High CPU usage with video

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by mike613ottawa, Feb 25, 2009.

  1. mike613ottawa macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2009
    I've searched all over the internet but have yet to come across an answer. I love my Mac, but why is it that when I play a video in a web browser on my MacBook, (be it Flash, QuickTime, etc.) my CPU usage is anywhere from 60-80%, yet when I play the same video on a laptop running Windows, the CPU usage is always in the single digits?

    I realize that video takes a toll on the CPU with integrated video cards, but it doesn't seem to have the same effect on Windows based laptops with integrated video cards. Is the CPU usage possibly just calculated differently, or is the Mac architecture somehow just really inefficient at this?

    Thanks in advance,
  2. BlueRevolution macrumors 603


    Jul 26, 2004
    Montreal, QC
    Does it affect the speed of other applications? If not, I wouldn't worry about it.
  3. mike613ottawa thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2009
    Thanks for the reply! No, it doesn't affect any other applications. It would just appear to take a toll on battery life for obvious reasons. I like to try and keep my resources as low as possible for this reason... :)

  4. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    I've only noticed that with Flash videos. The community thought around here is that Adobe has done a crappy job of optimizing the Mac version of Flash.
  5. hwmbrogden macrumors member

    Feb 24, 2009
    I will be sure to stay away from flash videos then. Ahh man, I thought I was going to get away from video problems...
  6. mike613ottawa thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2009
    This seems to occur with pretty well all video formats, not just Flash.
  7. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    It's because OS X uses the cpu for video decoding, while Windows uses the gpu for video decoding.
  8. barkmonster macrumors 68020


    Dec 3, 2001
    Video on macs that isn't based on Quicktime or Realplayer has always being inferior to windows for some reason. On my fairly old mac, Flash runs choppy, especially those YouTube format videos commonly used for TV and Film trailers online.

    They're no more than h.263 video with 22Khz stereo aac audio but play back worse on my mac than anything double the resolution encoded as h.264 and 44.1khz Stereo AAC in Quicktime.

    I imagine on a decent mac like yours, it plays fine but the CPU usage you're seeing has something to do with the way OS X reports it.

    The Core 2 Duo is theoretically 4 cores in 1 because it uses Out of Order Execution to push more instructions through each clock cycle.

    Windows might simply be reporting the use of what it sees as 1 core, where as OS X may be showing overall CPU usage.

    Just a guess.
  9. kastenbrust macrumors 68030


    Dec 26, 2008
    North Korea
    The actual problem is cased by Flash, on Mac's it causes the CPU to max out, even a stupid flash advert or youtube video will max out the CPU. Theres no solution for this unless Adobe decide to modify the way Flash runs on OS X. Its funny considering Flash was designed for Macs and it runs better on Windows.
  10. mike613ottawa thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2009
    That is strange indeed! That would also explain why both Firefox and Safari use so many resources when I have several browser tabs/windows open at the same time, even when they are minimized. Safari does seem to handle minimized windows a little better though. I appreciate all the replies!


Share This Page