Transmeta strikes .13 micron notebook stroke

IBM helps pull power rabbit out of hat

Transmeta is likely to be first to the market with .13 micron technology available in notebooks, although sources familiar with the firm's plans have said that it is now likely to be the second half of next year before Crusoe products are widely avilable.

Earlier this year, the firm was telling Taiwanese notebook manufacturers that a TM5800 1GHz processor was likely around the end of the year, as reported here.

The TM5800 family will scale to 1GHz and include between 512KB and 1MB of second level cache as standard in a 360-pin package measuring a mere 25 square mm.

The highest voltage level for such parts is set to be 1.2V and use IBM SOI technology, the sources claimed. These parts are likely to use 200MHz front side buses as well as double data rate (DDR) memories.

But Transmeta, before then, will intro low-cost chips running at 533MHz with 256KB L2 cache and using bus speeds of 133MHz. Those parts are now close to sampling, sources said.

These earlier TM5400 parts will help the secretive Transmeta avoid charges that its earliest silicon is being priced too high for it to stake its claim in the market.

Sources even predict that by 2002 we will see a new generation of Transmeta devices running at 1.4GHz. This project, which apparently is code named "Astro", will include a high speed bus, with AGP on the North Bridge and reduce power consumption to 0.5W.

Cache sizes could be as much as 2MB for L2, and also include 128KB of L1 cache.

Both AMD and Intel are also racing to pull .13 micron notebooks parts out of the labs and fabs and into marketable cases. ®

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