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Transmeta Crusoe TM5800 and TM8000: roadmap details

During Comdex Fall 2002 we reported that Transmeta prepares to release the new-generation Crusoe TM8000 next year and announced the chip codename — Astro. As usual, the details come to light after the exhibition rush.

Japanese PC Watch posted the interview with David R. Ditzel, Transmeta´s CTO, revealing the additional information on the project along with the reasons to exclude the TM6000 core with integrated GPU from the roadmap.

Again, Astro (TM8000) chips will feature 256-bit internal data representation, process up to 8 instructions per clock unlike TM5800 (128-bit representation and 4 instructions/clock). Astro volume shipments are scheduled to mid-2003, the chip will be made at TSMC facilities using 0.13-micron process technology. TM8000-based notebooks will appear in Q3 2003. Excerpts from the interview are below.

  • TM6000 core was excluded from the roadmap as prospectless. As you know, Transmeta planned to integrated a simple 2D core to offer the core as a low-power blade solution. But the increased energy consumption and more complex design seemed prospectless. Such graphics would have been even more obsolete for home apps, as not meeting all the requirements.
  • After the release of TM8000, TM8000 and TM5800 lines will be parallel for some time, as the TM5800 line is to continue with lower-power models.
  • Currently TM5800 clock reached 1GHz, however Transmeta stresses that the higher performance is not only the result of higher clock, but also due to improvements of Code Morphing Software (CMS) for converting x86 into internal VLIW words. Besides, the current CMS 4.2 is optimized for Windows XP. New CMS version is expected in spring, featuring more floating-point optimizations. The company also works on implementing additional security instructions into CMS.

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