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Hardware and Flash Playback

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Brandt Krueger
Hardware and Flash Playback
on Feb 25, 2008 at 6:06:41 pm

Hi folks,

I found a couple of posts flirting with this issue, but I'm hoping to get some more definitive answers and a few more opinions!

Just wondering if anyone has an overview of what Flash uses regarding system resources. Does it rely more on system memory than graphics card memory? Does having dedicated graphics memory even help? Is it more CPU or GPU intensive? I sure it depends on what you're doing [i]with[/i] Flash, so let's assume high quality Kiosk/Presentation type things, rather than action games. High on the pretty pretty and low on audio/interactivity. How does adding bitmaps or FLV into the picture change things?

Any thoughts would be much appreciated, as we're about to buy our next generation of trade show laptops. Basically I want to know if I should invest more in memory, CPU, or dedicated graphics...


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Kelly Johnson
Re: Hardware and Flash Playback
on Feb 26, 2008 at 5:28:24 am

Pick one and develop towards it... may not be as definite as you'd like, but it will help in establishing the 'how' of creative.

Though the Flash 9 player handles bitmaps much more efficiently than ever before, tweening bitmaps(especially alpha states) can still reveal a cpu's weakest link.

If you're buying laptops, make sure they all have the latest plug-ins available and make sure developers fully understand the principles of proper coding.

Use something like for speed tests or for testing. Another would be:

That site is one simple example how vector graphics properly used can be much faster than their typical bitmap counter-parts.

In the end, I've always leaned towards CPU speed cycles rather than graphics cards because Flash is a web-based technology first... even though one may push it's limits for other implementations..and on the web, once something is downloaded, the client CPU takes precedence in generating the content.

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Ross Gerbasi
Re: Hardware and Flash Playback
on Feb 27, 2008 at 4:10:28 pm

Is your app truly a desktop application? if its a kiosk? Are you actually using the flash player or the AIR runtime?

Flash can be a RAM beast, depending on how long your run it for. Everything that is on the screen at once will need to be loaded into ram, so you will wanna think about that as you get the machine. Hopefully, with good memory management, you can keep it tidy so you don't have to worry about runaways.

Processor.. well thats always helpful :) But I don't have any specific specs on flash vs processor's.. I can tell you as of the player can support multi-core, hardware accelerated full screen video. I am guessing your kiosk will be running in full screen mode so you will wanna take advantage of that. At a max of 4 CPU's, this will help flash in all kinda ways.

I would be looking at a GOOD video card... a good one.. not the crazy card that will set you back your life savings. We aren't talking real time hardware accelerated 3d :) but it should help give your fullscreen app a boost.

Here are some of the details on 9.0.115 that would wanna pay attention too, under improved performance.

:) hope this is useful!

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Brandt Krueger
Re: Hardware and Flash Playback
on Feb 27, 2008 at 5:18:22 pm

Thanks for you thoughts, R and K...

As our old laptops have aged, my development has been forced to optimize, optimize, optimize to make BetterFasterCooler presentations that still run on them at a good clip (pardon the pun). Moving forward I will continue to make things as svelte as possible, but the less I have to consciously worry about it, the better, and I want to make sure I'm spending my money wisely- dedicated GPU laptops add BIGtime $$.

The general consensus over at the Adobe Flash forums was that CPU and Memory should be the priority, and it seems like overall you agree. And yeah, Ross, it probably doesn't hurt to avoid any Fisher Price graphics cards... just don't need the HumVee, either :)

Thanks again,

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