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Creative Labs and 3Dlabs no longer see each other in their future plans

3Dlabs today revealed that it is spinning out from under Creative Labs after over four years ownership and is now independently sampling its media processor technology to system designers.

“Creative has approved the spinout and feels it is the best solution for its shareholders, and we are now talking to potential investors as we move back to our roots of being a fabless chip company. We hope the transaction will be completed by next April,” Hock Leow, president of 3Dlabs told EE Times.

Its first effort being freshly independent is the announcement of its DMS-02 multi-core media processor capable of HD 720p H.264 video playback on a handheld device.

The DMS-02 incorporates 24 floating-point processing elements, dual ARM 926EJ cores, multi-level caches, three bi-directional video stream ports, 32 or 64-bit mobile memory for up to 1.6 GBytes/s bandwidth and peripheral interfaces to LCDs, CMOS sensors, IDE disks, USB OTG, Flash memory and Audio DACs. The device is OS independent with the first SDK supporting embedded Linux 2.6.

The processor supports a number of codecs and APIs, including H.264, MP3, AAC, JPEG and OpenGL ES, and may be used in handhelds, navigation systems, video conferencing, in-car entertainment, video surveillance and cell phones.

“Our engineering teams were asked to deliver a breakthrough in handheld media processing and the DMS-02 shows we have achieved just that,” said Hock Leow. “The ability to play back a full 720p resolution H.264 video on your HDTV from a portable device consuming less than 1 Watt is an incredible achievement. Combine that with rendering 3D navigation at 30 fps, capturing and encoding H.264 video at D1 and performing 4.8 GFLOPS of compute and you have a real testament to the architecture. We believe this architecture has the ability to scale and address the rich digital media content that consumers are constantly demanding in low powered mobile devices.”

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I think I'll hold off on my CarPC plans...
By therealnickdanger on 11/28/2006 6:14:15 PM , Rating: 2
A device this low-power that can run 720p and do 30fps 3D nav? That's pretty sweet. Sounds like they are planning on something really fun. However, I'm not sure why they wouldn't just go after 1080p playback, why stop at 720p? Why not go for a 2W chip that does it all!?!?

By Motley on 11/28/2006 7:13:03 PM , Rating: 3
A) There are no handhelds that even display 1680x720 let alone 1920x1080, so even 720p is just scaling it down to whatever really bad resolution the handheld device has.

B) For a handheld, there is a big difference between 1W and 2W.

C) There already exists chips for non-handhelds that address that market (Like what they use in current TVs, etc). They would probably prefer a large marketshare of the handheld market than go head to head with what is already out there.

By spluurfg on 11/28/2006 7:33:07 PM , Rating: 3
2W is a lot... My sony ericsson k700 (no it's not my current phone) has a 3.6V, 700mAh battery. That means that it stores 2.52 watt-hours of power. Hence a 1-watt device could run for 2.52 hours on that; a 2-watt device only 1.26 hours.

So suppose this chip takes 1W and the rest of my phone including screen takes another 1W, I just might be able to watch a short movie before my phone runs out of battery.

I guess this would probably end up on a device slightly less mobile than a handphone -- maybe a portable game console or mini-tablet or something.

By therealnickdanger on 11/29/2006 8:30:24 AM , Rating: 2
I guess I was envisioning this more for use in a mobile "plug into your car" device than a mobile "keep in your pocket" device, making battery issues null. Handheld is just one of the uses they mention and one I don't care much about.

"Gee, I think I'll stand around watching $2 episodes on a 2" screen! Hooray!"

To each his own.

I'll take one of those!
By TheStudent on 11/28/2006 6:04:10 PM , Rating: 2
It's about time we got something portable that could play HD, and that's a pretty impressive chip... I wonder if a couple of these (keeping in mind the impressive things it must be able to do to render HD) could make an extremely effecient notebook or desktop? 65Watt is nice considering what we once put up with (although considering how little the original CPUs used...), but imagine 2Watts?

RE: I'll take one of those!
By saratoga on 11/28/2006 6:27:48 PM , Rating: 2
Well its an ARM9 integer core, so you could do a lot with it. But keep in mind it's extremely slow by modern standards. Probably low end P2 in terms of scalar integer . . . and theres no general purpose FPU on the CPU itself (just on the DSP coprocessor) which would definately be a problem for general purpose stuff.

FWIW Intel makes ~5w P-Ms. Those give you an FPU and probably 5-10x the performance in general purpose code.

RE: I'll take one of those!
By TheStudent on 11/28/2006 7:46:35 PM , Rating: 2
Ah well, I thought that was too good to be true... Still, they could always market a new and very low-end media laptop.

By DigitalFreak on 11/28/2006 8:04:36 PM , Rating: 5
Worst thing 3DLabs ever did was sell out to Creative, which pretty much buried them (like everything else they buy).

By Laughing all the way 2220 on 11/28/2006 6:02:43 PM , Rating: 2
It sure packs a punch for under 1 watt.

By Xajel on 11/28/2006 11:20:54 PM , Rating: 2
I hate to say that, but is Intel is going to buy 3DLabs ??

I hope no at all

How long until Intel buys 3D Labs?
By Webgod on 11/28/06, Rating: -1
RE: How long until Intel buys 3D Labs?
By Wwhat on 11/28/2006 11:55:44 PM , Rating: 2
Nice try at starting a nvidia/ati fanbois war again.

By Webgod on 11/30/2006 9:55:36 AM , Rating: 2
It's just fact combined with opinion and insight showing nVIDIA has nothing to worry about. Nothing inflammatory. I know my stuff! At this point in time the gaming market is biased in favor of nVIDIA. Back in the times of the 9700 Pro and 9800 Pro, the opposite was the case, but they've really turned around to be on top.

“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads

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