When Creative launched its ZiiO tablet last year, many techies were understandably more interested in the unique ZiiLabs stemcell processor that was being used to supply the ZiiO's processing power, as opposed to being interested in the tablet as most average consumers would be. As it turns out, ZiiLABS is not content with having only one processor to compete in the highly competitive ARM space, for the company has just announced two new additions to its processor lineup today.
Creative's ZiiO tablet may not have the sleek finish and smooth curves that form an integral part of most mainstream tablets' design elements today, but Creative sure did manage to get some heads turning when the ZiiO was first launched. After all, providing the ZiiO's processing power was a unique ZiiLABS ZMS-08 media processor which utilized a StemCell media processor, as opposed to the other typical ARM-based chips supplied by many other companies which utilized Mali or NVIDIA GPUs.
However, it is clear that ZiiLABS has not been standing still with StemCell while other companies such as Qualcomm, Samsung and NVIDIA were basking in the limelight with their newer, more powerful SoCs. In fact, the company seems set to compete head-on in the high-performance segment of the market with its new ZMS-20 and ZMS-40, which it touts as the most powerful additions to the Zii line of energy-efficient media processors.
According to the official press release. the ZMS-20 and ZMS-40 media processors have been specially engineered for the high-resolution tablet computing markets, and it clearly shows. ZiiLABS claims that the ZMS-20 media processor sports a dual-core ARM Cortex A9 MPcore pocessor clocked at 1.5GHz, but it is the graphics-related portion of the ZMS-20 that takes the cake. Indeed, the ZMS-20 boasts 48 StemCell processing cores that are designed to deliver "stunning 1080p high profile video playback, immersive OpenGL ES 2.0 3D graphics, HD video calling and a rich desktop browsing experience including Adobe Flash Player", and is expected to perform up to eight times faster than the existing ZMS-08 system-on-a-chip used in Creative's ZiiO tablets.
On the other hand, ZiiLABS did not release any specifications for its quad-core ZMS-40 SoC. However, the company claims that the ZMS-40 will be clocked at the same speed of the ZMS-20 at 1.5GHz, and will feature 96 StemCell cores for handling graphical and media-related tasks, thus bringing the total number of processing cores available in the ZMS-40 to an unheard-of number of 100.
Last but not least, ZiiLABS has confirmed that the ZMS-20 SoC is now available for sampling, and volume shipment of the chips is expected to be carried out sometime in the third quarter of 2011. Unfortunately, the company made no mention about details on expected sampling and shipment dates for the ZMS-40, only claiming that the detailed specifications for the chip will be made available at a later date.
The full specifications for the ZMS-20 StemCell media processor are as follow:
ZMS-20 Key Features
- Dual 1.5GHz ARM Cortex A9 cores with Neon
- ZiiLABS flexible Stemcell media processing capabilities
- Low-energy SIMD architecture for high performance media acceleration
- 48 x 32-bit floating point media processing cores for 26GFlops of compute
- High Profile H.264 video playback at 1080p@30fps
- Wide range of accelerated video codecs including H.264, VC1 and VP8
- High Definition, low latency video conferencing
- Optimised OpenGL ES 2.0 for robust 3D graphics acceleration and application compatibility
- Accelerated OpenCL 1.1 (desktop profile) integrated into Android NDK
- High Dynamic Range (HDR) Image Processing
- High-quality Text-to-Speech and Voice Recognition
- 150 MPixel/sec image processing
- Adobe Flash 10 acceleration
- Integrated HDM1 1.4 with 3D stereo support
- 1GB addressable memory
- DDR2/3 at 533 MHz for low-cost
- LPDDR2 for maximum memory bandwidth and low-power
- 64-bit wide memory bus
- Quad independent video controllers supporting 24-bit displays and cameras
- 3V3 and 1V8 I/O’s reduce peripheral power consumption
- Dual USB 2.0 HS OTG (Host/Peripheral) controllers with PHY for low system cost
- Three independent SDIO/MMC controllers
- Extended battery life with robust Dynamic Power Management and Instantaneous On
- Xtreme Fidelity X-Fi audio effects
- Enhanced Security: 256-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) and TrustZone