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Transmeta: details about TM8000 (Astro)

Transmeta offered more details about the architecture of its TM8000 processor that is currently in development. We’ve repeatedly mentioned this project codenamed Astro, however, internal details have become available only recently.

So, the most surprising thing is that TM8000 is to feature 400MHz HyperTransport bus. Similar to the current Crusoe generation, TM8000 will also have integrated memory controller supporting DDR400 and ECC instead of the current DDR266 (a bonus to server segment). Moreover, the novelty is expected to feature AGP 4X and Low Pin Count (LPC) bus for flash memory support. Japanese sources have also informed that except for ALi´s Southbridge, utilized together with Crusoe, PCI-X variants are also possible.

As you know TM8000 will work with 256-bit VLIWs (Very Long Instruction Word) unlike the existing 128-bit VLIW solutions. Moreover, it will be handlling up to 8 instructions per clock. Of course, the new chip will be supplied with newer LongRun-enabled software for recompiling internal code into x86 instructions.

In volumes 0.13-micron TM8000 will be produced by Transmeta’s traditional partner, TSMC in from Q3 2003. The processor will be mostly used for light notebooks, tablets, server blades, and low-power coolerless desktops.

Besides, many newsmakers started comparing this processor with AMD Athlon64 at once. Well, both of these two feature integrated memory controller and HyperTransport, but I don’t think this is a reason for analogies. Besides, very different markets get TM8000 closer to Pentium-M, at least, from the point of energy saving techniques. Still, Intel’s 300-million promotion along with Centrino’s Wi-Fi support do not allow to level TM8000 and Pentium-M.

Source: PC Watch

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