LONDON British graphics chips specialist 3DLabs Ltd. has had another makeover, and is now part of a new initiative with its parent, Singapore based Creative Technnology, dubbed ZiiLabs.
The new venture and name was revealed at CES in Las Vegas, as was the company's ZMS-05 applications processor and OEM platform, dubbed Zii platform, based on the SoC.
The processor is based on what Creative calls a 'stemcell' architecture, which appears to operate in a parallel manner similar to the stream processors found in current GPU architectures in GPU applications.
Creative has not revealed any specific details about the processing elements yet, but it claims that they have a high 'compute density' that allows the ZMS-05 'to do an immense amount of media processing in far less time — and with far less energy — than taken by standard processors.'
One advantage of this could be increased battery life, and ZiiLabs / Creative also says that its intelligent power control system could allow features of the chip to be put into standby, but still be instantly activated several weeks later.
The processor combines a powerful media processing array, dual ARM9 cores and numerous integrated peripheral controllers with a range of hardware platforms and advanced middleware that ZiiLabs suggests can enable OEMs, ODMs, and system integrators to develop complete system capable of running at 10 gigaflops, and can scale up to many petaflops.
Power consumption is claimed to be low enough for mobile use, but figures have not been released. The processor comes in a 15x15mm 464 BGA package.
At the chip launch, ZiiLabs announced several design-ins.
"We found the ZMS-05 to be the right solution to provide a PC-like experience for playing downloaded media without transcoding," said Jeff Chui, corporate planning director at Perception Digital.
And Holger Frölich, CEO, F&S Elektronik Systeme GmbH., added:"As a leading supplier of Single Board Computers to the medical and industrial markets, the ZMS delivers the low power and exceptional media and graphics processing capabilities we require to keep pace with the ever increasing demands of our customers."
Sven Luther, CEO, PowerLinux, added: "As a developer of Linux-based embedded systems, we took the decision to base our next generation of products on ZMS-05. Its high level of peripheral integration, media capabilities and wide range of available codecs make it the ideal platform for our video conferencing and related products."
Hock Leow, President of ZiiLabs, commented "We are excited to leverage our 25 years of R&D from 3DLabs and Creative to shape the future of computing in collaboration with our OEM partners, as they unveil innovative new products based upon the Zii Platform.
"The integrated ZMS-05 media-rich processor and middleware ushers in the new era of StemCell Computing where we will bring the incredible benefits of nano-sized super computing right into our daily lives."
Creative Labs acquired 3DLabs in June 2002. It was founded in 1994 as a management buyout of Dupont Pixel Systems and most of its R&D and management staff was based in locations in Egham and Bristol, England.
Two years ago, it was planning a spinout from Creative and was talking to potential investors to move back to its roots of being a fabless chip company.