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Transmeta Closing Up Shop 413

Posted by Zonk
from the fair-thee-well dept.
Ashutosh Lotlikar wrote to mention an article on the Business 2.0 site stating that chip producer Transmeta is going out of business. From the article: "The company's Crusoe family of microprocessors promised lower power consumption and heat generation, enabling the creation of laptops with longer battery life. Critics bashed the chips for being underpowered compared with Intel's latest and greatest. Transmeta struggled to find a market, and recently it sold off most of its chipmaking business for $15 million to Culturecom Holdings, a Hong Kong company better known for publishing comic books."
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Transmeta Closing Up Shop

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  • RTFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by IO ERROR (128968) * <error@NosPAm.ioerror.us> on Sunday June 05, 2005 @08:47PM (#12732062) Homepage Journal
    Transmeta isn't going out of business just yet.

    They're still working on putting out a chip based on LongRun2 [transmeta.com], which reduces transistor leakage [semiconduc...ossary.com]. This is very important for cutting power consumption [eetimes.com] and increasing CPU speed. They've also licensed the technology to Fujitsu [transmeta.com], NEC [eweek.com] and Sony [eweek.com], none of which have released a product based on it yet.

    It's quite possible, though apparently unlikely, that Transmeta will turn things around and manage to survive. However, Intel is already all over the leakage problem [intel.com], so this may well be the end of Transmeta.

    • Re:RTFA (Score:5, Funny)

      by William Robinson (875390) on Sunday June 05, 2005 @09:15PM (#12732199)
      Transmeta isn't going out of business just yet....so this may well be the end of Transmeta.

      By any chance, Are you lawyer? :)

    • Re:RTFA (Score:5, Funny)

      by StikyPad (445176) on Sunday June 05, 2005 @11:27PM (#12732835) Homepage
      They're still working on putting out a chip based on LongRun2

      They shoulda called it LongShot2
    • hey're still working on putting out a chip based on LongRun2 [transmeta.com], which reduces transistor leakage [semiconduc...ossary.com]. This is very important for cutting power consumption

      So once again they're trying to solve problems that aren't serious enough for anyone else to care. Nobody has really cared that much about power consumption. No, they really haven't.

      And transistor leakage may be a problem down the road, but honestly Intel or AMD will be in a much better position to address the pr
    • Re:RTFA (Score:2, Insightful)

      by IHateSlashDot (823890)
      Transmeta isn't going out of business

      Huh?????

      It's quite possible, though apparently unlikely, that Transmeta will turn things around and manage to survive. However, Intel is already all over the leakage problem, so this may well be the end of Transmeta.

      This is the definition of "going out of business". They are not "out" of business. They are "going out" of business.

    • The submitter probably holds transmeta short and will make a killing when the market opens this morning.
  • Transmeta (Score:4, Funny)

    by Monkeman (827301) <MonkemanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday June 05, 2005 @08:47PM (#12732067)
    Who?
  • instruction set (Score:5, Interesting)

    by morcheeba (260908) * on Sunday June 05, 2005 @08:52PM (#12732090) Journal
    I wonder what would have happened if Transmeta had released the instruction set for the native VLIW instruction-set processor [wikipedia.org] that runs the x86 emulation layer. Sure, it's probably very hard to code for, but may have offered a tremendous advantage for some applications.

    Also, hopefully OQO [oqo.com] and others have a backup plan so this doesn't put a kink in the handheld pc market.
    • The whole architecture was build upon the premise that the core is only accessable via the code morphing software, so the different crusoe chips hadnt even binary compatible cores.
      • "The whole architecture was build upon the premise that the core is only accessable via the code morphing software, so the different crusoe chips hadnt even binary compatible cores."

        It's also worth mentioning that Transmeta-specific code wouldn't go far if the marketplace didn't support it, at least not while trying to coexist in the x86 space.
      • HI O WISE PRINCE. WHT TOOK U SO DAM LONG?

        Is that an example of one of the Crusoe op-code mnemonics? I've heard VLIW is complex to hand code, buy geesh!

