AMD talking to Transmeta – official

Looking to share technology

AMD president Hector Ruiz has confirmed that Chimpzilla and Transmeta are in co-operation talks aimed at sharing the two companies' chip technologies, including Transmeta's power saving system.

Interviewed by Electronic Buyers' News, Ruiz said AMD's current work on reducing the power requirements of its Athlon and Duron chips should result in processor power consumption of under 3W. AMD wants Transmeta's input to getting that down to 1W.

In return, AMD is offering help getting Transmeta's chip speeds up well beyond their current clock speeds, something that's actually already on the company's roadmap.

Ruiz is undaunted. "Currently the Transmeta Crusoe chip effectively runs at 500 MHz and doesn't offer a complete PC solution. We might be creative and structure a deal that would benefit both companies," he told EBN.

The proposed co-operation appears to centre on chips for the ultra-cheap PC market - under $400 in Ruiz' terms. "We don't have a good feel for this market," he said. "It is so fragmented with various proposed solutions that it's hard to pull our arms around it."

That said, AMD also wants Transmeta's help to develop chips created for handheld Net access devices, according to Ben Anixter, AMD's VP for external relations. Anixter noted AMD's interest in selling Flash memory in this space, but adding a CPU to the mix would allow it to chase this emerging embedded market with vigour.

Of course, that's also what Transmeta wants to do, with its TM3xxx series of chips, so it's hard to see at first sight what the company might get out a deal with AMD other than a new competitor. That said, Transmeta's original business model was based on licensing its designs, and that may plan may not be as dead as previously thought. ®

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