The Hardware what did you say was in there?
As we mentioned above the Zune HD has some new guts. Microsoft worked hand in hand with NVIDIA to make the new Zune he best they could. To do this they dropped an NVIDIA Tegra APX 2600 inside. This little System on Chip is a marvel of engineering. It is not a single processing chip but an entire system inside a single piece of silicone. Measuring only 12mm^2 it has eight cores, each dedicated to a different aspect of performance. The APX 2600 contains an ARM11 MPCore, an ARM7 Core, an HD Video Decoder, an HD Video Encoder, a 3D GPU, an Image Sensor, Audio Processor, and a 2D Engine.
The brains inside of the Zune HD is the ARM 11, this runs at 600MHz, has 32KB of L1 cache [both I-cache and D-cache, and 256K of L2 cache. The ARM7 provides extra support for audio and video processing. Each of the other processors do pretty much what they say the names imply. To improve battery life NVIDIA did something very cool; the developed the Tegra with the ability to completely shut off portions that are not in use. This means that if you are listening to an MP3 the HD Video processors and 3D GPU are not using any power at all. They did this by dividing the Tegra into power islands and domains to remove the possibility of leakage between the separate cores/components. In its idle state the only items that are drawing power in the Tegra APX 2600 are the power management controller, the keyboard, and the real time clock. Microsoft one upped this by using an Organic LED screen which not only provides a cleaner and richer display but uses much less power than a traditional LED.
For graphics processing, the Tegra APX 2600 uses an ultra-low power device that is capable of OpenGL –ES 2.0 support. The rest of the graphics specifications are shown below:
47M Triangles / Sec (peak)
24M Drawn Triangles / Sec (peak)
600M Pixels / Sec (Peak Z-reject)
240M Textured Pixels / Sec (peak)
Programmable pixel Shader
Programmable Vertex and Lighting
2k x 2k Texture and 4k x 4k render resolutions supported
Advanced 2D Graphics Engine
The Tegra APX 2600 also has support for a digital camera and can handle up to a 12MP camera. This is great for future products [maybe a Zune HD with a camera is in the future].
As mentioned in the product name the Zune HD is capable of displaying up to 720p video through an HDMI 1.3 compliant output. Of course, you have to use the Zune AV dock to get this but still it is nice to know the Zune has the power to handle it. For the other HD capability Microsoft included an HD radio tuner. This couples nicely with the built in FM tuner and is one of the features [along with 720p HD out] that the Zune HD has that the iPhone/iPod Touch does not have at all.
Another more “normal” features of the Zune HD is its 802.11g wireless; this matches what you would find in the iPod Touch. Encryption support for the wireless connection covers the usual range of standards; WEP, WPA, WPA2 and both TKI and AES encryption. Unfortunately it does not allow for WPA2 enterprise with a RAIDUS server using certificate based encryption, but then again you probably should not run your Zune [or any PMP] on your corporate network.
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