Transmeta Corporation has introduced Crusoe, a processor family that is based on a software approach to mobile computing.
In a departure from traditional microprocessor design, Transmeta has made use of software to implement many functions that had previously been implemented in hardware. This approach has given Crusoe both the high performance and low power required for today’s demanding mobile computing environment.
The key to Crusoe’s unique architecture is its Code Morphing software. Code Morphing software surrounds a simple Very Long Instruction Word (VLIW) silicon engine to deliver a fully PC compatible processor. It is this software that provides the compatibility by ‘morphing’ (i.e. translating x86 instructions) to the underlying hardware engine.
Crusoe is a smart processor that ‘learns’ about an application while it runs and uses that experience to greatly extend battery life. Using a new Transmeta invention called LongRun power management, Crusoe continuously adjusts its operating speed and voltage to exactly match the needs of the application workload.
LongRun can make adjustments hundreds of times per second, which can dramatically extend battery life. This is in contrast to other processors that run at a fixed operating speed on batteries, needlessly wasting battery life.
LongRun also provides a solution for today’s multimedia applications that typically drain an ultra-light PC’s battery in as little as an hour. With LongRun, it is possible to design a light-weight mobile PC that plays a DVD movie for three hours or more.
The Crusoe processor family consists of two solutions, the TM5400 and the TM3120, for the Mobile Internet Computing market.
The model TM5400 is targeted at ultra-light mobile PCs running Microsoft Windows and NT operating systems. These PCs will take advantage of the TM5400’s high performance (up to 700MHz) and LongRun power management to create the longest running mobile PCs for office applications, multimedia games and DVD movies.
The TM3120, operating at up to 400MHz, is designed for economical Web pads and mobile clients. With the Crusoe processor and the Mobile Linux operating system, users can expect a complete Internet experience, including access to the full range of plug-in applications. Transmeta provides Mobile Linux assistance to OEMs looking to accelerate their time to market with new mobile Internet devices.
The TM3120, available immediately, is economically priced for Linux-based Web pads and devices selling for $500 to $999. The 333MHz version sells for $65 while the 400MHz version sells for $89.
The TM5400, sampling now, will be offered in a range of performance levels from 500MHz to 700MHz to meet the needs of ultra-light mobile PCs selling for between $1200 and $2500. Transmeta expects that Crusoe-based systems will be available by mid 2000. The 500MHz version will list for $119, while the 700MHz version will list for $329.
On the Web, Transmeta are at www.transmeta.com.