Transmeta shows 1.6GHz Efficeon processor

Transmeta is showing working samples of the latest version of its Efficeon processor at the Computex trade show in Taipei this week.

The 1.6GHz version of the processor is scheduled to ship this July or August and will be followed with the release of at least one faster version of the chip before the end of the year, said Walter Sun, product marketing manager for Transmeta. The company's current fastest Efficeon processor runs at 1.2GHz.

In addition to operating at a higher clock speed, the new chip is also the first manufactured for the company by Fujitsu and using a 90 nanometer production process. The company's current chips are manufactured on a 130 nanometer process by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing.

In making the switch to a 90 nanometer process, Transmeta is following other processor makers including Intel and Advanced Micro Devices, which have also begun offering chips built using similar technology. Each step to a more advanced production process provides engineers a chance to reduce the physical size of the chip or cram more components onto a chip of the same size. It can also help lower power consumption.

A system based on a prototype Efficeon was running at Computex and Transmeta demonstrated the chip's support for Microsoft's NX (No Execute) feature. NX is a security feature that blocks attempts to cause buffer overruns, which are a common way for a virus or worm to infiltrate a computer or cause it to crash.

The company also used the show to demonstrate its LongRun 2 technology, which will be available in 90 nanometer chips later this year. The system is being codeveloped by Transmeta and Japan's NEC Electronics and manages transistor leakage to help reduce power consumption.

Transmeta's presence at Computex is also being used to launch a new push to win customers in China and South Korea. The company announced last week the opening of offices in Shanghai and Sungnam, South Korea, to promote its processors in those markets. Transmeta has been successful in Japan, with several notebook PC makers offering products based on its processors.

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
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