Owners of more recent Macs with fast video cards were given an extra speed advantage on Monday with a new set of Adobe Creative Suite 4 plugins.

The suite includes four plugins from third parties and centers on Elemental Accelerator 1.2, a video processing add-on. Those using Mac Pros with a Quadro FX 4800 video card can use the general-purpose computing feature of these graphics chipsets to accelerate video encoding for H.264-formatted videos well beyond what would be possible with the processor alone. NVIDIA estimates that the task can run 11 times faster than it would without the plugin.

The others, from Boris FX ,proDAD and Red Giant Software, provide less conspicuous gains but help out other key apps in Adobe’s library, including After Effects, Flash and Photoshop.

Such plugins are a rarity for the Mac, which has supported CUDA since last year but has only occasionally been supported by widely available apps. The situation should change with the release of Mac OS X Snow Leopard in September, when the universal OpenCL standard will encourage cross-platform support and let both ATI and NVIDIA cards run the same special code.

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