Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Transmeta Portables Hardware

Transmeta TM8800 And Ultraportable Announced 116

Posted by timothy
from the smaller-than-a-breadbox dept.
yerdaddie writes "The just-released Transmeta TM8800 has been integrated into a new ultraportable from Sharp. The smaller 90nm variety clocks and performs better than the older 130nm TM86XX Efficeons. It also seems the Orion Multisystems personal clusters discussed earlier on slashdot will be built around this processor variant. Hopefully Transmeta will be releasing a developer kit soon for eager hardware hackers."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Transmeta TM8800 And Ultraportable Announced

Comments Filter:
  • Well (Score:5, Funny)

    by Daengbo (523424) <daengboNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday September 12, 2004 @02:51PM (#10228740) Homepage Journal
    Since the new product is in Japanese, I can't really comment except to ask about Beowolf Clusters...
    • Yes, but these Beowolf Clusters would be much smaller, and less energy intensive, then their Opteron or Itanium counterparts.
    • At least you have improved your Japanese a little with the knowledge that "$*#!*&$*#@&($ Microsoft Windows XP Professional" surely means "Sharp recommends Microsoft Windows XP Professional". :-)
    • Call them Samurai Clusters then
  • Could anyone who is gifted with the knowledge of japanese please tell me how much battery life it has?
    • Re:Battery life (Score:4, Informative)

      by fidget42 (538823) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @03:01PM (#10228799)
      According to the fish [altavista.com], it gets 5 hours.

      "With the economical electrical design, approximately 5.0 hours* actualizing the long haul drive. In addition, if the MOBILE switch was changed to MOBILE mode, CPU throughput and picture brightness were held down, it becomes setting of electric power consumption concern."
      • 5 Hours claimed doesn't seem like all that much for a so called ultra effeciant chip. My laptop is an Acer with a Pentium-M 1.5 GHz, and it claims 5.5 hours battery life. I've used it for about 3.75 hours while keeping the screen brightness up, using the wireless networking components, and burning some CDs before it finally hit the critical battery warning at 10% and I pluged it in, and this is a standard laptop w/ dvd burner, 60 GB HD, and a 15" screen.
        • While with the AMD and Intel chips, 5.5 would be a long stretch, Transmeta has a long history of getting 10+ hours of battery life with their chips. (I've even seen a report or two with over 20 hours of battery life.) I would expect that the battery life would be at least 10 hours, probably around their mean of 11, at least with the Crusoe. I doubt they would release a processor with extremely less battery life for the Efficeon line. So, 5 hours would probably be way too low, unless the system was being uti
          • Ultraportables are thin and LIGHT. A battery is not light. 5hrs is not bad at all for an ultraportable - ULV P-M ultraportables get 2-3 hours.
    • by CdBee (742846) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @03:02PM (#10228806)
      I tried babelfishing it, turns out that page is all about Dirty Schoolgirls who like hot sausage. That or I didn't get the right URL.....
    • since your laptop is so big, the battery size is a lot larger. but this one is probably the one with longest battery for that size.

      I could link my laptop to a UPS to claim that it can last 30hours. :D so size does matter here.
  • Another Link (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 12, 2004 @02:57PM (#10228776)
    http://www.engadget.com/entry/5844163416339364/

    Another Link provides some extra info.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I know that Mini-ITX boards using VIA low-power chips have a strong following of hobby SFF projects. Is there something similar for the Efficion?
    • Re:Enthusiasts? (Score:4, Informative)

      by mocm (141920) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @03:23PM (#10228911) Homepage
      Yes. [ibase.com.tw]
    • VIA is better. The VIA Mini-ITX have hardware support for MPEG-2 (CN266) and AES, and the new CN400 boards also have hardware support for MPEG-4. They even release some custom stuff for Xine to support hardware acceleration of MPEG-2/4.

      This way you low-power, low-heat VIA CPU can focus on other stuff than video decode/encryption.
      • I have had such bad experiences with VIA hardware that I will most probably never buy anything from them again.

