In analyzing the results of the tests, Ozer determined that the key to better Flash performance was dependent upon whether or not it could access hardware acceleration. This feature, launched in Flash 10.1, allows the plugin to use the graphics processing unit (GPU) on some computers to decode video. Depending on the video card and drivers, (NVIDIA, AMD/ATI and Intel offer products that support this), the video decoding process in Flash 10.1 can now work for all video playback, not just full-screen playback as was available in Flash 10.0.
The streaming media post has some good information about the method used to collect data and it seems like a pretty robust test. He used different machines and collected 29 data points for each test. So this isn’t some isolated test case.
But what I was most happy with was the performance of 10.1 across the board. The Flash Player team has been working their butts off to make Flash Player 10.1 scream and it looks like it’s paying off. The results show huge drops on Windows and good incremental improvements on the Mac. Mac isn’t on par with Windows but that’s because our engineers don’t have access to the same APIs that they do on Windows to get that boost from hardware acceleration.
I think Flash Player 10.1 is going to be a great release and I’m excited to see a leaner, meaner Flash Player get penetration.