        -AP

    • Nothing would have happened because coding to the native instruction set would be prohibitively expensive. Combined with the fact that there is no software for the chip, and with the fact that the chips are single-source (any manufacturing person knows what this is), the whole thing is no-go. There are better CPUs for any specific use.
      • Coding wouldn't have been expensive unless you were selling the software. I'm not thinking commercial software, but instead optimized GCC, math, or multimedia libraries... or maybe even compiling just frequently-used aps, such as linux and/or apache. But, the post above yours says that different processors had different microcode, so it would have been very hard to keep up with,
        • Re:instruction set (Score:5, Insightful)

          by tftp (111690) on Sunday June 05, 2005 @10:05PM (#12732465) Homepage
          Coding wouldn't have been expensive unless you were selling the software

          Coding would be infinitely expensive if you pour money in and gain nothing, one way or another. Selling of the s/w is just one gain option; using it in-house, as you suggest, is another.

          However you can't buy a Transmeta beige box and give it to a code monkey to play with :-) There are no such boxes, except a few notebooks that don't even exist (for all practical purposes.) You would have to build your own computer, from chips, caps and resistors. That is not easy (read it as "awfully expensive".)

          You also mention number-crunching in this post and below. But if you want that you don't go with a teeny-weeny low power CPU. You take a big and hot chip, and not one either. Big CPUs can run SMP if that's your thing; for example, G4 is not even a "big" CPU in my book, but with its existing SMP capabilities and its AltiVec core (which is probably what you need for your multimedia and other uses) it trumps Transmeta's product, just stomps it into the ground. And you can get G4 beige boxen from many places, off the shelf (including Apple's shelf, for the moment.)

          Transmeta's CPUs are good for one purpose only - for emulating other CPUs. If you want a cold chip, there are many other, and better too (ask anyone between Atmel and Freescale.) If you want a fast CPU, there are many of those (ask AMD and Intel and IBM.) You'd have to work hard to find the exact niche where Transmeta's products fit - and the problem is that the niche is too narrow for the company to live in.

          • I have to agree with you. I have wondered if the Transmeta would be good for emulating things like the PDP-11, Vax, and other older Minis that are still in use in some places. Not to mention that I would love to see what a 68060 with the kind of development money the X86 has had thrown at it would be like.
            • Re:instruction set (Score:3, Insightful)

              by tftp (111690)
              I have wondered if the Transmeta would be good for emulating things like the PDP-11, Vax, and other older Minis

              My answer to that would be NO. If the task is to run a legacy s/w on some sort of a replica box, I would rather synthesize the desired CPU in an FPGA. It would give me direct, hardware execution of commands as opposed to reinterpreting them. As another important benefit, I would synthesize right there all the I/O hardware that is part of that Mini. This is not possible with Transmeta since it's j

              • Which would be faster? FPGAs that I have seen are pretty slow "in clock speed" comparied to a Transmeta chip. It really doesn't matter now.
                What about as someone said Java or the CLR.
                BTW. There are a few companies out there that do make replica boxes. They tend to be PCs running emulation software with special PCI cards that interface with the old systems bus.
                • FPGA may even be faster, because it will execute a command in one clock (or two at most) - and you can include the hardware into the FPGA that does what this particular CPU needs. But the VLIW firmware has to spend more clocks on decoding the operation and then running it step by step, according to VLIW machine commands. All in all, it's difficult to guess, and pointless too, as you mention. At least the FPGA design is safer from many points of view, and is more open, and easier to modify.

                  Java or CLR w

    • by mikael (484)
      It's an interesting thought ...

