Back in December, Adobe pushed out the first beta of version 10.2 of their notorious Flash Player for Mac… a plugin that is so notoriously demanding on battery life that merely installing it can drain the maximum capacity of a laptop battery by over an hour. now it’s available in a final version.
The big advance in Flash Player 10.2 is functionality called Stage Video that offloads almost all of the rendering of high-performance videos to the GPU, using “just over 0 percent CPU usage.” Stage Video should have a noticeable effect on battery life and snappiness, and if you can’t get along with Flash on your Mac notebook, Stage Video support alone makes this an easy upgrade to recommend.
Well, it will make it one, eventually. Right now, not all content providers have enabled Stage Video APIs in their system, and until they do, Flash Player needs to rely on the CPU to process their video. Also, considering that most of the battery drain attributed to Flash on the likes of a MacBook Air come from advertising and site elements as opposed to a playing YouTube video, it’s unlikely that Stage Video will really make a difference in the short term for many users.
Either way, though, Flash Player 10.2 should bring a significant performance increase to the machines of many users, with Adobe citing their two-year old test Mac Mini being able to run full 1080p content with a CPU load of under 8 percent. That’s pretty good performance for one of software’s most notoriously resource hogs.