AnandTech had a chance to try out nVIDIA’s beta driver update, version 257.29 which among other things brings the possibility of playing 1080p quality video without dropped frames and choppiness.  The update is not a perfect solution, it dumps the hard work of playing video onto the back of the GPU thus freeing up the GPU which can lead to issues when there is another element overlaying the video, such as controls or a Youtube popup.  Hulu also still suffers frame drops, though since the GPU accelerated version of Flash arrived there have been issues across the board.  When you have a pure 1080p source with no overlays however, your ION will make you very happy as of this update.

“Using current drivers if you try to play a 1080p YouTube HD stream on a Next Generation ION you’ll drop frames because of this bandwidth limitation. It gets worse if you decode and play the stream full screen at a 1080p desktop resolution. As I pointed out in my Next Generation ION review, even playing 480p Hulu content scaled up to 1080p dropped frames. It’s a real problem.”

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