I have noticed (in psensor, and listening to the fan) that my GPU is terribly hot when playing youtube videos.

What happens at that point? Is this related to Flash in Ubuntu?

Youtube in Firefox and Chrome seems to take much more GPU resources than playing the same video or one with a higher resolution from the hard disk, or than playing it from youtube through smplayer (or VLC).

Related question here.

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1 Answer 1


This is probably related to the implementation of Adobe Flash (in Ubuntu, or even in general); while the video codecs used by youtube are standardized, how they are implemented is up to Adobe and it may well be a poor implementation and/or one that uses the GPU excessively.

Compared to that, most Linux/Ubuntu video apps use the FFmpeg/libavcodec open-source codecs to decode video, and they generally do a pretty good job -- in your case, apparently better than the proprietary Flash!

Alternately, you can always give Flash a chance by disabling hardware acceleration (the graphs in the question show that SMPlayer is using software decoding). Full-screen the flash video (it's a bug), right-click, go to Settings and disable:

enter image description here

  • +1. If you want to play a youtube video smoothly on Ubuntu, use VLC player.
    – Neptunno
    Commented Jul 28, 2012 at 15:05
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    @user64720 you mean, after downloading it? can i play it in vlc directly like in smplayer?
    – user47206
    Commented Jul 28, 2012 at 15:42
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    @cipricus Flash 11+ "attempts" (poorly, it looks like) to use the GPU (hardware) to "decode" the video instead of the CPU (software). Decoding is a fairly computationally intensive task, but most modern CPUs (except Atoms) will deal with 1080P HD without breaking a sweat. It appears that Flash doesn't seem to obey that checkbox and still tries to use the GPU...
    – ish
    Commented Jul 28, 2012 at 16:09
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    @cipricus Yes VLC can stream and play youtube videos directly without needing to download. I always use it because my older PC can't handle flash very well and the system lags, but watching on VLC those problems go away. Check this on how to watch youtube videos on VLC Player: youtube.com/watch?v=FFg3_ZGsC6k
    – Neptunno
    Commented Jul 28, 2012 at 18:47
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    @Halkinn, works find with OpenWith. Just add smplayer and/or vlc.
    – user55822
    Commented Jul 28, 2012 at 20:09

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