Transmeta unveils 0.13 micron Crusoes

But top-end TM5800 only makes it to 800MHz, not 1gig

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Transmeta launched the latest additions to its Crusoe processor family today, as expected, CTO Dave Ditzel having spilled the beans at various points over the last couple of weeks.

The new chips, the TM5500 and the TM5800, are fabbed at 0.13 micron by the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. That process and a new version, 4.2, of Transmeta's x86-to-native Crusoe code morphing software make for a 20 per cent power consumption reduction, compared to previous Crusoes, the company said.

The 5800 didn't, in the end, make it to 1GHz - Transmeta is offering the part at 800MHz, with 766, 733 and 700MHz parts further down the speed chain. However, the company did promise the 1GHz part in the first half of 2002. That makes us wonder if Transmeta is going to use its next-generation 256-bit architecture to break the gigahertz barrier.

The 5500, meanwhile, will ship in 733, 677 and 600MHz forms. They all contain 128KB of L2 cache - the 5800s have, as expected, 512KB.

Transmeta made much of its partnership with TSMC, going as far as to say that "our confidence in TSMC has allowed Transmeta to convert 100 per cent of production wafer starts to TSMC's 0.13 micron manufacturing lines" (Mark Allen, CEO).

That will be a bit of a blow to its erstwhile preferred chip maker, IBM. If Allen's statement isn't an indication that TSMC has been upgraded from second source to primary supplier, we don't know what is.

Transmeta said the 5800 and 5500 are both available now. It didn't give full pricing, but the 800MHz 5800 costs $198 in batches of 1000. The 667MHz 5500 costs $85 in the same volume. ®

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