        First there was this VIA Rhine-based network adapter (D-Link DFE530TX), which looked cool and I bought 8 of them (for me and friends). One year later, as 100Mbps ethernet networks were becoming more popular, we realized that the Rhine would fail under moderate to heavy load. There was apparently an undocumented hardware design problem which had to be worked around in drivers, at the price of perfo
  • transmeta cpus (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 12, 2004 @03:02PM (#10228808)
    why is it that i still can't buy transmeta cpus easily to stick onto also easily available motherboards? these days low power, running cool and reliable are more important than high performance (24/7 devices).
    • Easy (Score:2, Insightful)

      Transmetta chips are small so that they can fit into tiny ass enclosures like notebooks, those orion things, and OQOs. If it had to be socketed (instead of a BGA) it would be thicker, the ceramic packaging would be larger and more expensive due to the use of pins...

      Etc...

      Its a space/size thing... I'm sure they could make one if they wanted but I doubt the demand would be enough to warrant the manufacturing costs (don't forget Transmeta pays TSMC or UMC to make the chips for them).

      FWIW
      • Generally solder down gives better performance than socketed.

        Yes, the chips are small. But it is possible to make them support a socket (how do you think they get tested?). I advise you to wait. If enough people want them, it'll happen. The first 1.6GHz Efficeons are only a few weeks old, you don't stock-pile 100,000 chips before you let loose to market!

        FYI, the new 90nm (it's no secret) are fabbed at Fujitsu, not TSMC or UMC. It's never been UMC. IBM was one of the earlier ones.

        The thing that saves you
      • It scares me to think of what a person with your nick would know about "tiny ass enclosures".
  • by John_Allen_Mohammed (811050) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @03:03PM (#10228813)
    How can I buy a transmeta chip and build a system from one ? I checked pricewatch [pricewatch.com] but they dont list transmeta chips... and what sort of motherboard do they clip onto ? It seems to me, at least, they're cool factor (linus a former hacker) is very high but in reality it's very ambigious when it comes to the real world.

    Love to put to get a mythtv box with a transmeta chip at its heart but I guess that's not possible so far :( :( :(
  • by Tuxedo Jack (648130) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @03:04PM (#10228815) Homepage
    It looks to have the following abilities/specs:

    1.26 kilograms (2.772 pounds)
    1.6GHz Transmeta processor
    Wireless B/G using an Atheros device
    CD/DVD drive
    Some kind of hyper-brightness ability for the screen
    Windows XP SP2 (NX flag support)
    ATI Mobility 7500 (probably at least 64MB RAM, since it says the laptop can play FFXI, and that's kinda video-intensive)
    A switch to convert from normal-power mode to mobile-power mode (thus changing processor efficiency and other things)
    Some kind of remote control a la the iPod Remote

    I can't read kanji and hiragana, so I'm quite out of it.

    I assume that Linux support will be forthcoming from the community for this, as Sharp states that they recommend XP Professional SP2 for this device at the top of the page.
    • Hrm.. it appears to be 32MBytes of vram (http://www.sharp.co.jp/products/pcmp70g/text/p6.h tml)

      10.4" screen (Do they use inches for screen size in Japan??)

      I know next to nothing about Japanese, so grain of salt for us all!

      Pan
    • 1.6GHz Transmeta processor

      Does anyone know if the new Transmeta processor is any better than the older ones?

      If AMD vs Intel has thought us anything, it certainly proves that clockspeed does not equal to performance!

      While Transmetas are really great power-wise (even predating the Pentium Ms), I really wonder if they can hold their own speedwise when compared to a 1.6Ghz Centrino processor.

