Adobe released version 10.3 of their Flash Player this week. The key areas of improvement are auto-update notification and security control. Both of these features are welcome additions to the Flash Player for Mac users. Does this new version have any new performance enhancements?
As with the last major release 10.2, it is time to run Flash Player 10.3 through its paces to see if there are any performance improvements for Mac users. The tests below were conducted on the same machine and webpages as our previous tests. The latest versions of Safari and Firefox were used to compare Flash Player 10.2.152 with Flash Player 10.3.181 on the chart below.
The two leading browsers on the Mac are Apple's own Safari and the Mozilla Foundation's Firefox browser. There are other browsers available for the Mac, including Google's own Chrome, but this test will be between the two market leaders.
During the testing period, Firefox 4 beta 11 and Safari 5.0.3 were used. Although Firefox 4 is still in beta, it is already better than Firefox 3, which Safari clearly beat in past competitions. This test examined eight key areas for browser performance and usability. Now it is time to compare these two browsers.
Adobe released version 10.2 of their Flash Player plugin at the beginning of the month. This latest version adds preliminary support for Stage Video, which is supposed to reduce CPU usage during video playback. In order for Adobe to improve the Flash Player, they need to improve battery life by reducing CPU usage during flash playback. Heavy CPU usage may not be a major factor on desktop computers, but it is on anything using a battery, as it drains the battery quickly. Is this new version any better on the Mac?
Looking at CPU usage will be the way to determine if Adobe Flash has improved or not. The best way to test this new version is to compare it with older versions of the Flash Player and similar sites running HTML5. This test was conducted with Adobe's Flash Player 10.0, 10.1, and 10.2. An Aluminum 24" iMac with 4GB of memory, 2.8GHz Core 2 Duo, and running Mac OS X 10.6.6 was used as the test platform. Safari version 5.0.3 and Firefox version 4.0b11 were both used to conduct this test.