      Intel optimised the performance of Just-In-Time compiling for Java straight to x86 assembly language. And at the same time, Intel also designed the Pentium processors to convert x86 instructions into internal processor instructions. What if Java were compiled directly into internal processor instructions?
  • Code Morphing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SlashdotOgre (739181) on Sunday June 05, 2005 @08:58PM (#12732117) Journal
    If Transmeta does close shop, I hope they consider opening up their "Code Morphing Software". It's an interesting approach to X86 processing on non-X86 processors, for more info check here: http://www.transmeta.com/crusoe/codemorphing.html [transmeta.com]
  • Tablet PCs? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Alaren (682568) on Sunday June 05, 2005 @09:00PM (#12732130)

    While I know Transmeta did a lot of work on portable processors for a variety of devices, it seems to me that I first started hearing "Transmeta" a lot when Microsoft made their (most recent) push for Tablet PCs.

    I wonder how much the lackluster appeal of these devices contributed to Transmeta's downfall... or if they just never stood a chance against Intel. Anyone have more numbers on this? Tablets aren't mentioned in the article...

    • Actually only one Tablet PC shipped with a Transmeta chip. The first HP Tablet PC (TC1000). They ended up switching to Intel at the first opportunity because performance was lack luster at best.
    • "I wonder how much the lackluster appeal of these devices contributed to Transmeta's downfall... or if they just never stood a chance against Intel."

      Well, as a TabletPC owner, I can tell you I wouldn't have bothered with Transmeta. I get nearly 4 hours out of my Tablet on a single charge. At that point, getting another hour or two wouldn't have been worth the potential performane hit. (Note: this is NOT an educated opinion, it's a perception. And that's my point, perception is a factor when purchasing
    • I don't think Transmeta's problem was choosing a bad niche; everybody wants lower power chips. Rather, the problem IMHO was that their innovations didn't provide much advantage over Intel and AMD chips. The Transmeta chips are too slow for general purpose usage when the competitors are so much faster for just a bit more power.
  • Shame (Score:3, Interesting)

    by maelstrom (638) on Sunday June 05, 2005 @09:01PM (#12732136) Homepage Journal
    I was just wondering what will become of their code morphing technology especially in light of the rumors of Apple potentially going to X86. Could be interesting if Apple had a chip that could do X86 and PPC at near full native.

  • I suppose Transmeta's technologies will come in handy. Like they say [culturecom.com.hk] :)
  • by kclittle (625128) on Sunday June 05, 2005 @09:10PM (#12732164)
    ... will find a way to blame Microsoft for this.

    • You need but ask...

      Houston, we have a problem... [davesource.com]

      After three years of work, in August 1998, the first chips came back from IBM Corp., which had signed on as manufacturer. To check out the performance of the chips, the Transmeta engineers ran several benchmarks, both for Unix and Windows. The chips ran Unix benchmarks as fast as had been expected; the first magic trick had worked.

      But when the engineers assigned to performance analysis started testing Windows benchmarks, they had a nasty surprise. The

  • by haggar (72771) on Sunday June 05, 2005 @09:12PM (#12732173) Homepage Journal
    The Transmeta CPUs have the highest MIPS/Watt ratio of all, still. Laptops built around them have the longest battery life, and superclusters with Transmeta CPUs have some of the highest processing densities and lowest power consumption - characteristics that may not be an obvious advantage for customers in need of raw power, but that certainly lower the bill when you factor in the power needed to dissipate the extra heat, and the price of real-estate.

    I will be the first to admit: I was sceptical when Transmeta started publicizing their ideas. I thought employing Linus was just clever PR. Yet, as time went on, I thought a Transmeta-based laptop would be a very desirable item. I hate it when laptops burn your lap, don't you?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Critics bashed the chips for being underpowered compared with Intel's latest and greatest.

    These sound like the same guys who insist Apple is going broke every quarter since '91, can only survive by going x86, etc.

