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Zii: A Supercomputer the Size of a Postage Stamp

Discussion in 'News' started by btarunr, Jan 8, 2009.

  1. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Zii has taken us by surprise for sure. It's not affiliated with life-science, it's certainly not a PC audio processor. It's a multi-core processor the size of a postage stamp, that its makers claim to possess raw computational power to rival that of a supercomputer. Zii stands for "Zen Two" or Z II, it is a combination of the ZMS-05 processor, a system board, middleware and an optimised OS. Soon to be announced at CES, Zii might well turn out to be Creative's most important product, even more so than SoundBlaster. VR-Zone provided some details ahead of Creative's announcement.

    [​IMG]

    At the center of Zii is its ZMS-05 processor that consists of 24 fully programmable processing elements (PE). It uses two thread arbiters based on the ARM architecture, so it isn't going to run a Windows PC. The "Stem Cell" is a reference to the fact that each PE can be assigned to do a different task, or a function altogether. So Zii is inspired by stem cells and the way in which they function (diversification), not that it has anything to do with stem cells, although Creative has to explain a lot more about the Zii and address the part where, in its previous communication to us, it referred to a technology of silicon that "grows and adapts" to different needs and ecosystems, leading most to a totally different interpretation of it.

    Creative claims that computational power of Zii is so concentrated, that a Zii processor with the footprint of an A4 size sheet of paper can dole out TFLOPs of computational power. Although these claims may sound big to digest, the most likely applications of Zii would go back to high-performance consumer electronics devices. It most certainly isn't going to do a "CELL" by challenging x86 and processors made by Intel, AMD and VIA, but it will certainly pose some competition to the CELL broadband engine, and NVIDIA's Tegra processor technology. While the two may be a bit diverse, with CELL being more of a high-power processing element, and Tegra being more of a mobile processing element, Zii fits into the gray-area between them. For more details, follow the VR-Zone report.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Source: VR-Zone
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2009
  2. DanTheBanjoman Señor Moderator

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    I read ARM > so no Windows. "So the Stem Cell part kicks in", that's the part where I expected to read some Transmeta type of magic, but no... A lot of text follows but I still don't see the market they're aiming at or why it's so revolutionary. The whole stem cell thing is vague.

    Perhaps I'd be impressed once the confusion is gone.
     
  3. R_1

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    So, Zii turns out to be a CPU like device. Creative will use it's SoC version in multimedia gadgets.
     
  4. DrPepper

    DrPepper The Doctor is in the house

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    They made it sound like they used stem cells to create a mega ultimate processor but in the end it was a metaphor.
     
  5. TheMailMan78

    TheMailMan78 Big Member

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    I thought Bush banned steam cell research here in the U.S.


    :laugh:
     
  6. Sasqui

    Sasqui

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    "The ARM architecture (previously, the Advanced RISC Machine, and prior to that Acorn RISC Machine) is a 32-bit RISC processor architecture developed by ARM Limited that is widely used in embedded designs. Because of their power saving features, ARM CPUs are dominant in the mobile electronics market, where low power consumption is a critical design goal[1]."

    So... it does beg the questions: When will there be sofware and hardware interface layers written to take advantage of all this power? What will it be? Why haven't they listed specific applications for this "revolutionary" processor - is it supposed to be obvious?
     
  7. DanTheBanjoman Señor Moderator

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    Many years ago. Many embedded and mobile device use the ARM architecture.
     
  8. p3ngwin New Member

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    more like inspired by Sony's PS3 CELLBE.
     
  9. Easy Rhino

    Easy Rhino Linux Advocate

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    yea but it is from creative so they wont have solid drivers out until 3 years after product launch :laugh:
     
    Roph says thanks.
  10. iStink

    iStink New Member

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    So are we about to see some CRAZY mobile devices? Like stuff that makes the iphone look like an atari?
     
  11. PCpraiser100 New Member

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    Time for Crysis...in a phone!
     
  12. FordGT90Concept

    FordGT90Concept "I go fast!1!11!1!"

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    This is a bunch of whooee. They don't give a GFlop or TFlop figure, they don't say what wattage it is, they don't say what clockspeed it will run, and they say it won't work with Windows. Sounds like a whole lot of smoke and mirrors to me with a chocolate covered peanut in the center. Yeah, it sounds great, until you discover the peanut is rotten. :\
     
    Crunching for Team TPU
  13. Binge

    Binge Overclocking Surrealism

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    Vague? I think this is all pretty clear. Skynet is coming :eek:
     
  14. Tyr.1358

    Tyr.1358 New Member

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    I wonder what the specifications will be. On the other hand, what other companies have competing processors for mobile devices? I don't know any of them myself
     
  15. 3870x2

    3870x2

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    :laugh:While I was deployed in IRAQ, on april fools, we had a message appear upon login that said "Installing SKYnet, please wait . . ." and gave it a little status bar.

    EDIT: on a sidenote, Creative doesnt quite have the technology to make anything entirely diverse and ultimately powerful, both AMD and INTEL are light years ahead of anything anyone else has to offer.
    Its like Chrome graphics trying to compete in the high-end graphic card market, it isnt going to happen, they just don't have the technology to just jump right in and one-up what these companies have been striving towards for nearly decades.
     
  16. TheMailMan78

    TheMailMan78 Big Member

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    3 years your funny. Never is more like it.
     
  17. DanTheBanjoman Señor Moderator

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    I disagree, the fact that there are so many players in this market basically shows there are plenty of companies with the tech. It's not so weird to think Creative can be one of them. It's nothing like Chroming attempting a high end card. It's like Chrome making their chip smaller and more energy efficient totry to snoop from PowerVR's market.
     
  18. 3870x2

    3870x2

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    Very true, and the fact that they aren't really competing directly against INTEL or AMD means they may have found their Niche between competition. My point still stands that imo it would be very difficult for a company to just jump in with current competition and aspire.
     
  19. FordGT90Concept

    FordGT90Concept "I go fast!1!11!1!"

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    Texas Instruments, International Business Machines, Sony, etc.

    IBM gets a great deal of their income from specialized processors. Intel and Advanced Micro Devices makes processors for larger mobile devices. ARM also makes craploads of specialized processors.
     
    Crunching for Team TPU
  20. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    The full-featured www.zii.com is up. You could watch those demos, videos, etc.
     
  21. Binge

    Binge Overclocking Surrealism

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    A journey of discovery eh? :laugh: I love this website. It's so... bad.

    ::EDIT:: The marketing image does not suit my tastes, but at least they have a good message. Don't get me wrong guys I'm only saying the
    marketing aesthetic is not here for me. The message is clear. This is interesting stuff. These chips are powerful for the size.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2009
  22. DrPepper

    DrPepper The Doctor is in the house

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    Its no use for me if it can't count the decay of my nuclear arsenal :( I won't be getting one.
     
  23. DanTheBanjoman Señor Moderator

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    Actually Intel used to be quite active in that market. Not sure if they have any such processor left. StrongARM is outdated, Xscale is sold. Still, the market is a bit easier to enter than the x86 desktop market.
     
  24. R_1

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    I think Zii has something in common with 3DLABS applications processors. Some info on that : "The DMS-02 media-rich applications processor is a multi-core System-On-Chip that combines two ARM® 926 cores with 3DLABS's proprietary SIMD array processor and an industry standard set of peripheral functions. The fully programmable array performs all the media intensive tasks such as 2D/3D graphics, video encode/decode and image processing, offloading the ARMs and leaving them free to run CPU friendly tasks."
     
  25. cr41gey New Member

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    this is just a cpu version of the newer gpu's shaders, why do you think amd bought ati!
     

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