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.