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Transmeta works on low-power superchip

Executives from Transmeta, a company that specialises in designing low-power microprocessors, has outlined plans for a 256-bit microprocessor.

The chip, called the TM8000, will offer significant advantages over the existing TM5x00 line of chips, said David Ditzel, chief technology officer of Transmeta.

With the processor, Transmeta will switch to a 256-bit VLIW (very long instruction word) that will allow the computer to carry out twice as many instructions in one clock cycle as existing processors. Energy efficiency will be boosted by 47% and performance will be between two and 3.5 times better.

Transmeta has not made any announcements about the chip's availability, but it is understood that the company would target Japan where notebook computer sales are poised to overtake desktop PC sales.

The company's chips can be found in Toshiba's Libretto, Fujitsu's Lifebook and Sony's Vaio. Hitachi, Sharp and Casio also have Transmeta-based notebooks and NEC has put a Transmeta processor in a desktop machine.

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