PC Week: Transmeta debuts processors for notebooks, appliances

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From: Joseph S. Barrera III (joe@barrera.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.

-----Original Message-----
From: joe@barrera.org

   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
   battery power."

   "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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