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Transmeta announces 1GHz integrated graphics Crusoe 6000

But we're still waiting for the 1GHz 5800...

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Transmeta hasn't got its long-awaited and much-anticipate 1GHz Crusoe TM5800 processor out of the door yet, but it's already announcing its next chip, the TM6000.

Intriguingly, the 6000 is also expected to ship at 1GHz. Transmeta announced the 5800 last summer, but running at 800MHz and not the gigahertz frequency many observers and investors had anticipated, based on promises the company made in the past.

Indeed, so annoyed were some Transmeta shareholders by the 1GHz chip's no-show, they launched class action suits against the company and its management, alleging the chip maker's chiefs had made false promises to talk up the stock price.

At the 5800 launch, Transmeta promised a 1GHz part in the first half of 2002. However, the 6000 is due to ship in the second half of next year, something of a delay if Transmeta skips the 1GHz 5800 for the same-speed 6000. In light of the lawsuits and the promises the company has already made, we'd be surprised if the 1GHz 5800 doesn't make it to market sometime in the first six months of 2002.

But back to the 6000. Full details of the part will be announced this afternoon (California time) at the Microprocessor Forum in San Jose. The Register is there, and will be reporting on the launch in full in due course.

What we can say for now, from pre-launch details 'leaked' to Bloomberg by Transmeta CTO Dave Ditzel is that the part will feature an on-board graphics controller and - we reckon - south-bridge functionality too. Transmeta's CPUs already sport on-die north-bridge technology.

Ditzel claims the 6000 will draw 44 per cent less power than the 5000-series, in part due to better power management but mostly because the part will be fabbed at 0.10 micron (we suspect). The 800MHz 5800 is fabbed at 0.13 micron, but with a higher clock speed, more transistors for extra cache and the graphics controller, we reckon the 6000 will need something more than better power management to produce a 44 per cent reduction on energy consumption.

And the new chip will be fabbed by TSMC, which has been extending (or should that be 'shrinking'?) the envelope on processor fabrication technology for some time. We also wonder if it will be the first part to contain AMD x86-64 technology. Transmeta licensed the instruction set architecture (ISA) last May, and AMD is due to reveal all about the technology today - at the same venue as Transmeta will unveil the 6000. ®

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