      Anyway the Pentium Ms are pretty good.
    • I own a Sharp Mebius MM20 (Japanese model of Actius MM20) with a 1GHz TransMeta Efficeon TM8600. I managed to get almost everything working in linux, except for one thing: power saving modes (sleep/suspend). Actually, sleep did work with some versions of the kernel (2.6.6 maybe) but after resuming the wireless LAN would stop working (not sure if this is a problem with the ACPI or the Prism54 drivers). Unfortunately, as my main use of this notebook is to work on the road, this forces me to use it in Windows
  • More info (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    More Information from Gizmodo [gizmodo.com]

    Japanese Stats
  • I want someting about the size of one of the old Sony picturebook, running on either a transmeta or via low power processor. It should have a color screen, although it doesn't have to be too fancy even older dual scan technology would be fine. It would need wireless, and should have decent (4+ hours)battery life. All for under $700USD. It wouldnt need all the bells and whistles that the Japanese like to stuff in their ultraportables, it just need to be able to browse web pages and run a word processor.
  • Or in fact any mother board that takes a TM8800 that is sold retail?

    Nah, that would mean selling more processors so they won't do it.
  • by BWJones (18351) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @03:08PM (#10228836) Homepage Journal
    and a Dirrect HDD function which lets you hook it up to another PC over USB and use it as an external hard drive (if only this were standard on every laptop).

    I have been wondering how long it would take the Windows world to adopt this feature. Of course it has been shipping with every Powerbook since the very first one (I believe the Powerbook 100 back in 1990 or 1991). Of course back then it was with SCSI and now it is with Firewire leading me to wonder why they used USB?

    • They used USB because it's a lot more common than Firewire on things that aren't Macs.
    • "I have been wondering how long it would take the Windows world to adopt this feature. Of course it has been shipping with every Powerbook since the very first one (I believe the Powerbook 100 back in 1990 or 1991). Of course back then it was with SCSI and now it is with Firewire leading me to wonder why they used USB?"

      Yeah, this feature is really good to have. Just like cars, you can actually use one laptop to bootup another dead laptop and put a OS back inside.

      Except that MacOS doesn't crash so easily..
    • ... and iBook too.

      Pressing the letter "T" while booting will boot the computer into "target disc mode". From the mode, you can connect that laptop to any Mac with firewire and it will automatically mount and be available as an HD on the desktop.

  • by iamatlas (597477) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @03:11PM (#10228850) Homepage
    My first time karma whore-ing!

    Approximately, it builds in the thin-shaped DVD drive of 9.5mm, lightness approximately 1.28kg (PC-MP50G approximately 1.26kg)* 1 scantness approximately 28.8mm (the most thin section) actualizing the light weight compact body. With business and it can carry about lightly with private, shows the high performance of completeness ahead going out.

    Due to the CD/DVD drive of built-in, the pleasure of DVD spreads e.g., you look at the movie software and the original work DVD with the business trip return and the coffee. It is the front tray system which taking in and out the disk is easy to do. In addition, if PC-MP70G of DVD multiple drive loading, it can compile television program and the image etc. of the digital video camera which were videotaped with the DVD recorder easily, can draw up original DVD. All you base are belong to Sharp

    From state of power source off, the button of the substance one touch just is done, Windows(R) without starting INSTANT PLAY which start * 1it is possible DVD and CD* adopting 2. Furthermore, using the remote control headphone where volume setting and chapter operation etc. belong, because it can do, it can enjoy in portable DVD player feeling.

    Letter and the picture clear vivid. It can enjoy with the image where also the DVD software and the broadband contents are beautiful brightly.

    * 1 When the DVD software and the CD software are enjoyed with INSTANT PLAY, it is necessary to set the disk to drive.

    * 2 It actualizesInterVideo (R )withInstant ON TM.

    Low adopting the trance meta corporation make Efficeon TM TM8800 1.6GHz which is proud of the electric power consumptionhigh performance to CPU. High operational frequency is actualized without increasing electric power consumption with adoption of 90nm process.

    Trance meta corporation makeEfficeon TM TM8800 strengthens also security performance. The safety for virus attack such as the cord/code execution with buffer overrun is raised.

