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Transmeta Hardware

Positive Reports From Transmeta 77

Posted by Hemos
from the spider-will-be-so-happy dept.
utopicillusion writes "The register reports : "More cash flowed into Transmeta in the second quarter than it spent, the company said late last week as a teaser for its upcoming results announcement." This is about after a month that CNN predicted that Transmeta was going under. "
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Positive Reports From Transmeta

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  • by 0xdeaddead (797696) on Monday July 11, 2005 @08:29AM (#13031882) Homepage Journal
    The only reason people even care about this dead company is becuase Linus once worked there.

    Face it this company is toast. NeXT even posted a profitable quater once too, and look where they are!

    Ok kinda bad example, but unless someone wants their "technology" on a firesale this sucker is in game over territory.

    And for all the boo hoo hoo geeks, you are like the fan bois that go on and on about the PPC, MIPS & the Dec Alpha, and yet have never owned one either in their hayday, or afterwards.

    Face it the market is only in it for FAST x86, nobody cares about power. And if they did they want to see it from intel, or AMD.

  • by m4dm4n (888871) <madman@nofrance.info> on Monday July 11, 2005 @08:41AM (#13031932) Homepage
    FTFA: "Transmeta has been aggressively attempting to cut costs ever since it decided earlier this year to get out of the chip manufacturing business and focus instead on processor technologies it can license to other vendors."

    You're probably going to battle to find any chips with the name transmeta on next year. However, many other chips may contain licensed technologies in them that will be bringing revenue into transmeta.
  • I shouldn't be surprised by Slashdot's short institutional memory, but the rteason Transmeta showed a profit was that "it sold off most of its chipmaking business for $15 million to Culturecom Holdings." [business2.com] It's cash flow positive in the same way a family which auctions off all its belongings is cash-flow positive: temporarily.

  • transmeta results (Score:2, Informative)

    by reallynewoldguy (898889) on Monday July 11, 2005 @08:43AM (#13031946)
    The release from transmeta says that cash flow from operations is positive. This means that actually dollars out is higher than actual dollars in because there can dollars going out for non-operational items, such as capital expenses, repayment of loans, etc. The news is good news if you like transmeta because positive operating cash flow is better than negative - but it does not necessarily mean that transmeta can pay all its bills.
  • That's just a tradeoff though as the cost of development for a processor with no ooe or assists is higher.

    In the case of the xbox/ps3 processors you essentially have to "know your timings". Which isn't a bad thing since from a hardware perspective this gets you more bang per gate.

    But to get any sort of high performance out of this the companies are going to have to invest heavily in well optimized libraries to draw from [which is also not a bad thing, but many don't really do this].

    So the net effect of a processor [for a single task like gaming] with no ooe/schedulers/etc is if you don't fight the system you end up writing and designing better code that in the long run can pay off [code reuse == time in your pocket].

    However, the way to high performance isn't always Ghz. If your cpu runs at 2x the clock but takes 4x the cycles ... you're still 2x slower unless you can heavily pipeline all your operations [which isn't always the case and usually isn't].

    Tom
  • I am surprised (Score:3, Informative)

    by mocm (141920) * on Monday July 11, 2005 @08:53AM (#13031993) Homepage
    that people don't think that Transmeta would be able to become pritable. After all, they changed their entire business model. They no longer manufacture CPUs, but have become an IP only company, like e.g. ARM. Additionally they have licensing and support contracts for their LongRun2 technology with NEC, Fujitsu and Sony. And they are working with Sony on the Cell processor. They don't say exactly what they are doing, but half of their engineers are now working for and essentially paid by Sony.
    They also sold their remaining Crusoe and 130nm Efficeon CPUs and technology to a Chinese compny, while still retaining the 90nm Efficeon which will probably be manufactured by the new Fujitsu fab in Mie.
  • Re:Question (Score:3, Informative)

    by interiot (50685) on Monday July 11, 2005 @08:54AM (#13031995) Homepage
    Um... I seem to remember something about efficient processor emulation via dynamic compiling and optimization of hotspots [wikipedia.org]?

    Low power would just be a nice side-effect that would allow the company to remain commercially viable (you got to bring home the bacon. And maybe the lovin'. And the lovin' bacon).

    The real benefit Transmeta brings is that after n years of financial viability and R&D research, they'd start selling CPU's and software that would allow you to change your CPU to emulate other popular instruction sets as well... all on the same hardware.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday July 11, 2005 @09:09AM (#13032068) Journal
    The PS3 / XBox 360 CPUs schedule instructions relatively poorly. This is not a problem for a console - it is a fixed platform and the CPU in it will be the same in a year's time. You can compile a game for the console with a compiler that's explicitly aware of the instruction timings of the deployment chip and it will work correctly on every console because they have the same CPU.

    PCs and workstations are more varied. Every CPU revision can throw your instruction timings off and make your tightly compiled code suddenly much slower.

    The only CPU I am aware of that is taking a similar approach to Transmeta's offerings is Itanium, which has a few quite neat tricks to get around the standard limitations of VLIW. Itanium bundles all instructions which can be executed in parallel together to allow additional execution units to be added later without and still used by existing code. Transmeta use x86 dynamically translate x86 instruction set code to VLIW code on the fly, so the compiler doesn't need to know about the native VLIW instruction set (not very useful, because it still means they need to do all of the things that VLIW is supposed to eliminate - although perhaps they can just do them once and then cache the results).

    Oh, and no one is stripping out branch prediction. With current CPUs, the cost of a branch prediction miss is horrendous (it can be over 200 instructions on a P4, for example), so removing branch prediction would absolutely cripple performance. This is one of the reasons why languages such as Java have high-level syntactic constructs like exceptions - to allow the compiler to provide a hint for the first time past the branch (the exception path is known to be lower probability).

  • by Otter (3800) on Monday July 11, 2005 @09:31AM (#13032203) Journal
    According to the article, this is cash flow from operations, so the revenue from the sales shouldn't be included. (Which, of course, doesn't mean it isn't, somehow.) More likely is that the sale eliminated a lot of red ink that would otherwise have been included in CFO.
  • I *own* one (Score:3, Informative)

    by hung_himself (774451) on Monday July 11, 2005 @10:34AM (#13032733)
    Unlike nearly all the posters here - I actually own something with a transmeta chip in it. My Sharp MM20 laptop is just over 2 pounds and gets 8-9 hours on the battery (real life usage - not just spec sheet) and costs much less than the closest Intel-based competitor by Sony.

    Don't know how the chip itself "specs" but I would recommend the actual end product to anyone who doesn't want to lug a brick and an AC adaptor around all day...
  • by Gogo Dodo (129808) on Monday July 11, 2005 @12:44PM (#13033966)
    Manufacturing processors didn't work out so well, so they went to the ARM model of business: License your IP for other people to use.

    Most of their valuable IP consists of their LongRun2 technology. They have Sony, Fujitsu, and NEC as licensees so far.

    Their Crusoe processor has been sold off to a Chinese company, Culture.com Technology Limited. Not sure what the status is of their Efficeon line, but it's been licensed to Culture.com, too. I imagine that Efficeon is up for sale, too.

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