FUD Zilla came across some new details about the audio and video playback engines of Windows 8:
Microsoft's Steven Sinofsky said that video playback has changed considerably in the past few years, and Windows 8 is designed to support the shifting models. Windows 8?s video decoding for “common media tasks” will be offloaded to a dedicated hardware subsystem to dramatically lower power consumption and improve battery life.
AMD, Nvidia, and Intel have all shipped integrated GPUs with hardware-assisted video decode for a number of years and it is not clear what Microsoft was using as its test chip. It would appear to be something from the Atom range.
The audio engine in Windows 8 buffers a much higher amount of content when in steady playback mode. This allows the CPU to spend up to 100x more time asleep while handling audio, which should translate into significantly improved battery life.