This morning I showed you a few videos I shot highlighting just how much better Adobe Flash Player 10.1 beta handles HD Flash content than Adobe Flash 10 on a low power nettop with NVIDIA ION graphics. Now a number of other web sites are weighing in with slightly more scientific tests.
Adobe released a pre-release version of Flash Player 10.1 last night. It adds hardware support for HD Flash video, which means that if you have a supported video card, you should be able to watch 720p and 1080p Flash video from sites including YouTube, Hulu, and Vimeo without taxing the heck out of your processor. In the world of ultraportable computers, this means that netbooks and nettops with NVIDIA ION graphics can finally handle HD Flash video playback smoothly.
New 11 and 12 inch laptops with Intel CULV processors are also supported thanks to their GMA 4500MHD graphics processors.
The folks at Laptop Magazine tried Flash Player 10.1 beta on an HP Mini 311 notebook with NVIDIA ION graphics, and an Acer Aspire 1810T with GMA 4500MHD graphics. The difference on the HP laptop was like night and day. Playback of a 1080p HD video from YouTube went from 0.6 frames per second to 22 frames per second. The difference wasn’t quite as dramatic with the Acer Laptop, but the same HD YouTube video jumped from 11 fps to 22. Oddly, a 720P movie trailer from YouTube actually played slightly faster with the older version of Flash on this laptop.
AnandTech ran a series of tests on different machines and found that not only did frame rates improve for NVIDIA ION powered laptops and desktops, but CPU utilization also dropped dramatically. AnandTech also testes some AMD hardware, but apparently AMD had yet to release the drivers necessary to take advantage of Flash Player 10.1.
One of the most interesting result was the mixed performance from GMA 4500MHD graphics. AnandTech reports that while CPU usage dropped significantly with Flash Player 10.1 beta, so did frame rates for standard definition Hulu video. This could be a driver issue as with the AMD graphics. Another surprise was that while H.264 acceleration isn’t officially supported under OS X yet, AnandTech found that CPU usage dropped significantly on a Mac after installing the new version.
Finally, Liliputing reader Master9 reports that he installed Flash Player 10.1 beta on an Acer Aspire 4810TZ. The laptop has an Intel Pentium SU2700 single core processor and GMA 4500MHD graphics. Suddenly videos that had been choppy were playing smoothly even on a machine with the one of the slowest Intel CULV processor available.