Creative announces Zii system-on-chip

Over the past couple of weeks, you may have seen teasers for Creative's Zii—a mysterious product the company played up with the term "StemCell Computing." Well, Creative has now spilled the beans to the public: the Zii is a system-on-a-chip with built-in parallel processing elements, and it's the product of a new Creative subsidiary called ZiiLABS.

ZiiLABS actually combines 3Dlabs, the former Creative professional graphics division that spun off in 2007, and resources from Creative's Personal Digital Entertainment group. The Zii ZMS-05 applications processor pretty much looks like an improved version of the 3Dlabs DMS-02 media processor, too. Both chips have dual ARM processor cores, an array of 24 "processing elements," 720p video decode capabilities, and built-in 3D graphics processing.

However, the ZMS-05 is apparently faster and more feature-packed than its predecessor. Creative quotes floating-point performance of 8 gigaFLOPS (up from 4.8 on the DMS-02), top memory bandwidth of 2.6GB/s, and fill rate of 42 Mtexels/s. The ZMS-05 also features OpenGL ES 2.0 support, 720p encoding capabilities, built-in 1080p tuning, and a wealth of connectivity options, from USB 2.0 to S/PDIF.

Creative doesn't explicitly say what devices might use the ZMS-05, although it mentions "Ready-for-Market Zii Platform Solutions" in the press release, and it claims companies like MSI, Perception Digital, Astak, Grandeye, and others are working on ZMS-based products. The original DMS-02 was aimed at devices like portable media players and high-end cell phones.

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