    (C) 2002- 2004 SQUARE ENIX CO. and LTD. All Rights Reserved. Title Design by Yoshitaka Amano

    Indicating the 3D game and streaming image etc. insmoothly with the ATI corporation make MOBILITYTM RADEON TM 7500 which corresponds to 3D. High throughput It requires "FINAL FANTASY(R) XI for Windows(R) ", it is appointed to the official operational recognition personal computer.

    * 3

    The game software is selling separately. With the economical electrical design, approximately 5.0 hours* actualizing the long haul drive of 4. In addition, if the MOBILE switch was changed to MOBILE mode, CPU throughput and picture brightness were held down,* 5, it becomes setting of electric power consumption concern.

    * 4 It is the time when it measured Corporation electronic intelligence technical industrial association "JEITA battery methods-time measurement (Ver.1.0)" of on the basis. You can verify detailed measurement condition, in the support page classified by type of Mobius home page.Http://www.sharp.co.jp/mebius/ and actual drive time differ depending upon use environment.

    * 5 The operational frequency of CPU is held down low, in initial condition display intensity from under 2nd is changed in. There are times when occurs scene falling with such as animated picture playback.

    Maximum 54Mbps* 6 (standard value) building in the wireless LAN of the IEEE802.11b/g conformity which corresponds to high-speed communication. The Super G TM mode which raisestransfer rate* it corresponds to also 7. The other personal computer and the data can share "radio de chat" and network setting can be changed "entrusts Internet" and so on, can use automatically smoothly with the wireless.

    * 6 Numerical value of indication is maximum with respect to theory of wireless LAN standard, is not something which shows actual data rate.

    * 7 SuperGTM is the wireless LAN high-speed technology which the Atheros Communications corporation developed. SuperGTM function is used, it is necessary also for the wireless LAN equipment aheadconnectingto correspond to Super G TM.

  • by reporter (666905) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @03:18PM (#10228888) Homepage
    The "technology" that Transmeta developed is essentially a VLIW processor that can be micro-programmed to interpret the IA32 instruction set. By removing the hardware for direct decoding or execution of the complex IA32 instructions, the Transmeta chips save power.

    Unfortunately, for Transmeta, this "technology" is neither new nor hard to duplicate. The Opteron (AMD) and the new Pentium IV (Intel) are both VLIW processors microprogrammed to execute the IA32-64 instruction set.

    Both AMD and Intel have an R&D budget that dwarfs the annual revenue stream of Transmeta. It has had several years of losses [smartmoney.com] and will likely head into bankruptcy by the end of next year.

    AMD and Intel are in a fierce battle that will destroy lesser players like Transmeta. Unfortunately for Transmeta, the IA32 processors are rapidly becoming commodities with shrinking margins.

    Is there a white knight for Transmeta?

    • Well, code morphing software and microcode are a big difference and I doubt that Intel or AMD can do it without violating Transmeta's patents. They also have the long run 2 (LR2) technology which they have successfully licensed to NEC, so with the Efficeon business picking up and more LR2 licenses, they may yet survive. Or they will get bought by Intel or AMD because they both can't do 90nm with 1.6 GHz at 7Watts.
    • FUD-thought (Score:3, Insightful)

      by repetty (260322)
      "Both AMD and Intel have an R&D budget that dwarfs the annual revenue stream of Transmeta. It has had several years of losses [smartmoney.com] and will likely head into bankruptcy by the end of next year."

      Intel and AMD stockholders must be wondering what the fuck their company's have been blowing their R&D budgets on.

      Smaller companies are almost always way more productive with a buck than big companies. That's why I would withhold publishing their obituary if I were you.

      Remember, Apple has been g
      • "Intel and AMD stockholders must be wondering what the fuck their company's have been blowing their R&D budgets on."

        AMD has been putting out good tech after good tech lately.

        On the other hand, Intel is in some serious (steaming brown substance) if they don't buck up. Seems like they are the ones playing catch-up now.. the Pentium architecture really needs a good overhaul.

