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Transmeta Businesses Hardware

Transmeta Mulls Exit From Processor Market 202

Posted by timothy
from the they've-already-made-it-up-in-volume dept.
chill writes "C-Net is reporting that CPU upstart Transmeta, once the employer of Linus Torvalds and maker of 'Code Morphing' processors, is contemplating leaving the chip manufacturing business. Already their IP licensing revenue exceeds that of their microprocessor sales, though both are dwarfed by their recurring quarterly losses."
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Transmeta Mulls Exit From Processor Market

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @01:14PM (#11264657)
    how about where everyone else get's them??

    cyrix?

    out of the 3000 mini-itx motherboards I have touched i have seen NONE with a transmeta processor. I saw cyrix, intel and AMD...

    in fact I have NEVER seen a transmeta processor let alone anyone selling them.
  • by kaos.geo (587126) on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @01:24PM (#11264755)
    You neednt worry... VIA is taking care of most of those ;). Check out www.mini-itx.com BTW it's really a dissapointment that transmeta wasnt a success, but at least they tried!
  • by bitmason (191759) on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @01:25PM (#11264764) Homepage
    The article summary is misleading. Transmeta already outsources manufacturing. I believe they've used both IBM and TSMC in the past--not sure who they're using at the moment. The article says that Transmeta is considering getting out of the chip design business and just license their IP. This is presumably patents, etc. around code morphing and other techniques that they've developed. It would presumably also represent a significant scaling back of the company.
  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @01:28PM (#11264801)
    I've been bitchslapped for reading anti-slash.org, so I'll never have karma. You're setting the market up as a straw man here - we have some 1GHZ Transmeta blades here, and they're as slow as molasses in winter. Their stuff is either crap, or they haven't found the right market. Either way, good old supply and demand kicks in - no demand, so they can't move any supply, and thus, are bleeding cash.
    When they come up with a cheap x86 CPU that performs (Via anyone?) then maybe they'll ship some units.
  • The Crusoe Chip (Score:5, Informative)

    by elecngnr (843285) on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @01:32PM (#11264830)
    I remember back a few years when their Crusoe chips were touted as the next great development in chips. IEEE Spectrum had a big article that really pumped them up. Here is the abstract from that:

    Abstract:

    It took Transmeta engineers $100 million, five years of secret toil, and a little magic to create fast low-power chips that turn into x86s in a microsecond. Transmeta Corporation's Crusoe chips look nothing like Intel's Pentium processors. They do not even have a logic gate in common. They are smaller, consume between one-third and one-thirtieth the power (depending on the application), and implement none of the same instructions in hardware. However the Crusoe microprocessors can run the same software that runs on IBM PC-compatible personal computers with Pentium chips-for instance, Microsoft Windows or versions of Unix, along with their software applications. The paper describes the development of the Crusoe chips

    All that development and hype, yet now they are getting out of the market. Seems they should have been well positioned to dominate in the handheld and portable market. Bad business practices? The EE Times also has a good article on this. [eet.com]

  • by Kenja (541830) on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @01:46PM (#11264977)
    "I know quite a lot of people who would have loved to have a low power CPU that is x86 compatible in their desktop computers"

    Then they should buy one. Get a P4-M, Athlon Mobile or Via C3 system. All of which are low power, low cost and run circles around what Transmeta has been trying to sell.

  • by bad-badtz-maru (119524) on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @01:50PM (#11265005) Homepage
    Financially speaking, Wendy's does better than Burger King. In addition, Subway is the world's second largest fast food franchise, not Burger King.
  • by jensend (71114) on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @03:37PM (#11266831)
    Wrong. There's a Pentium 4-M, a Pentium III-M, and a Pentium M. The numberless M is a Banias (.13) or Dothan (.09) core (both very very good), the 4-M is a Northwood (.13) or Prescott (.09) core (awful for laptops, esp. Prescott; they're mostly in "desktop replacement"- i.e. "leave it plugged in"- models), and the Pentium III-M is a Coppermine (.18) or Tualatin (.13) (both rather respectable- a used P3-M laptop can be a very good buy- but of course long in the tooth). The PIII-M processors were not called "Pentium M".

    "Centrino", on the other hand, is a marketing name which means "Pentium M notebook with Intel's WiFi adapter". There are plenty of Pentium M notebooks without built-in WiFi or with somebody else's WiFi adapter, and these aren't Centrinos. Neither are the (admittedly rather rare) Pentium M desktops or blade servers.

    On the original topic, the trouble with Transmeta's processors is that of the three Ps of a notebook processor- price, performance, power consumption- the Crusoe or Efficeon has only one selling point (low power consumption). I don't think it's that these processors are expensive to manufacture, but rather that the extremely low volumes they sell have to pay for their design costs (chicken and egg problem). Via's C3 scrapes along at low volume because on top of being a low-wattage chip it's quite inexpensive (it has a simpler design than any of its competitors, or indeed than any other company's x86 processors since at least the K6; additionally, VIA has plenty of other resources and can afford to take a loss on C3 now and then as an investment in a better bargaining position for its chipset deals with Intel and AMD). The offerings from Intel and AMD have much higher performance.
  • Re:So, basically (Score:4, Informative)

    by jonbryce (703250) on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @03:43PM (#11266910) Homepage
    Their main competitor in this field is ARM, who seem to be a fairly reasonable company.

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"

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