100 cores in a processor? Evidently that's a thing. ZiiLABS, a media processor and platforms company that's also a wholly-owned subsidiary of Creative Technology), has just unveiled a 100-core ZMS-40 StemCell Media processor optimized for Android
. You read that correctly. The ZMS-40 combines 96 of ZiiLABS' StemCell media processing cores with four 1.5GHz ARM Cortex-A9 CPUs to deliver stunning multi-tasking application and media processing performance.
By doubling the number of StemCell Media processors compared to the previous ZMS-20, the ZMS-40 delivers twice the peak media performance, while running the larger array at lower clock speeds to achieve the same performance leads to greater energy efficiency and a reduction in power consumption of up to 50 percent. With 2X the performance and 2X the power efficiency, the ZMS-40 delivers ground-breaking media capabilities to handheld devices such as tablets, including ultra-high-resolution H.264 HP decoding of up to 3840x1080 for true 1080p 3D stereo, a rich and interactive desktop browsing experience, 2560x1600 (WQXGA) display resolution support, higher-quality video encoding and immersive OpenGL ES graphics and future support for High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC).
The up-and-coming HEVC standard (also known as H.265), besides other qualitative benefits, can also increase data compression ratio by up to 2X as compared to H.264. These technology wizardries are achieved by requiring many more times the computational complexity. HEVC claims to target the next generation Hi-Def TV market which can support scalable resolutions from 320x240 to 1080p with improved picture quality in terms of noise level, color and dynamic range, and all the way up to an incredible resolution of 7680x4320. Being fully programmable and with their massive parallelism, the 96 cores of StemCell Media processors can easily handle the onerous computational requirements of this new CODEC and support higher resolutions that are beyond today's display systems.
We're told to expect a few tablets at CES using this technology, but the real question is this: will any tablets take off that use it? Surely that '100 core' thing is at least partly hype...