A recently added Apple technical document has led to suggestions that Adobe Flash could take advantage of GPU hardware acceleration on certain OS X 10.6.3 MacBook Pro, Mac mini and iMac models. The Video Decode Acceleration framework can be used with NVIDIA’s GeForce 9400M, GeForce 320M and GeForce GT 330M GPUs, and permits developers low-level access to their H.264 decoding capabilities. That could mean faster Flash performance and reduced CPU load.
Flash and OS X are a common source of complaints for Mac users, predominantly because the performance of the Adobe technology is greatly underpar in comparison to the Windows experience. This new low-level GPU access would allow Adobe to push Flash decoding tasks to the video card, rather than relying on the CPU and forcing the whole system to slow down. Of course, it’s not just Adobe that could benefit: any platform that uses H.264 video could be adapted to take advantage of the new GPU access.