    Does the tech industry have more trouble than most w/ utterly clueless people who set themselves up as experts? John Dvorak is still getting published and invited to conferences; so-called analysts make silly statements, Wall Street listens, and everybody (but the analyst) suffers. Crusoe pr
  • by bogaboga (793279) on Sunday June 05, 2005 @09:18PM (#12732213)
    This type of news, especially in the chip business reminds me of "Cyrix" - the chip, in the mid/late 90s! In the chip business, it must be tough to be a newcomer. Texas Instruments manufactured some of these, IBM did too and a host of other companies. Some people still believe this chip still has advantages over the pentium! http://www.hardwarecentral.com/hardwarecentral/rep orts/592/2/ [hardwarecentral.com]. But who is buying that? No wonder, Transmeta may be forced to see the real world. I wish them luck though. All in all, the chip biz must be tough.
    • I loved Cyrix back in the day. I remember I quickly and painlessly swapped up my 33Mhz CPU for 66, no other changes needed to my mo-bo. I remember thinking how cool it was that I could do that. They might of even had a 100mhz cpu of the same deal but I don't remember now.
    • by jd (1658) <imipak@yaCOLAhoo.com minus caffeine> on Sunday June 05, 2005 @11:09PM (#12732784) Homepage Journal
      Motorola "spun off" (ie: ditched) their chip-making business. Inmos - owned by a music chain, Thorn EMI - was sold to ST and their technology was dumped. IIT, a co-processor manufacturer in the days of the 8086 to 80286 died a death. Cyrix was bought, as mentioned.

      This is a field where you must not only have a good product, you must also have a solid market AND a solid marketing team, AND you must avoid bad PR like the plague, AND any major players (like Intel) must not deliberately sabotage efforts to compete, AND your plant can't be struck by major earthquakes.

      (Why are all the major chip makers in Taiwan, Japan and America ALL concentrated in areas with high tectonic activity? Is there something in the fault line they use in the production line?)

      The bottom line is simple. A chip fabrication plant can cost tens of millions to hundreds of millions of dollars, skilled chip designers can command hefty salaries, many of the key markets are 0wn3d by monopolies of questionable legality who flirt with unethical practices to keep their position, and software developers reinforce this by targetting established, high-volume platforms and that means no new products get support.

      Of course, Transmeta didn't help its case. Its Linux distro was late, the first batch of chips was buggy, they didn't sell to anyone outside of the "big players" (and "big players" only really buy from other "big players", because volume bought and sold = profit), and they only produced an 80x86 layer for the Crusoe, rather than using the capabilities to cross market boundaries and therefore create volume by getting into many niche markets.

      Also, their design was poor. Intel beat them on power consumption in a very short space of time, and this is Intel we are talking about. At the same time, people knew there were problems with 80x86 scalability (hence the work on SMP and hyperthreading), but Transmeta didn't look far enough ahead to build a multicore product, when they were already building a design from scratch and had ample opportunity to make such changes.

      (In comparison, AMD and Intel have to engineer such features into an existing design, which is always much harder and likely to be much slower than working from first principles. AMD's and Intel's route also offers much better odds of bugs being found in the design, at a later date, as their architecture was never intended to be multicore.)

      So, I don't hold Transmeta blameless in this. They may have been pushed over the edge, but they still chose to walk along the cliff in the first place, knowing it to be a dangerous spot, and knowing that the view wasn't even that good there, to make it worth the risk.

      One of these days, I hope to see a company start up that takes the time to be truly innovative (and not just fake it), takes the time to get things right, and makes a product so damn unbeatable it wipes the floor with everything else.

      It does happen. True, AMD is no start-up, but they were hardly giants in the 80x86 world. With the Opteron and their 64/32-bit crossover architecture, they've demolished Intel's Itanium and even convinced Microsoft to switch to them for 64-bit stuff. Given the longevity of the Wintel duopoly, that took a good plan and a good effort.

      Any start-up could do just as well, or better, because it wouldn't have the legacy hardware to build around. They could do a clean design that merely supported legacy code. Transmeta started down that road, but for some reason chose only to camp a little way down it and go no further.

      The "ideal" processor would work just as well as a CPU, GPU, network processor or processor for a disk array, as then a manufacturer can go to a single vendor, buy in even bigger bulk, and save money on all aspects. Your computer would become a Beowulf cluster, in effect, with specialization in software. It would be cheaper to build, and would mean that the same system wou

      • Why are all the major chip makers in Taiwan, Japan and America ALL concentrated in areas with high tectonic activity? Is there something in the fault line they use in the production line?

