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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


We are watching a whole different story on the next tests. The PC is a low-end ION based system. This means, an Intel Atom 330 CPU, with less than 2GB available RAM and NVIDIA 9300 GPU. At this point, trying Youtube HD playback is almost useless. The video will stutter a lot, and by a lot, I mean really a lot. In fact, the CPU won´t be able to do anything else and even a click on any menu will take many seconds to load. This is how an Atom 330 works without DXVA:


Check that CPU usage. Average almost went to 90% while maximum tops at (practically) 100%. Video playback isn´t fluid and system shows hard stuttering. Before I show you the magic behind DXVA, I need to explain the tests done in our ASRock Nettop ION 330 review. After publishing the ION 330 revision, many people went out and bought the product. Olin Coles tested all his platforms with Solid State Drives to keep the comparisons fair. After that, we ended with some people at the forum saying they had problems with Flash HD playback.

Olin answered he didn´t have problems when watching Youtube HD or Hulu, and he is right, but here is the reason behind it. I had the same problems with Flash HD videos. The only way to view flash HD was using DXVA and the new BETA version. Going on deeper tests, the only difference between Olin and all the ION 330 users was the SSD. I was convinced that the HDD/SSD shouldn´t make a difference with HD playback but I was so wrong.

First, I did all the Flash tests with a small 2.5" 5400rpm HDD. The result was not even 720p playback being fluid. Next I tried a 3.5" 7200 rpm HDD, and to my surprise 720p was viewable in that situation. I re-tested everything to make sure the HDD was doing the difference and surprisingly, it was. So, I slapped a RAID 0 array with a pair of 2.52 5400 rpm HDDs which resulted into a faster system and voila! Flash HD up to 1080p was able to be reproduced on my ION system at fair FPS. Not only that, but 720p was now as fluid as when using DXVA.

I can recall Olin words when he says HDDs are the bigger bottleneck on our systems and a SSD makes a whole new difference on our system performance. This is true, so true that even Video playback works better with a faster HDD. Of course, using a fast SSD like Olin did in his ION 330 review makes any Flash HD experience easy even without DXVA. This doesn´t mean Olin, I or anyone with an ION system should ignore the newest BETA flash version, but we needed to point and sort this out for our readers. Please, at this moment you should try Adobe Flash Player with DXVA support. It really worth's it.

Let´s have a look at the Flash HD playback with DXVA enabled:


Now, that's a difference! Average CPU usage is 29.05% while it peaks at 41%. HD content playback is now fluid and stutter-less, and your CPU is available for other tasks (even I don´t recommend it). It seems like NVIDIA and Adobe also did a great job together to bring DXVA technology well implemented on the new Flash Player. Let´s move on to Image Quality...


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