Transmeta Officially Unveils Efficeon Processor Details

The New Era of Efficiency

by Anton Shilov
10/14/2003 | 03:10 PM

Transmeta Corporation officially proclaimed final technical specifications of its Efficeon TM8000 processor also known as Astro. The company said that is new CPU is a giant leap from the Crusoe chips and represents a quality shift further from performance and power-consumptions points of view. In short, the newcomer is fast, cool and rather inexpensive. All Transmeta needs to do is to find new clients and win tens of designs.


The base specifications of the Efficeon have been around for some time now and today only the final details, such as clock-speeds and cache sizes were announced.

The successor of Crusoe, brings a brand-new 256-bit VLIW architecture that allows the Efficeon chip execute 8 instructions per clock while sustaining unbelievably low power consumption of about 7W. The Efficeon processor 8600 series will have 128KB L1 instruction cache, 64KB data cache and 1MB of L2 cache adding even more performance to the microprocessor. Besides, Transmeta will offer 8620 chip with 512KB L2 for price-conscious customers.

Just like AMD64 as well as some server processors, Transmeta’s Efficeon has integrated memory controller supporting PC2100, PC2700 and PC3200 memory with or without ECC. Additionally, the chip offers a quite unique feature – a built-in AGP 4x controller to grant system integrators even more flexibility.

Transmeta’s new processor in FC-OBGA 783 package utilises the HyperTransport 800MHz bus with 1.60GB/s bandwidth as PSB.

Efficeon features Transmeta's LongRun power and thermal management technology, which continuously adjusts operating frequency and voltage to match application workload.

Initially, Efficeon silicon will be manufactured for Transmeta by TSMC in Taiwan, in TMSC’s 0.13 micron CMOS technology at clock speeds of 1.0GHz, 1.10GHz, 1.20GHz and 1.30GHz. Starting in the second half of 2004, Efficeon silicon will also be manufactured for Transmeta at Fujitsu’s Akiruno Technology Center near Tokyo, Japan, at speeds up to 2.0GHz, using Fujitsu's 90 nm CMOS process.

NVIDIA and ALi are expected to support Transmeta Efficeon with their core-logic products later this quarter.

So far Transmeta has not announced any design wins with its new Efficeon processor and even declined to comment on this matter. In fact, it is very critical task for Transmeta to finally sign some large contracts since being running at a loss throughout its history, the company does not have enough money to develop more advanced chips from architectural point of view.