Of particular interest to us, and I
suspect many of you reading this is the announcement of a Crusoe TM5800 System
Development Kit (SDK) - or in other words a reference motherboard. The package
will be aimed at developers interested in creating their own Crusoe powered
notebook, tablet PC, information appliance, webserver, or whatever else they can
Transmeta Corp Reference Motherboard|
The ATX platform comes with a TM5800 Crusoe
processor (solderd on) running CMS 4.3.2 and a comprehensive variety of sockets,
interfaces, connectivity options and components. Pricing is expected to be set in the range of $999USD, and the SDK will
be available to idividuals who register though the
Transmeta website. More details, and a full review of the Crusoe TM5800 SDK will
be up on TransmetaZone.com shortly.
Why a reference platform?
Videocard GPU manufacturers like nVidia and ATI
have been releasing reference cards with their newest and most powerful chips
for years now and this has helped Taiwanese manufacturers come to market with
products quickly and with less expenditure - spurring the sales benefit back to
the videocard processor manufacturer in this case.
For example, Visiontek and nVidia share a very
close relationship in this regard. Visiontek manufacturers all of nVidia's
reference cards and thus they are typically able to get their videocards which
are based on the reference design to market before any other company as a
benefit to themselves. Visiontek generally capture the market for the first
month of any new Nvidia GeForce graphics processor cycle, and then the Taiwanese
companies enter into the melie with their own variations of the same reference
card design. In some cases those differences can be entirely superficial
(different colour PCB's, flashy heatsinks, bundled software, etc.), or they may
incorporate improvements on the reference design.
The key point is that by supplying manufacturers
with reference platform from which to begin designing their own applications,
the time and resources it requires to deliver a Crusoe based product is