After first showing the chip at Novembers Comdex trade show in Las Vegas, Transmeta has officially taken the wraps off its next-generation TM8000 processor, formerly known by the code-name Astro. Transmeta president and CEO Matthew R. Perry said the CPU "will play a key role in the companys future growth." The chip, which is based on a 0.13-micron manufacturing process, is scheduled for production in the third quarter of this year.
The TM8000 is aimed at thin-and-light notebooks, Tablet PCs, servers for small offices, and high-density blade servers. As has been true with Transmetas other processors, including those in the Crusoe TM5000 series, the TM8000 incorporates Code Morphing, Transmetas signature solution for offloading tasks to software that would normally be handled by hardware. The TM8000 also includes Transmetas LongRun power and thermal management technologies. Optimizing power consumption in its chips has been a major Transmeta goal.
The TM8000 is designed to perform up to eight instructions per clock, compared with the more typical four instructions, and the chip has three new bus interfaces: an on-chip 400-MHz HyperTransport bus interface, a Double Date Rate 400 (DDR-400) SDRAM memory interface, and an AGP 4X graphics interface. HyperTransport is primarily aimed at speeding I/O tasks. DDR-400 aims for faster throughput than its predecessor, the DDR-266 memory interface. AGP 4X boosts graphics performance. The TM8000 also has a Low Pin Count (LPC) bus, which lets it communicate with products based on new, high-density LPC Flash memory.
"Transmeta is the first to incorporate a high-performance AGP interface on the processor chip," claims graphics industry analyst Jon Peddie, "which continues the companys innovative strategy of incorporating key chipset functions onto the processor." Tim Bajarin, an analyst of the mobile market and president of Creative Strategies, added that manufacturers evaluating processors for next-generation mobile devices should consider the TM8000.
Sometime before Transmeta begins production of the TM8000, the company will give the chip an official brand name.