The Efficeon includes an AGP 4x interface as
part of the traditional northbridge components that are now built into the CPU
itself. The use of 4x AGP instead of the current
8X standard points to the Efficeon's intended use as a
processor for ultra-light notebooks. Battery life is the primary concern, performance and features following
after that, with graphics and game play not being much of
a concern at all.
To be fair, 4X is perfectly
adequate for today's mobile graphics chipsets, and it seems likely that
PCI-Express will usurp AGP as the graphics interface of choice sometime in 2004
in any event. With its hypertransport capability, the Efficeon should
be well placed to take advantage of any notebook specific
PCI Express graphics technology.
The final built-in
feature of the Efficeon processor line is the presence of an onboard memory
controller and interface. This supports DDR SDRAM memory at speeds
of 166MHz (333Mhz DDR).
having the memory controller built directly into the processor die, as seen on
AMD's Athlon 64 and Opteron processors, performance bottlenecks can be
reduced. This is because memory data no longer needs to be transferred
across the often-crowded link between the (now non-existent) Northbridge chip
and the processor.
Efficeon and Performance vs.
designing a processor for a sub notebook-sized computer system, heat becomes a
huge concern. It's one thing if you know that the
intended environment for your processor has room for the kind of extravagant cooling solutions
that companies like Intel or AMD are currently favouring for their chips, but
what if you were not even sure that there is room
for even a single fan in your customer's design? Transmeta have long taken heat output from their processors
as a significant part of its processor classification, and continue to do
so with the Efficeon CPU.
Transmeta's LongRun dynamic power
management technology is an integral part of the plans for the Efficeon.
LongRun allows the chipset and the processor to keep a much tighter
rein on power consumption.
is accomplished both by further reducing unnecessary power wastage while the processor
is idle, and by allowing the code morphing software to analyze and
adapt to the power requirements of software applications and tailor the output
of the processor to meet those needs by adjusting power supply to
areas of the CPU.
According to Transmeta, the effects of
using LongRun are impressive, especially when the CPU is idle, which is
much of the time in a standard system. The Efficeon with LongRun
technology consumes just 0.18 of a watt when idle, as compared to
a 900Mhz Centrino's 1.45 watts. Over long periods, this can add up
to considerable battery savings.