Exclusive: Transmeta flirting with AMD and 1GHz Pt II

Transmeta and AMD are both ramping up chip speed to catch up with Intel

Transmeta isn't standing still on the chip front, either. The company began sampling the new TM5600 chip last May.

"The TM5600 is similar to the TM5400, but has an increased Level 2 cache of 512KB [versus the TM5400's 256KB]. The increased Level 2 cache improves the performance and reduces the power consumption of the TM5600 relative to the TM5400. The TM5600 is produced using .18 micron CMOS technology," the S-1 form states.

The TM5600 also boosts clock speeds, according to the documents. The new chip will range from 600MHz to 800MHz, whereas the TM5400 ranged from 500MHz to 700MHz.

But more details from the S-1 filing indicate that Transmeta has no plans to stop at 800MHz. Its TM5800 chip, due in the first half of next year, will hit speeds of 1GHz (1,000MHz).

"As yields improve and customer performance demands increase, we expect to introduce the TM5800 Crusoe microprocessor. We expect that this microprocessor may have increased Level 2 cache of up to 1MB, and use more advanced semiconductor technology, moving to a .13 micron CMOS technology as soon as it is available during 2001," the S-1 form says.

The TM5800 will allow Transmeta to catch up with rival Intel, which will hit 1GHz in the first half of the year with its mobile Pentium III.

AMD should also be at or near 1GHz around the same time. It will begin shipping mobile Athlon chips this autumn. When it comes to the Internet appliance market, Transmeta is moving its TM3000 series chip technology toward lower power and lower cost.

The current TM3200 chip, running at 400MHz, offers a built-in Northbridge, which includes the memory and PCI controller.

"For the TM3300 and TM3400 microprocessor, we have redesigned the parts to move from a .22 micron technology into a .18 micron CMOS technology. We expect these products to be available in the first half of 2001. We expect this technology shrink to improve operating frequency, reduce power consumption and reduce costs," the S-1 form states.

Transmeta officials declined to comment for this story, citing the company's IPO quiet period.

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