        By that I meant GOOD! Our current P4s are really just extensions of the old P3 design, except they had a longer pipe line on it to
    • > The Opteron (AMD) and the new Pentium IV (Intel) are both VLIW processors microprogrammed to execute the IA32-64 instruction set.

      Neither the Opteron nor the Pentium IV are VLIW processors. Both translate x86 code to micro-ops, not VLIWs. From those both companies, the Itantium is the only VLIW processor. But none of them does code morphing, unless you run a VM on it.
    • I wonder if it would be a good idea for them to get bought out by Via, and merge the technologies of the Efficeon and the C3/Eden.
      • While the VIA and Transmeta both make some very comperable performing chips (both in terms of raw performance and power consumption), you really couldn't "merge" the technlogy.

        The two companies have taken a dramatically different approach to things. VIA went for a VERY simple x86 core, not entirely unlike the original Pentium but with a few tweaks to the memory subsystem and bus, among other things. Transmeta, on the other hand, went for the most obscure possible way to make an x86 chip. They designed a
    • Intel and AMD will have to cater to the low-power market to drive Transmeta out of business. This is a good thing, because power usage on current mainstream CPUs is out of control.
      • "...power usage on current mainstream CPUs is out of control."

        Amen.
        • Power consumption - this has been of great concern to me as well. Not just the power, its also the resultant heat.

          With the geometries constantly getting smaller, yet the physics of diffusion being the same, and the power consumption/heat dissipation rising at what seems to be a neverending inexorable rate...

          Gee, guys, how long do we expect a processor to be in service these days before the inexorable laws of diffusion render the processor inoperable?

          Worse yet, I suspect its degradation is probably a st

    • [I]The "technology" that Transmeta developed is essentially a VLIW processor that can be micro-programmed to interpret the IA32 instruction set. By removing the hardware for direct decoding or execution of the complex IA32 instructions, the Transmeta chips save power.[/I] A separate firmware layer lies there to interprete the x86 instructions. The VLIW processor core can only understand VLIW instructions given to it by the firmware. [I]Unfortunately, for Transmeta, this "technology" is neither new nor ha
    • bolony! (Score:4, Informative)

      by khrtt (701691) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @09:57PM (#10231605)
      The "technology" that Transmeta developed is essentially a VLIW processor that can be micro-programmed to interpret the IA32 instruction set...

      Not INTERPRET, but rather TRANSLATE IA32 to native VLIW. The word "translate" means "compile binary to binary" here. The translated result is cached, which makes the whole thing run at a more acceptable speed.

      Intel and AMD do the same thing - IA32 is translated to an internal RISC-like code. They also cache the translated code. Only they do the translation in hardware, while Transmeta does it in software.

      The extra translation hardware drains extra power. The extra translation software uses up extra CPU clocks, effectively slowing down a Crusoe (or any transmeta CPU) compared to a Pentium (any recent Intel/AMD CPU) at the same clock rate. If you slow down the clock on the Pentium so that the performance equals to that of the Crusoe, you reduce the power consumption to the same level as the Crusoe as well. Or better.

      So, all in all, it's a wash. All mobile CPUs throttle down the clock when possible. The maximum speed for the Pentium is higher than for a Crusoe with the same clock. The die of the Transmeta chip is smaller. That's all the difference.

      Surprisingly, where Intel (not AMD) gets its edge with Pentium M has nothing to do with CPU core. It's the way they handle the L2 cache. They have a large L2 cache, but they only clock the block of it where there is an access. This saves a lot of power, while allowing for a larger L2 cache. Which has more effect on the CPU speed and power consumption than all the tricks with the core architecture.

      The original idea that made Transmeta chips so attractive had nothing to do with the core architecture either. The idea was that they would not only slow down the clock, but also reduce the supply voltage accordingly, which squared the power savings compared to Intel SpeedStep. Of course, by now both Intel and AMD do the same thing, so Transmeta doesn't have an edge there any more.

