When Adobe initially announced Flash 10.1 with its support for hardware acceleration of graphics and video, I was eagerly anticipating the ability to watch YouTube HD videos on my Sony Vaio P. But alas it was not to be, as although the first beta had preliminary support for the GMA 500 within the Vaio P, Fujitsu UH900 (which Jenn is checking out now), and all the other Atom Z-series/US15W chipset-powered devices, the drivers for the chipset were not yet compatible, leading to unwatchable playback. Since then, new drivers have been rolled out (version 188.8.131.520 for Windows 7) and now finally, with the release of Flash 10.1 Beta 3, full support for the GMA 500 has been included.
The GMA 500 has a reputation for being underpowered in comparison to the GMA 950 and GMA 3150 GPUs found in the Atom N270/N280 (Diamondville) and N450 (Pine Trail), respectively. Although partially true in some cases, the GMA 500 is actually a much more modern chip based on the PowerVR SGX535 GPU, supporting DirectX 9c and including full hardware acceleration of MPEG-2, VC-1, and H.264 video codecs, allowing it to playback HD video, something the 950 and 3150 are unable to do. Previous performance issues have revolved around insufficient driver support, but with these latest developments it looks like things are finally starting to come together.
Early impressions in our Sony Vaio P video playback forum and by Netbooked state that 720p YouTube HD videos playback with decent performance, although there still appears to be some issues with 1080p videos at this point. Hopefully we can look forward to more improvements leading up to the final release of 10.1, not to mention its long-awaited appearance onto Palm's WebOS, Android and Windows Phone 7 Series later this year.
Have you also been looking forward to this release? Let us know your impressions of the latest beta on your Atom Z-series devices!