We've been highly skeptical of the benefits of buying a Netbook with a built-in Broadcom Crystal HD video accelerator.
First, we're fans of Nvidia's Ion GPU, which not only provides similar HD video playback assistance but also basic 3D graphics support. Second, the Broadcom part wasn't supported by Adobe's Flash player, making it useless for streaming Web video, which is what we'd imagine a lot of Netbook owners would want to play.
But, as the Nvidia Ion in its current form is not available on Netbooks built around Intel's newer Atom N450 CPU, the Broadcom chip is the only game in town at the moment.
Fortunately, Adobe has finally made Flash 10.1 beta 3 available for download, which, according to the PC makers who offer Netbooks with the Broadcom Crystal HD video accelerator, provides better HD Web video streaming performance.
We took a Netbook with the Broadcom Crystal HD video accelerator, HP's new Mini 210, and ran it through several Web video tests to see if the new Flash player actually provided any benefit. A video overview of our results is embedded (excuse the occasional cameo appearance by my face in the overly reflective glossy screen). … Read more