create files that save bandwidth and loading time. Flash is a common format for games, animations, and GUIs embedded into web pages.

The Flash Player is available as a plugin for recent versions of web browsers (such as Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Safari and Internet Explorer) on selected platforms. Adobe states each version of the plugin is backwards-compatible, with the exception of security changes introduced in Version 10.


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