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Transmeta Demo's The TM8000 Astro Processor

Transmeta Demo's The TM8000 Astro Processor - PCSTATS
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Abstract: Transmetazone.com were one of only a handful of media given the select opportunity to witness a first hand demo of the new Transmeta TM8000 "Astro" processor in operation.
Filed under: CPU / Processors Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Transmeta Nov 22 2002   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > CPU / Processors > Transmeta

Transmeta Demo's The TM8000 "Astro" Processor

Transmetazone.com were one of only a handful of media given the select opportunity to witness a first hand demo of the new Transmeta TM8000 "Astro" processor in operation.

The first-run silicon sample was demonstrated on a special development system running Windows XP at speeds of 400-500MHz (Longrun power management). [Update: the processor we saw was actually clocked at over 1GHz, not at 500MHz as we initially reported. We are talking with Transmeta to figure out why the management software on the demo system was showing 400-500MHz frequency modulation.] When the TM8000 Astro processor arrives to market in full sized desktop notebooks sometime in Q3 2003, the chip will initially be in the 1GHz arena, and scale up from there.

Along side the Astro demo unit was a full size Sony GRX notebook with a 1.8GHz Pentium 4-M processor running off the AC adaptor. In a side by side comparison opening up large Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, the Transmeta Astro-based system was actually faster - something which only hints at the potential performance impact the TM8000 Astro processor will bring to the Crusoe processor line.

Current TM5800 Crusoe processors have been dogged by slower performance than comparable Intel solutions, but still offer better battery life. Marriage of increased performance with increased power savings is quite an exciting prospect - however, no specific details were given as to the power consumption of the TM8000.

The Astro processor itself is slightly larger than the TM5800 processor, both in terms of package and actual core size. The processor remains based on a BGA platform, but contains more pins than that of the TM5800 Crusoe chip. The processor is built around the 0.13 micron process and will reportedly offer eight instructions per clock cycle; twice that of the current crop of TM5000-series processors.

According to Transmeta, "Astro will leverage Crusoe's existing strengths and enable Transmeta to expand into new markets," something which investors will no doubt applaud. The Crusoe processor already has presence in the tablet PC, embedded device, ultralight notebook, and SBC (single board computer) markets.

One the most exciting aspects of the TM8000 release is that Transmeta appears to be migrating the Crusoe processor from the ultralight notebook segment it exclusively held into the full-size desktop replacement notebook segment where Crusoe has been essentially absent. The move will place the TM8000 squarely in the territory of Intel's Banias, and hopefully enable Transmeta to increase its' market share with North American consumers.


 

Contents of Article: Transmeta

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