• Hardware-Accelerated Flash Officially Released

    Adobe elevated its "Gala" pre-release beta to final status today, releasing it as Flash Player with support for some graphics coprocessors shipped with newer Macs. Making use of the new video acceleration API available in Mac OS X 10.6.3 or later, the update will only give improved performance to Macs with GPUs like the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M, the GeForce 320M or GT 330M.

    There are other limitations, such as when YouTube 480p HD videos are displayed in 864 x 480 resolution. According to Adobe engineer Tinic Uro, this forces a software fallback which means hardware acceleration is no longer available. Also, resolutions smaller than 480 x 320 pixels are not accelerated on NVIDIA GeForce 9400M based Macs, though on NVIDIA GeForce 320M and GeForce GT 330M the threshold may be a bit higher due to tradeoffs in the OS for power vs. performance optimization. As Adobe engineer Uro notes: "playing video has a fixed baseline cost in the GPU for instance which is not the case when you decode on a CPU." The hardware decoder is limited to 2 instances at a time, so if you have more than 2 videos open at a time the third one will be software-decoded. And also, hardware acceleration will sometimes fail until Safari is restarted, which is an issue Adobe says they're working on with Apple.

    The Macs with compatible cards are:

    • MacBooks shipped after January 21st, 2009
    • Mac Minis shipped after March 3rd, 2009
    • MacBook Pros shipped after October 14th, 2008
    • iMacs which shipped after the first quarter of 2009

    Flash Player 10.1 is available for download from the Adobe website.

    Source: Cult of Mac
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