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The Intel-compatible processor, which is expected to begin shipping in the second half of next year, will run at speeds up to 1GHz but also stick to Transmeta's goal of low power consumption, David Ditzel, vice chairman and chief technology officer for Transmeta said.
Transmeta is aiming the 0.13-micron Crusoe TM6000 at the gap it sees between low-end reduced instruction set computing (RISC) processors and high-end RISC processors. "There is a huge gap in between those two kinds of chips," Ditzel said. "The x86 processors really get the high-end performance levels at the low end of the cost range."
"It doesn't take much to build a complete system with this device," Ditzel said. The Crusoe TM6000 includes north bridge and south bridge chip sets, which connect the CPU with input/output functions and the front-side bus, as well as a Universal Serial Bus (USB) controller and integrated graphics.
Transmeta designed the Crusoe TM6000 for devices the company calls "embedded convergence devices." These range from routers and set-top boxes to DVD players and high-end print servers, Ditzel said. "A lot of the people who have traditionally been using RISC chips are now looking to move to x86 chips," he added. "Especially in devices where people want to use a lot of existing x86 software, whether Linux or Microsoft Windows."
However, one analyst said the company is entering a highly competitive market.
"It's a crowded area," said Rob Enderle, an analyst with Giga Information Group. "Even in the x86-compatible space it's crowded with National Semiconductor, Via Technologies and even Intel trying for that market."
"There are a lot of folks in that space chasing business, and some of them have better channel relationships than Transmeta," Enderle said. "However, [Transmeta's] approach could provide them with a competitive advantage if they can hit their cost targets," he said. Currently, Transmeta has only said the chip will be priced "competitively."
Transmeta also announced that its delayed 0.13-micron Crusoe TM5800 is expected to ship this quarter and will reach speeds up to 1GHz in the first half of next year. The 0.13-micron manufacturing process should allow Transmeta to make processors that run faster, generate less heat and consume less power than did its earlier 0.18-micron chips.
The Crusoe TM5800 was originally scheduled to ship in June, but earlier this month Transmeta said it had not yet finished testing the chip and testing would be completed this quarter.