      AMD and Intel are in a fierce battle that will destroy lesser players like Transmeta
      Not necessarily. Transmeta is in a niche market, ultra-mobile IA32 devices. As long as they stay in a niche market, they have a chance. But I doubt they could make it into the mainstream CPU market in near future.

      Is there a white knight for Transmeta?
      Is there an SS1 for Transmeta? Wait, wrong topic...
      • It seems to me that, for Transmeta to survive as an independent player, they need native (or nearly native) VLIW code for computationally intensive tasks like MPEG (de)coding, and/or the OS and drivers re-compiled to native VLIW. That way they can get improved MIPS/watt on at least some of the code, but x86 compatibility at no worse MIPS/watt than a native processor.

        But then again Intel/AMD can do the same thing and make the micro-ops visible.

        • The strange thing, neither one of Intel/AMD/Transmeta would make the internal instruction set accessible. The only reason for this that I can think of is that they change the architecture between the releases of the chip enough that the code would break, and they want to keep being able to change it.

          Then, Intel might be afraid of coming up with another Itanium.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I did a big search for Transmeta benchmark results a couple days back when Orion was announced and found nothing of consequence.

    What's up with that?

    Sure, it is probably 'fast enough', but I want to know how fast.

  • by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @03:33PM (#10228956) Homepage Journal
    I am curious; is there any comparison chart of the efficiency (MIPS/Watt) of various CPUs?

    I wonder how the Transmetas really score...compared to PowerPCs, for example.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Pentium M will win. At 1.3GHz you can run it at around 8 watts (peak). And the performance is phenomenal (basically equivalent to a 2.2GHz P4)

      At 2GHz it's up around 20W (higher voltage) and the performance is astounding: MUCH faster than a 2.5GHz PPC970 at integer work (for less than half the power), and faster than even a 3.4GHz Pentium 4...
  • by istartedi (132515) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @04:48PM (#10229329) Journal

    Transmeta is too closed to hackers. That's part of the reason it's failing. Few hackers are going to buy one of their $1000+ devkits when they can get a mini-itx board for $200. Yeah, the 'meta board can supposedly peform better without a fan, but so what? Transmeta has no clue. They could have started a revolution, instead they tried to push disruptive technology through channels that didn't want disruptive technology.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      > Transmeta is too closed to hackers.

      Don't be so sure of that. I'm involved with the group that's reverse engineering the Efficeon and CMS right now.

      This is from the same people who brought you the Crusoe Exposed series of articles, but the Efficeon version will be *much* more detailed. As you'll see, Transmeta should not have relied on trade secrets in lieu of more patents. There are many smart people out there and this chip can and will be exposed.

      Besides, Transmeta is no longer releasing a full Eff
      • by istartedi (132515) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @08:57PM (#10231300) Journal

        Well, you've sort of proved my point. 'meta is just a VLIW chip with some special firmware on it. The real magic is in the firmware. Now, I'm not suggesting that they should open source the firmware, but when you can't socket the thing into a PC MoBo, when you can't even buy the mini-ITX board at a reasonable price, when people have to reverse-engineer basic technical data, it's DOA for any real hacker (except hackers who like to reverse-engineer!). It's for "corporate partners only". It's closed. It's dead, and that's a shame.

  • Not too impressive (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Deslock (86955) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @08:52PM (#10231274)

    What major advantages does this have over the 18-month-old Panasonic W2 [dynamism.com] other than a slightly better video card and smaller footprint? The W2 weighs 2.8 pounds, has a DVD-RW, 12.1" screen, big keyboard, 1.1 GHz CPU, and its battery lasts over 7 hours.

    In the USA, we get the older version [panasonic.com] of the W2, but it's still some-tasty.

    On a side note, some tips for running Linux on the W2:
    - Red Hat [pragmatic-c.com]
    - Debian [uq.edu.au]
    - leog forum [leog.net]

  • Here is a nice site that discusses ultraportable computers and u-PCs (ultra-personal PCs): http://u-pcs.com/ [u-pcs.com]

Whoever dies with the most toys wins.

Working...