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Transmeta Upgrades Hardware

Transmeta Mini-ITX Board Reviewed 128

NobodyButMe writes " has posted a link to a 'world-exclusive' IBASE MB860 review on This appears to be the first review of a Mini-ITX board built around Transmeta's efficeon technology. Transmeta has also approved this board to be the official reference platform for the TM8600 processor and if you take a look at the benchmark results in the review (page 4) then you'll understand why as VIA's EPIA-M10K board looks quite pale in comparison. The review also adresses issues such as power consumption, temperatures and thermal throttling - three very interesting points when looking at the Efficeon processors. If the MB860 weren't so expensive (~500$ or something as it's aimed at the 'industrial market') then this could easily beat the EPIA boards (IMHO)."
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Transmeta Mini-ITX Board Reviewed

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  • by erikharrison ( 633719 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @06:45PM (#10626089)
    I always liked Transmeta. But multiple looks at their processors always seemed to show that while they were outclassing the Eden chips from Via in terms of performance, the power/heat to perf ratio always seemed to be targeting a market that I wasn't sure existed.

    ARM has the bottom end (watches) and in the x86 space Via controls the low and AMD and Intel battle it out for middle and high (laptops and desktops). Transmeta processoes only seem to win in the palmtop arena, and even then Via is a strong contender.

    Anyone here considering using Transmeta in a hobby or production box? And why them and not someone else?
  • Crunched (Score:4, Interesting)

    by chill ( 34294 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @06:46PM (#10626098) Journal
    I can't get to the article, so for those that have read it...

    Do those M10K-paling numbers include AES-crypto? How about MPEG-2/4 encoding/decoding? The VIA boards have dedicated hardware for this stuff that offloads from the CPU and really ramps up nicely.

    Or are they comparing such useful measures as SPECmarks, GFlops, and other meaningless drivel?

  • by Sheetrock ( 152993 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @06:47PM (#10626109) Homepage Journal
    I've been working on a three week RMA where I had to hunt for contacts for an hour, spend a couple of hours filling out a support request only to get a form letter back, make three toll calls before reaching someone because the office hours were wrong on the contact page as well as their phone menu system, make another after a half-hour on hold to get the RMA, pay freight one-way then wait a couple of weeks for a board that may or may not work.

    Better to pay twice as much to get something that works right in the first place than to go through the above (where you'll be buying a second board to use during the RMA anyway). Even if you had to run GNU/Linux on it, you'd still be ahead of the game for office applications.

  • Cheap EPIA boards? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TeckWrek ( 220789 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @06:49PM (#10626127)
    Does someone know where to buy Via EPIA boards for cheap? I've read that they are available in volume for $45 for the new M10000, but I can't find any $160 retail.

    What gives?
  • Question.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by XST1 ( 824817 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @06:50PM (#10626142)
    If the MB860 weren't so expensive (~500$ or something as it's aimed at the 'industrial market')

    Maybe im wrong but don't industrial type market businesses usually purchase big powerful industrial type computers to process their work?

    What exactly are industrial businesses doing with these boards?

    I can only see this item being sold on the consumer market.

  • by Cheetahfeathers ( 93473 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @08:11PM (#10626780)
    Who in their right mind? People who use their desktop to IM, web, email, word processing, etc. Light basic work. About everyone in most any office. Low power and quiet opperation makes it perfect for this type of task.

    Desktop does not only mean super fast 3d gaming system.
  • by ventivent ( 416035 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @08:30PM (#10626970)
    Here's an interesting article on Van's Hardware about the Efficeon's thermal throttling properties. Apparently it's even slower than you think. 7_efficeonFreeze/040517_efficeonFreeze.htm []
  • Re:Crunched (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @12:04AM (#10628329)
    AES loopback encrypted filesystem, at faster speeds than even P4's can do. That's the only thing I can think of right now, but I'm not heavily into crypto, but AES is common enough there's bound to be other uses.
    The video stuff could be useful for watching DVDs without overloading the cpu? Well in any case there's not much room in mini-itx cases to put fat-ass video cards, so it's nice to have stuff like that on the mobo. Not to mention those fat-ass video cards suck mucho power and one of the things about mini-itx is trying avoid that. That and less noise too (some of those boards don't even have a cpu fan).
  • Industrial market? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by xtal ( 49134 ) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @01:27AM (#10628636)
    Industrial market is already well served by ARM (Xscale et al.), PPC, Pentium M, Geode, VIA, and many others. All are well supported, fast, and low power.

    We looked at transmeta as a platform in-house for a product, but there don't seem to be enough (any?) advantages to the product to justify the additional cost or technical risk over a more traditional and proven processor line.

    I'm not sure what transmeta's strategy is go-forward, but they need to come up with something. Seen many transmeta powered PDAs out there? Cell phones?

I came, I saw, I deleted all your files.