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New 100 core Chinese ZiiLABS ZMS-40 ARM SoC demoing at CES

by Alistair Lowe on 9 January 2012, 09:07

Tags: Creative

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qabatf

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Since it began to licence out Sound Blaster technology, Creative Technologies has generally slipped under the radar, waking us up from time-to-time to announce a new ZEN music player or refresh to the Sound Blaster line-up. Creative subsidiary, ZiiLabs, however, has been very busy and is now sampling its new ZMS-40 ARM-based CPU and is demonstrating this chip in its Android 4.0 JAGUAR reference tablets at this week's CES.

The CPU is a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 clocked at 1.5GHz and features 96 'StemCell' general purpose GPU cores. This is not the first chip ever produced by ZiiLABS, however the previous release, the ZMS-20, saw little commercial uptake outside of China. Unlike the ZMS-20, however, the ZMS-40 essentially doubles the number of cores both CPU and GPU, whilst maintaining a similar power consumption or alternatively can operate at twice the efficiency running at the same performance as the ZMS-20.

ZiiLABS ZMS-40 Arm Cortex-A9 CPU

The 96 'StemCell' GPGPU cores are no laughing matter and, according to ZiiLABS, can churn out a gigantic 58GFLOPS of performance, which, to put into perspective is four times the general purpose processing power of the PowerVR SGX543MP2 found in Apple's iPad 2. Whilst graphical performance is reliant on many factors beyond general purpose processing and remains to be seen, the 'StemCell' GPU is perfectly suited for high-performance video encode/decode, Augmented Reality, sound processing, simulation and many number processing heavy tasks and, much like ARM's own upcoming Mali T658 GPU, will feature full support for Android compliant OpenCL 1.1 to enable standardised access to all the raw power.

We're unsure why the ZMS-20 didn't see more light outside of China, perhaps the power consumption of this chip is too high relative to the competition or perhaps it's simply down to pricing, however with the performance figures listed by ZiiLABS, the ZMS-40 looks like a serious contender for the tablet market, with a GPU so powerful that the SoC doesn't even require a dedicated video decoder, leaving the entire chip heavily programmable, ZiiLABS are even claiming it will be capable of handling the future H.265 codec. What's more is, as a Creative subsidiary, the chip features support for Xtreme Fidelity X-Fi audio effects.

 

ZMS-40 Differentiating Features

  • Quad 1.5 GHz ARM Cortex-A9 MP Cores
  • 96x fully-programmable StemCell Media Processing cores
  • 58 GFlops StemCell compute power
  • Wide range of accelerated video codecs including HEVC, H.264, VC1 and WebM (VP8)
  • True 1920x1080p 3D stereo playback (3840x1080)
  • Double the CPU performance for enhanced multi-tasking
  • Double the Graphics and Media performance i
  • Half the power consumption for longer battery life ii
  • Support for ZiiLABS enhanced Android 4.0 implementation
  • 2560x1600 (WQXGA) resolution support for next-generation LCDs and Displays

ZMS-40 Key Features

  • High-Definition, low-latency video conferencing
  • Optimised OpenGL ES 2.0 for robust 3D graphics acceleration
  • Accelerated OpenCL 1.1 (desktop profile) integrated into Android NDK
  • High Dynamic Range (HDR) Image Processing
  • High-quality Text-to-Speech and Voice Recognition
  • Integrated HDMI 1.4 with 3D stereo support
  • 2GB 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
  • Enhanced Security: 256-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) and TrustZone

More from CES 2012



HEXUS Forums :: 3 Comments

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I had the opportunity to work on a zms-05 for a project, they're nice chips. The cells are good I was doing some opencl on it and with the correct workload it was fast.
Its good to see some more competition on this front - the more the merrier I say. All this competition is great and can only mean faster products for less cash!
Except for those that work for the competition...

The main issue with such a generic design is that they are going to need spot on drivers to compete.