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Transmeta Portables Hardware

Transmeta TM8800 And Ultraportable Announced 116

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."
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Transmeta TM8800 And Ultraportable Announced

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  • 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).
  • 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 [] 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.
  • 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?

  • 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 [] 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?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 12, 2004 @03:19PM (#10228896)
    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.
  • Re:Interesting but (Score:4, Interesting)

    by commodoresloat ( 172735 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @03:54PM (#10229074)
    I had linux running on my Sharp Actius 100 about 4 years ago. There was even a driver that worked with the modem, as I recall. Let's see.... yeah, here's the archive of my install experiences [].
  • 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 on Sunday September 12, 2004 @06:18PM (#10230029)
    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...
  • 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 [] 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 [] of the W2, but it's still some-tasty.

    On a side note, some tips for running Linux on the W2:
    - Red Hat []
    - Debian []
    - leog forum []

  • 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.

  • by suranyip ( 25422 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @12:53AM (#10232574)
    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 most of the time.

"This is lemma 1.1. We start a new chapter so the numbers all go back to one." -- Prof. Seager, C&O 351