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I'm planning a big multimedia presentation would like to know how to get the best framerate out of Flash Player. Currently, using this simple benchmark tool, the ultra-quality stage seems to drop the frame rate quite a bit and yet the CPU seems to be hardly sweating.

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I'm not sure what else could be the bottleneck...

  • Great CPU (i7 2600)
  • There's plenty of RAM (4gb DDR3 2133mhz)
  • Decent video card (PCI-E Radeon 5770 1GB)

How else can I determine the bottleneck?

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are graphics card drivers up to date? –  kaykay Apr 14 '11 at 5:49
    
What version of Flash player? –  Sathya Apr 14 '11 at 6:04
    
Flash Player 10.2 (latest stable release) and I think I've tried latest ATI Catalyst drivers as well as default Windows 7 drivers, and both seem to offer a similar result. –  Simon Apr 15 '11 at 1:00

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It looks to me that while overall your CPU is, as you put it, barely sweating the probable reason why it is struggling is because the test is fully utilising 1 CPU core and Flash is probably not multi-threaded and cannot use more than 1 CPU for the work that is needed.

If you open up task manager and see that chrome.exe is using 12% of your CPU time which is 1/8 your total CPU power then it is the fact that Flash is not multi-threaded that is the problem.

More CPU cores available does not mean more power is available to any one task, see my answer at Clock Speed Calculation in Multicore Processors

-=EDIT=-

I just tried the test on Firefox and on my quad-core system the cpu usage was at about 48%. I'd assume that it is therefore partially multi-threaded, using a worker (calculation) thread and a rendering thread. I would expect your system to therefore see approximately 23-25% CPU usage on the Chrome.exe process.

Weird, just tried it in Chrome and it is only using the 25% (12% for your system) CPU time I originally expected...

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Thanks for your post Mokubai. I would have thought that if only one core was being utilised then the usage graph would be high (max?) on one section. Or are the graphs not accurate in that sense? –  Simon Apr 15 '11 at 0:38
    
Also, I tried running the benchmark SWF in the standalone Flash projector (latest 10.2) and the process hovers around 18-22% of total CPU usage during the Ultra test. Perhaps it is using two threads as you said... –  Simon Apr 15 '11 at 0:53
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The graphs are not particularly accurate as Windows is in the habit of changing which CPU core is running which task. A program will be rapidly changing where it is running, hence the usage graphs you see. They improved this a bit with Windows 7 and, with games at least, the heaviest working thread gets prioritized onto the first CPU core but there does tend to be a lot of movement. –  Mokubai Apr 15 '11 at 9:06
    
Oh OK, I see. Didn't realise that a thread could change cores so frequently, but I suppose it makes sense. So I guess for the best Flash performance you want the fastest CPU clock speed possible, regardless of cores (although Flash might possibly use 2)...? –  Simon Apr 17 '11 at 11:13

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