Frame drops/stuttering when playing 60fps YouTube videos in Firefox and Chromium

I have hardware acceleration in Firefox enabled but frames are continuously dropped and the video stutters significantly. CPU load is around 60%. When I download the video as VP9 and play it with mpv the CPU load is 15% and the stuttering is gone.
Same goes for Chromium where hardware acceleration is not enabled. CPU load is then 80%.
The issue got even worse with my new 1440p monitor. There are no issues when playing videos with a lower frame rate. I’ve got a i7-7500U with an HD Graphics 620. Is my laptop already too old to play YouTube videos or may there be an other issue?

inxi --admin --verbosity=7 --filter --no-host --width
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  Distro: Manjaro Linux base: Arch Linux 
  Type: Laptop System: LENOVO product: 20HQS03P00 v: ThinkPad X1 Carbon 5th 
  serial: <filter> Chassis: type: 10 serial: <filter> 
  Mobo: LENOVO model: 20HQS03P00 serial: <filter> UEFI: LENOVO 
  v: N1MET64W (1.49 ) date: 10/14/2020 
  ID-1: BAT0 charge: 48.1 Wh (89.4%) condition: 53.8/57.0 Wh (94.3%) 
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  status: Unknown cycles: 365 
  Device-1: hidpp_battery_0 model: Logitech MX Keys Wireless Keyboard 
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  status: Discharging 
  Device-2: hidpp_battery_1 model: Logitech M720 Triathlon Multi-Device Mouse 
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  status: Discharging 
  RAM: total: 15.4 GiB used: 3.66 GiB (23.7%) 
  RAM Report: permissions: Unable to run dmidecode. Root privileges required. 
  Info: Dual Core model: Intel Core i7-7500U bits: 64 type: MT MCP 
  arch: Amber/Kaby Lake note: check family: 6 model-id: 8E (142) stepping: 9 
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  Type: l1tf 
  mitigation: PTE Inversion; VMX: conditional cache flushes, SMT vulnerable 
  Type: mds mitigation: Clear CPU buffers; SMT vulnerable 
  Type: meltdown mitigation: PTI 
  Type: spec_store_bypass 
  mitigation: Speculative Store Bypass disabled via prctl and seccomp 
  Type: spectre_v1 
  mitigation: usercopy/swapgs barriers and __user pointer sanitization 
  Type: spectre_v2 mitigation: Full generic retpoline, IBPB: conditional, 
  IBRS_FW, STIBP: conditional, RSB filling 
  Type: srbds mitigation: Microcode 
  Type: tsx_async_abort status: Not affected 
  Device-1: Intel HD Graphics 620 vendor: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 5th Gen 
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  Device-2: Chicony Integrated Camera type: USB driver: uvcvideo bus-ID: 1-8:3 
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  s-diag: 987mm (38.8") 
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  direct render: Yes 
  Device-1: Intel Sunrise Point-LP HD Audio 
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  alternate: snd_soc_skl bus-ID: 00:1f.3 chip-ID: 8086:9d71 class-ID: 0403 
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  chip-ID: 1d6b:0003 class-ID: 0900 
  System Temperatures: cpu: 53.0 C mobo: N/A 
  Fan Speeds (RPM): fan-1: 0 
  Processes: 244 Uptime: 21h 21m wakeups: 38 Init: systemd v: 249 
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  lib: 457 flatpak: 0 Shell: Zsh v: 5.8 running-in: tilix inxi: 3.3.06

A workaround could be to have a ‘play in mpv’ extension in your browser. Not so sure it will play netflix etc. and I can’t test it but it beats having to see your browser go nuts on the cpu when mpv can play it with a third of the load.

1 Like

Been watching DistroTube recently? :stuck_out_tongue:


I use Intel UHD Graphics 630 and have found it’s critical to ensure you have all the Firefox settings exactly as shown at Firefox - ArchWiki

You can check Video acceleration by running intel_gpu_top.

Good luck!

Actually I’ve never watched a video from this channel.

I tried this extension but it just did nothing and opening a link with mpv directly also didn’t work.

Thanks, I configured Firefox with the configs suggested in the Arch Wiki a while ago. I had some lines containing something with “VA-API” in the terminal output from Firefox and assumed that it worked. But now intel_top_gpu doesn’t show any video activity. There is only some load at “Render/3D”. Does that means that hardware acceleration isn’t actually working? When using mpv there is some load at “Video.”

Yes, the Video bar should definitely show activity. Playing an intensive 60fps YouTube video on my system shows approx. 20% load. Double-check all settings and make sure you also have set gfx.x11-egl.force-enabled to true and gfx.x11-egl.force-disabled to false.

1 Like

It sounds like hardware acceleration is just not working for you in chromium and firefox, if it was enabled, it wouldn’t be driving up your cpu usage that heavily.

Also, you’re really pushing that igpu with such a high resolution display, I mean that’s 3440x1440 resolution, it’s almost 3x as difficult to render as a 1920x1080 display would be. If you’re using resolutions like this, you either need an exceptionally good iGPU or a dedicated GPU and you have neither, so it is truly a wonder it even runs fine on mpv in the first place.

I also notice you have the refresh rate set to 50hz, is this not a misconfiguration?

Lastly, I can see you’re using wayland and xwayland, is your browser running in xwayland? could it be an issue with xwayland? mpv supports wayland…

Chromium does not support hardware acceleration on wayland, if you ran it through xwayland you could have hardware acceleration probably.

Firefox does support it, did you try configuring it like this?

That’s it, thanks. I thought Firefox would automatically run in Wayland mode. When i start it with MOZ_ENABLE_WAYLAND=1 firefox I see some load with the intel_gpu_tool. The CPU load is now at 40% and there are much fewer frame drops but I still see some micro stutters every few seconds. With fewer CPU load the fan doesn’t make as much noise as before. With only YouTube it doesn’t even run.
Is it better to use Wayland instead of XWayland? This is the standard config since I installed Manjaro Gnome edition some time ago.
I was experimenting with the refresh rate. That’s why I had still 50Hz enabled. My Laptop model also comes with a WQHD Display option. So I thought 3440x1440 would be fine.

These are the options for Xorg, not for Wayland, right?

Interestingly, I got a Firefox update yesterday before I started Firefox in Wayland mode. The CPU load was the same but the picture was much smoother after the update.

Thank you all for the help.

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