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Transmeta: through thorns to Astro

It seems that Transmeta, whose business gets better, has cheered up and composed new future plans. At the press conference at Comdex Fall 2002 the company representatives announced the 2003 roadmap for the new Astro processor.

To be consecutive, Astro is the replacement of earlier (and even excluded from roadmaps once) TM8000. By the way, the new processor received its name after the doggy from The Jetsons cartoons:

The main difference of Astro (TM8000) from the current Crusoe TM5x00 is the 256-bit internal data representation and the capability of handling 8 instructions par clock (against 128 bits and 4 instructions of the previous models). The launch of Astro volume production is scheduled to mid-2003 at TSMC facilities using 0.13-micron precess technology. TM8000-based notebooks are expected in the market in Q3 2003. Along with lower energy consumption, the company promises the significant performance boost Astro comparing to Crusoe TM5800 and the lower price. TM8000 chips will feature the same BGA package as TM5800, but the crystal will be some larger due to additional transistors (mainly in registers).

According to Transmeta, the new chip will compete with Intel Banias, though being silent about the performance, representatives stressed the pricing competition. Pity there were not photos of new TM8000 and the reference board, but it was told that Astro was compared with Sony VAIO GRX on 1.8Ghz Mobile Pentium 4-M and showed better results in Windows boot test. Sounds attractive, but letís wait for more specific information from Transmeta. And not having anything for the theme, hereís the photo of IBM reference board for TM5800, announced at Comdex Fall 2002:

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