Transmeta Eyes 64-Bit, Virtualization for Efficeon

Transmeta officials say future enhacements to the Efficeon 2 architecture will include 64-bit extensions and virtualization technology.

SAN JOSE, Calif.—Future enhancements of Transmeta Corp.s Efficeon architecture will include 64-bit extensions and virtualization technology, officials said at In Stat/MDRs Fall Processor Forum here.

Chief Technical Officer Dave Ditzel pointed to the companys 2GHz TM8800, aka the "Efficeon 2" chip, which shipped inside Sharp Electronics Corp.s PC-MP70G notebook for the Japanese market in September.

/zimages/4/28571.gifTo read more about the release of the Efficeon 2 and Transmetas revenue outlook, click here.

Although Transmeta was once the driver of low-power computing technology, the majority of PC notebooks use chips from Intel Corp. To counter this situation, Ditzel said the company will move aggressively on process technology improvements, designing two generations of parts for each generation of a manufacturing process. The new Efficeon 2 will be the first entry on the 90-nm process node, fabricated by Fujitsu Ltd.

Both the TM8800 and the TM8820—a similar chip that is housed in a smaller 21mm-by-21mm package—will be manufactured in speeds from 1.0GHz to over 2.0GHz, and designed to allow the parts to run within a range of thermal envelopes. For example, if the chip consumes less than 7 watts, it can be run without a fan, Ditzel said.

In 2005, Transmeta will disclose its next chip, an unnamed processor with twice the cache, together with a memory bus running three times the speed of the current generation and a processor bus running four times as fast, Ditzel said. The chip will also include an improved microarchitecture that lets it process more instructions per clock cycle, he said.

/zimages/4/28571.gifTransitive Corp. recently unwrapped its "hardware virtualization" technology that allows software written for one processor to run on another platform. Click here to read more.

Future chips will include 64-bit instruction extensions and virtualization technology, which will allow PCs to boot multiple operating systems simultaneously and switch between them on the fly. Intels own virtualization technologies are called "Silvervale" and "Vanderpool," while Advance Micro Devices Inc. has named its own technology "Pacifica."

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