        Hellmouth.

        Chips run on magic smoke, and you need demons to get the smoke.
    • The Pentium is reaching it's breaking point and the baton is being passed onto Cyrix. Can Cyrix follow through on its early lead?

      I've got $50 on "No." Any takers?
    • by bani (467531)
      The chip business is hard, but not that hard. Find a niche, fill it.

      Unfortunately, Transmeta's niche was a little too broad for a newcomer to fill, and there was already a lot of fierce competition.

      IMO Transmeta could have set their sights a bit lower -- go for a nice ultra-low-power embedded PC or something. Or even something like Via's Eden (C7 line).

      They set their sights a bit too high, didnt quite manage to reach it, and were eventually beaten into the ground by Intel's Pentium M and AMD's mobile lin
  • WHOA! Didnt see that one coming!
  • by PapaZit (33585) on Sunday June 05, 2005 @09:43PM (#12732365)
    "Where can I buy one" was what I thought when I first heard about Transmeta's processors.

    I don't need a laptop. I want to put one into a PC. VIA makes a similar sort of low-power product, and you can actually play with those.

    Transmeta made some inroads into the laptop and supercomputer markets, but there was just no way for normal people to play with one, except by buying a laptop.
    • by sheimers (151991)
      I am writing this on a desktop-PC using the Transmeta Efficeon processor.

      You can buy these at spectra [spectra.ch]. Look under Mini-ITX motherboards for the MB860.

      The board fits into standart ATX-Cases with ATX powersupplies, but is smaller than ATX-Boards and has only one PCI slot. It has sound, ethernet, graphics, usb, serial,parallel onboard.

      It is not very fast, but you can work comfortably with it.

      But don't expect too much efficiency. It still uses around 30W under full load, including Processor and perip

  • So now some "holding company" reporting to China's industrialist mafia government has all the rights to America's most cutting-edge CPU tech of 3 years ago. Capitalism really is a glorious way to get ahead, when you've got the bucks to buy time.
    • Yes ... one has to wonder why our government will put a Martha Stewart in prison for a relatively minor transgression, yet cheerfully ignore the sale of valuable technology to a foreign power, and an unfriendly one at that. Makes you wonder who really runs the show in Washington, nowadays.
      • Could it be that it's run by the guys who cut the original deals with China 30 years ago? Nixon's Republicans, like Rumsfeld and Cheney? How about that guy we call "Mr. President", whose dad (who we called Mr. President or Mr. Vice President for 12 years in the middle) was Nixon's first representative of America in China? BushCo, doing just swell floating atop the work of generations of Americans as it gets hocked in the worst economy since the 1930s Depression. Which, incidentally, was the stomping grounds
  • Everyone who has a vested interest in maintaining the 'status quo' will try their darndest to repress, discredit, and sink anything that threatens them, regardless of the benefit to the average citizen.

    The inverse is also true: the more a new technology benefits the average citizen, the more opposition it will encounter.

    Of course, this only serves to tell the enlightened among us what to check out and buy. If there's lots of people talking trash, there's more often something to it than not.

    People hate ch
  • by ankhank (756164) * on Sunday June 05, 2005 @10:23PM (#12732573) Journal
    > Culturecom Holdings, a Hong Kong company
    > better known for publishing comic books

    It's about time comic books started containing chips so portions can be animated and with story line updates that are downloadable, if you ask me.
  • by io333 (574963) on Sunday June 05, 2005 @10:38PM (#12732635)
    Fascinating. This is the first time I've pulled out my Fujitsu P-1120 [fujitsu.ca] in two months, and slashdot was the first place I went to to make sure I was connecting OK, and what do I see. Sigh. I feel bad for all the folks that will never have the opportunity to buy a P1120. All signs are that Fujitu won't be making a replacement with all the same features, namely:

    1. The clearest screen I've ever seen on *anything*
    2. TOUCHSCREEN!!!!
    3. Size of a small hardcover book
    4. Weight of a small hardcover book
    5. Runs *cool*
    6. Runs forever on battery power
    7. No fan, silent except for the hard drive
    8. Built in Wifi & Ethernet
    9. Etc., etc.
    10. Very nice, *useable* keyboard

    Heck, I'm thinking about buying another one to have in case my current one ever breaks!

