Firefox is Pissing Me Off: High CPU Usage When Displaying Flash


My friend Ian Bell runs Digital Trends, a great site, but lately I’ve been cringing whenever I’ve visited it. Why? Because invariably I see the same thing every time: a Pioneer Flash ad that causes the CPU usage of any computer I’m on to shoot to 100%. It’s not just Digital Trends or Pioneer ads that cause the problem: all sorts of Flash ads cause this problem and it’s only ever in Firefox. It’s been going on for years, yet no one at Firefox or Macromedia/Adobe has ever bothered to fix it. Particularly on my small laptop with it’s single-core 1.2 Ghz CPU, when it’s gunning at 100%, the whole system will grind to a halt. It’s getting so frustrating I’m getting close to switching back to IE7.

UPDATE: I did a bit more testing after updating to Firefox and it seems that there’s only certain frames in the Pioneer Flash animation that’s causing the problems. If you look at the Pioneer ads on this page, you’ll see there’s a part where the rain starts falling in the ad…that’s when my CPU spikes:


This mirrors what I saw with some Pocket PC Techs banners that were running on Pocket PC Thoughts for a while – the designer used a special type of Flash animation to move the snowflakes across the screen, and it caused the CPU spikes as well – falling snowflakes, falling rain…I’m seeing a pattern here.