Transmeta grows Crusoe line-up

Three more low-power, x86-compatible CPUs coming soon

Updated Transmeta yesterday unveiled the extension of its Crusoe family of CPUs with three new varities of the low-power, x86-emulatin' chip.

The current Crusoe line-up comprises the 5400, a high clock-speed chip for the Windows notebook market, and the 3200, aimed at portable Internet access devices.

The 5400 is to be joined by the 5600, which will match the 5400's 500-700MHz clock speed range, but will ship with 128KB and 256KB of L1 and L2 cache, respectively, according to CEO Dave Ditzel's speech at PC Expo, as reported by CNET. One or other of them is clearly a little confused - the 5600's spec. matches that of the 5400, as outlined on Transmeta's Web site.

We suspect that the 5600 actually has 512KB of L2 cache, since we note that it also consumes 5-15 per cent less power than the 400, according to Transmeta marketing chief Ed McKernan, "despite having more cache" (and an 88 square mm die). That's down to its 0.18 micron fabrication, done by IBM Microelectronics. The 5400 is a 0.22 micron CPU.

Next year, Transmeta will introduce the 5800, sporting 1MB of L2 cache, and taking the 800MHz-1GHz speed band.
It will also feature the second generation of Transmeta's LongRun power-management technology, which will allow a system to manage the power requirements on an application-by-application basis.

At the other end of the line, comes the 3300 and the 3400, and they too will be fabbed at 0.18 micron. The 3300 increases the existing 3200's L1 cache from 96KB to 128KB. The 3400 does the same - and features a 256KB L2 cache, missing from the 3200 and 3300.

The 3200 was design to operate over a 333-400MHz range. The 3300 will run at 400MHz, and the 3400 at 400-500MHz.

According to Transmeta's gameplan, the 3200 is already shipping in volume, with the 5400 following it by the middle of the year - any day now, in other words. The new chips will probably follow later in the year. Certainly IBM's ThinkPad 240, demonstrated this week at PC Expo, is based on the 5600 running at 600MHz. The notebook isn't due to ship until late 2000, suggesting a timeframe for the 5600's availability. ®

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