    The older folks here may remember the teeny little laptop that HP came out with in the early '90s with the mouse that popped out from the side? I never bought one 'cause I figured they'd eventually come out with a faster model, and then HP just discontinued it. I always berated myself for not buying one when it was available. So when the P1000 series came out, I bought one, even though I really could have used the money for a lot of other things at the time. Two years later, I'm still convinced it's the best $1100 I've ever spent. I don't need a laptop that often, but when I *do* need one, it's the most convenient full featured, yet smallest laptop ever made.

    The only downside is that it needs a bit of tweaking before it can play full screen videos, but it *can* play them, and that's all that matters. It's also well supported by Linux and has it's own forum [leog.net]
    • As a P-2046 owner, I definitely agree with you. I get a DVD/CDRW instead of a touchscreen, though.
    • I'm typing my reply on mine.

      It really does rock. I have mine dual-booting Win2K and Fedora Core 2 (haven't taken the time to upgrade - my bad). Even found the necessary touchscreen and wifi drivers for Linux. I actually like it better for travelling than my IBM T41 (though I usually drag both of them along :-).

    • I am so glad that you bought the Fujitsu P1120
      instead of the HP Omnibook. And if you realized
      how bad HP hardware support (in-warranty) was, you
      would also be glad.

      I have an HP Omnibook that went back twice to HP
      while under warranty -- the first time back they
      replaced the system board but didn't fix the
      problem. The second time it went back, it was
      returned to me as-is, with a note that it is
      functioning as designed. Unfortunately, their
      "as designed" functionality was not the condition
      in which I bought it ne
    • And the other P1120 owners out there thank you very much for generating a ton of interest on eBay from /.'ers checking out what's available and for how much. Prices should be inflated for a week or so now. :)

    • Where is the joke in the parent post? why is it modded +4 funny?
    • Fujitsu has been making cool tablet-style computers for a while. I have used a lot of the old Fujitsu Stylistic tablets for projects (~100 MHz machines, touch screen).
  • Does this mean Transmeta laptops will be really cheap now?
  • by jsse (254124) on Sunday June 05, 2005 @11:01PM (#12732759) Homepage Journal
    Your empahsis this in order to convince people that this deal is bad?

    I think quite the opposite, because I know Culturecom pretty well.

    Culturecom Holdings, under which they've companies sells comics books, publishing press and magazine; they also manage properties, and they also have a technology company, which releases its own Linux distro (China 2k) for use in their line of Linux specific workstation and terminal server selling to China since 1998. Their distro originally released for office use and now porting to embedded system. Buying transmeta's production line is a sensible and wise choice for a proactive technology company devoted to Linux business like Culturecom.

    I don't know others, but I feel good to hear that a company devoted to Linux business since boom still around and kicking and decided to enhance their Linux business.

    Disclamer: I worked for Culturecom even before they started their Linux business.
  • I had high hopes.
  • Well, if they go out of business, will they still be able to afford web hosting for all those web pages and images and such? Or will their entire web site get replaced with a cryptic message?
  • by xtal (49134) on Sunday June 05, 2005 @11:48PM (#12732948)
    FWIW; I'm an embedded firmware and hardware developer amoung other things, and HAVE worked with their hardware:

    I evaluated transmeta's chips in 2003, I think.. it was for a target product that needed a low power consumption. When we got their development kit and the heatsink was huge, I knew they were in trouble. I KNEW they were in trouble when we tried to return the multi-thousand-dollar kit to look at some other options they had.. and they wouldn't listen.

    If you're working in the embedded world, you're probably in a well defined area:

    - Low power, low speed micros. These are usually under 20mhz, sometimes faster. Cost a couple bucks and have everything under the sun integrated. Some have micro RTOS's developed for them, most don't. This market is mature and owned by people like Atmel, Microchip, Zilog, and a hoarde of other people making variants of chips like the 8051. Transmeta didn't stand a chance there. Those chips consume almost no power at all and cost nothing.

