Transmeta claims anti-virus first with new processor

Transmeta has begun shipping its second generation Efficeon processors, the TM8800 series.

Using 90nm processes and AntiVirusNX technology, Transmeta claims it's the first low-power x86-based processor to provide hardware support for the anti-virus protection enabled by XP's SP2. Note though that Transmeta's products need additional software, dubbed LongRun, to enable compatibility with other x86 chips.

Made by Fujitsu at one of its Japanese fabs, the chips will clock up to 1.6GHz, and Transmeta said it expects to sample 2GHz products by the end of 2004. Chip power consumption for a given clock frequency is greatly reduced on the Efficeon TM8800 processor compared to the prior generation 130nm Efficeon TM8600 processor, said the company.

Transmeta reckons its Efficeon TM8800 processor is optimized for a wide range of computing applications and new types of devices such as notebooks, ultra-personal computers (UPCs), tablets, blade PCs and servers, cluster workstations and fanless media centers.

Systems based on the 90nm Efficeon TM8800 processor will begin shipping this month, starting with a new notebook computer from Sharp and the recently announced Orion Multisystems Cluster Workstation will also use the new 90nm Efficeon TM8800. The company has announced no other OEMs in support of the chip, whose Crusoe launched amid much industry hoo-hah in 2000.

"The 90nm Efficeon TM8800 gives users the computational power needed for today's high performance devices and applications," said Matthew R. Perry, president and CEO at Transmeta. "The high performance, energy-efficient architecture of the Efficeon TM8800 promises to enable exciting new products from our customers."

Sadly, if past performance is anything to go by, there's little sign that the industry is likely do anything other than continue to focus on mainstream, x86-compatible products rather than Transmeta's CPUs.

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Manek Dubash
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