From: Joseph S. Barrera III (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed Jan 19 2000 - 14:26:53 PST
News about Transmeta.
Low power, x86 compat, Windows & Linux,
laptops & "mobile" ... but not phones/palm.
Nothing super earth-shattering.
This article is from PC Week (http://www.pcweek.com/).
Visit this page on the Web at:
SARATOGA, Calif. -- Transmeta Corp., the secretive
four-and-a-half-year-old startup that employs Linux creator Linus
Torvalds, today took the wraps off its much-anticipated family of new
As expected, the Santa Clara, Calif., company unveiled Crusoe, a
two-member family of what Transmeta calls the first software-based,
low-power smart microprocessors designed for mobile Internet
Transmeta's initial chips are the 400MHz TM3120 and 700MHz TM5400,
both of which use so-called code morphing technology to translate x86
instructions into the chip's very long instruction words (or VLIW) to
run the thousands of applications already written for PCs based on
Intel Corp. processors.
What Linus has been up to
The company is targeting the TM5400 at lightweight notebook PCs, while
the TM3120 targets information appliances. The former runs Windows and
the latter runs a mobile version of Linux developed at Transmeta.
"Our customers requested Linux and, as you know, Transmeta has some
expertise in Linux," said CEO David Ditzel, referring to Torvalds, at
an event here this afternoon.
Transmeta, however, declined to identify any of those customers.
"We have customers with product in hand," said Jim Chapman, vice
president of marketing and sales. "But we can't announce them. You
will first see appliances, then notebooks with the 5400 by mid-year."
Chapman added that Transmeta is not pursuing the cell phone and
Palm-type device markets.
Transmeta has been sampling the chips since last year and is now in
full production. Crusoe is being manufactured by IBM in Burlington,
The TM3120 has 108KB of cache, is manufactured on .22 micron and
consumes 1 watt of power, while the TM5400 has a 400KB cache, is
manufactured on .18 micron and also uses 1 watt of power. Both
products use synchronous dynamic RAM. The TM3120 sells for $89, and
the TM5400 is priced at $329.
The chips also utlize LongRun technology, a power management
technology developed by Transmeta that is similar to the SpeedStep
technology announced by Intel on Tuesday. LongRun enables the
processor to fluctuate its clock speed depending on the needs of the
application. The result is longer battery life.
"We believe that LongRun will enable your laptop to operate all day on
one battery," said Doug Laird, vice president of product development.
"LongRun manages voltage and frequency on the fly" by adjusting the
processor frequency to meet program demands.
Why Crusoe is so smart
Addressing the challenges posed by mobile computing to develop smaller
form-factor processors for appliances as well as chips that support
longer battery life, Ditzel said, "the better new idea here is that
we're not going to be using silicon to solve this problem, we're going
to be using software to solve this problem."
The Crusoe is "the first smart microprocessor," he continued. "The
processor learns about your programs and learns to improve its
performance over time, and as it learns it actually learns to save
"Most microprocessors used in computers today were designed for
servers and desktops," Ditzel said, but Transmeta saw the need to go
mobile. "Microprocessors needed to be redesigned to accommodate
changes in mobile computing."
"The Crusoe has a special deep sleep mode that uses only 20 milowatts
of power. If you can do that, you can come back weeks later, pick up
your machine and it's still running," Ditzel said.
Transmeta also announced today that Mark Allen is now president and
COO of the company, which has 200 employees.
Transmeta is backed by such industry heavyweights as Microsoft Corp.
co-founder Paul Allen, investment wizard George Soros and major
venture capital firms.
The company can be reached at www.transmeta.com.
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