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Mac OS X 10.6.3 may allow hardware-accelerated Flash

updated 04:05 pm EDT, Thu April 22, 2010

NVIDIA-based Macs may get hardware Flash decode

A new Video Decode Acceleration Framework in the recent Mac OS X 10.6.3 update may let Macs have truly hardware-accelerated Flash video for the first time. The API would let developers use the graphics chipset to directly decode H.264 video on unibody MacBooks and any other Mac with a GeForce 9400M, 320M, GT 330M or similar parts. It's intended for "advanced developers" but should be accessible to anyone who downloads the extension for Xcode.

The addition potentially opens the door to hardware-accelerated Adobe Flash and other apps or plugins that depend heavily on video playback and could reduce the workload for Apple's less expensive systems, especially the Mac Mini and MacBook Air.

Adobe has been promising GPU acceleration for Windows over the past several months with plans for Flash 10.1 to add the feature for everyone as soon as it leaves the beta stage. The absence of a direct hook for Mac OS X has left Flash on the Mac still using the CPU for most of its decoding work and can trigger high processor usage for HD video.

The addition could partly mend a rift between Apple and Adobe that has seen it drop Flash-to-iPhone cross-porting and routinely criticize Apple for being unwilling to support Flash directly on its handhelds. [via Daring Fireball]

By Electronista Staff


  1. chefpastry

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Nov 2005


    GTX 285?

    What about my poor old nVidia GTX 285?

  1. Johnny Niles

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2007


    It's not the speed

    It's the crashing. It's great that Apple put this in there, but it's not going to make flash more reliable.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Re: It's not the speed

    but it's not going to make flash more reliable.

    It certainly could. It all depends on where issues lay. If you have a program that does custom shadings and such (which, in a perfect world, you could just have the graphics card process and display), you would need to roll your own implementation of those graphics capabilities. As such, any and all problems in that custom code block would be wiped out in one fell swoop by moving the processing to the graphics card (and letting the card/drivers deal with it). Just think of games back in the good ol' days of the late 90s. If you were running a mediocre graphics chip on your Beige G3, you would need to use the CPU to handle the graphics display, compositing, etc. When you shoved in that super-powered Voodoo 3D card in there, well, then the game ran better and faster, partly because the CPU didn't have to perform the graphics tasks. Which also means you didn't need to run any of the code to perform those tasks. As such, bugs in that code would be gone.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. wrenchy

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Nov 2009



    Gives a rats A$$ about Apple and OSX? Adobe sure doesn't. The 6% of computer users in the world can do without.

  1. ilovestevejobs

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2007


    F*** can't wait

    Until Adobe says STFU Apple, we're about to make you obsolete in the design industry. We're not developing for your platform anymore BWHAHAHAHA >:)

  1. bigpoppa206

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2003


    As if

    Adobe would be that stupid to make a schoolboy move like that and lose millions and millions of dollars in profit.

  1. zunipus

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2007


    Kids, who cares?! It's H.264 support! NOT Flash su

    Is there any reason to care about the repercussions of this new functionality on Adobe Flash?


    Gee, what else plays H.264? Oh! QuickTime! Among other things!

    H.264 ≠ Adobe technology ≠ restricted to Flash ≠ Flash technology.

    Adobe stuck playability of H.264 into their Flash Player. BFD.

    The revolution to remove actual Flash technology from the Internet continues apace...

  1. zunipus

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2007


    "â‰" translation

    Sadly, does not translate the 'not equal to' font character. Such is the lowest common denominator WWW.

    So, when you see "â‰", please read it to mean 'is not equal to'. As in:

    "H.264 'is not equal to' Adobe technology 'is not equal to" restricted to Flash 'is not equal to' Flash technology."

    Someday the web will catch up.

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