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Reduce CPU usage while watching Flash movies Web Browsers
If, like me, you hate it when your MacBook's fans start to whine while watching YouTube, you should skip Safari (even 4.0 Beta) and try OmniWeb (now a free product) or Camino instead. A comparison of the Activity Monitor results, using the same video in each browser, showed these figures:
Safari 4.0 Beta 
  Safari         50%
  Window Server  12%
OmniWeb 5.9
  OmniWeb        36%
  Window Server   5%
Camino 1.6
  Camino         33%
  Window Server   5%
Here are some screen grabs showing each browser's performance. Further remarkable is the fact that Camino split the workload across the cores nearly evenly. I tested on a Macbook 1.83GHz Core 2 Duo with 2GB of RAM running OS X 10.4.11.

[robg adds: I did a quick test using my 2.66GHz Quad Core Mac Pro (running 10.5.6) and an HD-quality video on YouTube. I also added Firefox to the mix, and my results were a bit different than above. On my machine, for the video I was testing with, Camino was also the clear winner at around 80% CPU usage. However, there wasn't any notable difference between OmniWeb, Firefox, and Safari 4.0 Beta -- all three were in the 115%-125% range. More experimentation is needed, but it definitely seems that Camino does the best job of minimizing CPU usage during Flash playback.]
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Reduce CPU usage while watching Flash movies
Authored by: VictorPimentel on Mar 04, '09 08:41:10AM

If you want to reduce CPU usage using Safari, you could use this UserScript that changes the Youtube Flash Player for a native Quicktime MP4 player. This player is much more efficient, CPU usage will drop dramatically.

That script works in Safari (installing GreaseKit), Firefox (with Greasemonkey) and any other browser that supports scripts, like Opera.



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Reduce CPU usage while watching Flash movies
Authored by: shok on Mar 04, '09 09:03:52AM

Am I the only person who finds all of this values too high? How is the CPU usage while playing a youtube video with Linux or Windows? The same??

btw. Why does a f***ing print job need around 100% CPU??



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Reduce CPU usage while watching Flash movies
Authored by: rv8 on Mar 04, '09 01:39:04PM
btw. Why does a f***ing print job need around 100% CPU??
If a task must process some data, why not have it use all available CPU resources so the task can be completed as quickly as possible? Would you be happier if the task took longer because it was constrained to use a smaller percentage of the available resource?

---
Kevin Horton

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Reduce CPU usage while watching Flash movies
Authored by: shok on Mar 04, '09 03:01:43PM

Hi Kevin,

I don't understand your argument. The limiting factor concerning time until a print is finished isn't the CPU - it is printing speed!! A print job needs the same amount of time regardless if it uses 1% CPU or 100% CPU.

Furthermore the print job uses 100% CPU even when I have a ~200% (2 cores) CPU usage before starting the print job!



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Reduce CPU usage while watching Flash movies
Authored by: houplagrundle on Mar 09, '09 01:27:56AM

Laziness.

The programmer thinks the print job will be over soon so there's no need to flush out resources etc.



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Reduce CPU usage while watching Flash movies
Authored by: palahala on Mar 04, '09 02:22:20PM
I always thought Flash just needed the CPU to keep track of the sites you have visited ;-)

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Flash 10 is SMP enabled
Authored by: Ilgaz on Mar 04, '09 05:24:17PM

One of the reasons I keep recommending Flash 10 to everyone is the fact that it is being SMP (multi core) enabled and it seems to use way more modern display acceleration. It is not just Intel; PowerPC macs (especially older dual G4 etc.) benefits from it.
As far as I know, plugins can get effected by the browser they run in and that windowserver CPU usage may be the way how it ''draws'' content.
I still insist that Quicktime, Real and even WMedia is better for embedding content but thanks (!) to very stupid policies by such software vendors, Flash became de facto standard.



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Reduce CPU usage while watching Flash movies
Authored by: TBoyd on Mar 05, '09 10:14:08AM

Do you remember when Firefox was so fast? It was the fastest browser around, and open source. That's why I switched to it. But I find it frequently dominates my Mac's (G5, single processor) cpu, and it brings my wife's iBook to a crawl.

Thanks for this hint - I will try both the other ones mentioned.

Boyd



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Speed up Firefox by cleaning up places.sqlite
Authored by: palahala on Mar 05, '09 12:01:15PM

I have not been keeping track of figures such as in this hint, but my Firefox seemed to be stalling when playing certain Flash content. For example, some content that was mentioned in some Dutch forum, always paused for half a second at some specific point -- even when replaying after the content had been fully downloaded. I experienced the same with other content. Also, scrolling down using the trackpad would often show the spinning wait cursor for a few seconds. And shutting down Firefox also took a long time.

I keep my browsing history for "at least 90 days", and my Firefox's places.sqlite file (holding both history and bookmarks) had grown to over 20MB. (As a side note, I noticed this because my Time Machine backup would always be at least 20 MB, and used TimeTracker to find out what caused that.)

Vacuuming seemed to improve playback of flash movies and shutdown speed (first close Firefox before doing this):

cd ~/Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles/*.default/ 
ls -la places.*
sqlite3 places.sqlite "vacuum;"

Maybe the slow shutting down of Firefox was caused by the need to merge places.sqlite-journal into places.sqlite?

On the other hand: I still did not find a definitive answer if the vacuuming really helps there -- for some time I thought that maybe clearing the actual cache had better results. Though I could restore my large places.sqlite from a backup, the caches are not being backed up, so could not be restored for testing. Also playing with the Flash privacy settings seemed to have some effect, but often enforcing a stricter privacy would only make things not work at all...



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Speed up Firefox by cleaning up places.sqlite
Authored by: palahala on May 25, '09 07:50:49AM

The first line is missing the escape character for the space in the path. So, when using copy and paste, use the following instead:

cd ~/Library/Application\ Support/Firefox/Profiles/*.default/
ls -lh places.*
sqlite3 places.sqlite "vacuum;"
ls -lh places.*

When the cd-command fails, the 3rd line will in fact create a new 1024 byte database file places.sqlite in the current folder. That file is not used by Firefox of course, so may be deleted.

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