    - Midrange micros for pdas and other appliances. This is where I thought transmeta had a chance, but then along came Intel with the XScale architecture and they made it work and work very well. This, not the pentium M, is what killed them I think. XScale is cheap, well supported, and very low power.

    - Above-midrange; Transmeta might have had a shot here, but their power consumption and support was much worse than the x86 compatible Nat Semi Geode (now owned by AMD?), and offerings from Via (C3 MiniITX). Price? No competition.

    - Notebooks. Pentium M ended this one. So did the G4 chip from Motorola.

    - Desktop high end CPUS. Nobody ever expected them to be competitive.

    Looking back, it seems like their market ran away from them whereever they looked. Unfortunate, but not unforseeable IMO.
    • Thanks for the insight! The analysis seems correct. I always felt that despite interesting technology, these guys didn't seem to have a core market to cater to. Under-powered to run Windows, and too "heavy" for the embedded apps.

      What they did with their first processor, though, was pretty ballsy. When the big guys were still climbing the superscalar curve (with diminishing returns, of course), these guys identified the problem (energy) and went after it in a very big way, ripping out huge chunks of HW
  • Ooh, your powers of computation are exceptional. I can't allow you to waste CPU cycles here when there are so many crimes going unsolved at this very moment. Go, go, for the good of the city.
  • The Curse of VLIW? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ignorant_coward (883188) on Monday June 06, 2005 @12:36AM (#12733161)

    Sun's MAJC: dual core VLIW FP monster...gone
    Transmeta: also VLIW...going
    Intel: Itanium VLIW FP monster...stagnant once HP's base converts from PA-RISC and Alpha

    It seems that no VLIW architecture to date has really been successful against PowerPC, SPARC, and AMD64. Is it the compilers? Too nontraditional?

    • In the case of a VLIW machine, theoretically, it's a fast beast- but you have to have a good compiler of whatever type (JIT of x86 or Java, Native Code, etc...) to actually see the full advantage of the architechture. Currently, most of these compilers produce less than optimal results so they end up not showing their true potential.
  • A comic end to a great chip..?
  • by Atomic Frog (28268) on Monday June 06, 2005 @01:46AM (#12733428)
    Let's see, since I actually worked at Transmeta up until about 2 months ago and I still know the guys who work there, I'm pretty confident in saying that they are NOT out of business!

    As far as I know, they are still churning out silicon. I don't know where Business 2.0 gets this trash.

    BTW, their chips are pretty competitive now. It's a bit late, but you never know.
  • .. or the reporter at Bussiness 2.0 doesn't know his bussiness..

    Here's one little tid bit that will put those of you who invested at ease.. Transmeta is the one doing the design for the Cell processor.. yeah that amazing thing. Yes, for the Sony PS3.

    Check back in a year.

    Now move along and get a better story to read.
  • With the jaugarnauts Intel and clones AMD or IBM pumping out a new chip one to three times a year, a commodity chip catches up to a custom CPU in price, performance or power in a fews years. A custom company generally on has the resources to ship a new generation every 3-5 years. Moore's Law gives a 5-10x price/performance increase in that time period. I've seen this happen dozens of times in Silicon Valley. Where are the Convexes, Masspars, Thinking Machines, HEPS, and twenty other custom CPUs?
  • (Now I see why Rob Malda says slashdot could be dying. A swamp of americans shouting, screaming and spitting without knowing what's going on. Americans. Heh.)

    Culturecom truely is a company most known for its comics business. But it has deep pockets, and is also known to buy this and that business, extract the most money out of it within 1 yr or 2, then leave users dying in the cold. Its 'chinese2000' is one of the best known "Linux distribution" in Hong Kong, and one of the ugliest.

    - First version is an i

"Of course power tools and alcohol don't mix. Everyone knows power tools aren't soluble in alcohol..." -- Crazy Nigel

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