Transmeta Corporation – a well known develop of microprocessors with low power consumption – said Wednesday it expects Fujitsu to release first samples of Efficeon processors made using 90nm process in January 2004. The general outlook for the company is still cautious, as the original Efficeon processors are only entering mass production, while the demand for Crusoe chips is lowering amid higher requirements for operation.
“We delivered to Fujitsu Microelectronics the tape-out of our Efficeon TM8000 microprocessor for implementation in its 90nm foundry in November 2003. We expect to receive silicon for testing as early as January 2004. Once we receive and test that first silicon, it is likely that we will determine that modifications will need to be made to address one or more problems identified in the testing process. Although we have anticipated that several revisions will need to be made before production, we cannot be sure that more revisions than anticipated will not be necessary or that we will not encounter more significant problems than expected. Fujitsu Microelectronics has limited experience with the 90nm CMOS process and has not yet manufactured in volume using this process,” Transmeta said.
Transmeta's highly-acclaimed Efficeon processor delivered in mid-October after some delays is a 256-bit VLIW processor that integrates memory and AGP controllers as well as 512KB – 1MB L2 caches depending on its version. It uses special code-morph software to run conventional x86 applications. The 90nm Efficeon processor will sport LongRun2 technology for optimized power consumption and will also increase performance over 0.13 micron predecessor.
“We cannot be sure that Fujitsu Microelectronics’ 90nm foundry will be qualified for production shipments on our planned schedule. For example, during 2001 we experienced yield problems as we migrated our products to smaller geometries, which caused increases in our product costs, delays in product availability and diversion of engineering personnel. If we encounter problems with the manufacture of the Efficeon TM8000 microprocessors using the 90nm process that are more significant or take longer to resolve than we anticipate, our ability to increase our revenue would suffer and we could incur significant expenses,” the Santa Clara, California-based firm added in its recent Form 8K statement.
The company is a bit alarmed with the fact that demand for the Crusoe TM5800 microprocessors from notebook computer manufacturers has declined in that market segment and now the company intends to seek to sell the TM5800 microprocessors into additional markets, such as the thin-client, ultra-personal computer, or UPC, and embedded computer market segments, many of which are only beginning to be developed.
Current design wins for Efficeon include one notebook from Sharp as well as Blade PCs from HP.
Transmeta today also said it has priced the offering of 25 000 000 shares of its common stock at a price to the public of $2.90 per share. Transmeta also granted certain underwriters an option to purchase an additional 3 750 000 shares to cover over-allotments of shares, if any.