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Zune HD first device to use NVIDIA Tegra

updated 08:35 am EDT, Wed June 17, 2009

Zune HD Uses Tegra

NVIDIA staff are now known today to have confirmed that the Zune HD uses a Tegra processor at its heart. Mentioning the feature to PC Perspective at Computex, the graphics company has made its first deal for the use of Tegra in a major product and is necessary for the Microsoft player's namesake HD video playback. The all-in-one processor offers hardware acceleration of video and can consume just 150mW of power at full speed, giving it battery life like a regular media player in spite of the demands of 720p video playback.

The new Zune is likely using an APX 2500 or 2600 processor, which combines an ARM11 processor with a GeForce-based graphics core and controllers for memory and output. The design has just enough performance to display 720p at full resolution when using HDMI (included on the Zune HD) and, notably, also supports 3D rendering performance much faster than most handheld devices. Using Tegra indirectly supports rumors of possible legacy Xbox game support but is most likely to be used for 3D transition effects as well as Zune-specific 3D games.

Microsoft's choice potentially gives it an advantage over Apple's likely iPod touch update later this year. To date, iPhones and iPods only support video up to 640x480 even when using a component video output with an HDTV; it's unclear whether the combination of a new ARM processor and PowerVR SGX graphics in the iPhone 3G S would enable higher-resolution playback.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Constable Odo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It appears that MS

    intends to spank Apple in the fall. MS is really taking a big jump with the Zune. Of course, it's still a Zune and will have a lot of negativity to overcome. In theory the OLED display will offset that blazing processor's thirst for battery power.

  1. ViktorCode

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's good if true

    ... but the only major difference between iPod touch and Zune HD will be the support for video output then. It is still sounds unlikely to me: Tegra consumes more power than CPU GPU combo found in iPhone 3GS and Palm pre, it doesn't make sense for mobile handheld device. But if Zune HD primary market is mobile video player intended for HD output on larger screen then yes, it will do. However, this is a niche market (just take a look at Archos).

  1. Salty

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Well that's nice

    Well that's nice of Microsoft to go after the market of it's partners. Fact is there are a lot of players out that were focusing on video and the iPod really wasn't one of them. Apple realizes most people who obsess about video already have blue ray players etc, and most of those are doing 1080. So I don't see the point aside from perhaps ripping your blue ray disks which you're not allowed to do?

  1. WiseWeasel

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Mobile HD Video

    The market seems a bit premature for mobile 720p HD. We're talking about 5-7GB for a two-hour movie, reaching a size most people hesitate to download, and taking significant amounts of time just to sync with a slow-write-speed 1.8" hard drive, and taking too much storage for precious flash. HD video is doubtfully going to be a major usage case for this new device. What's more likely is that games will happily make use of this capability to make some visually stunning software. As for video playback, I'd expect most to stick with 480p.

  1. jdonahoe

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Microsoft subsidizing?

    Is Microsoft subsidizing the price of this thing? Having an OLED screen and 16 GB, $249 might seem too low unless Microsoft is trying to buy it's way back into the market by underpricing it. I'm all in favor of Microsoft spending it's way into oblivion!

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