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TheNewOS: A Look At Transmeta Crusoe

Feb 11, 2000, 07:15 (6 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by David Pitlyuk)

[ Thanks to dave for this link. ]

"If you own a notebook you have probably dealt with power problems and battery life, they just don't last long enough. Well Transmeta came up with a great product that really fixes this problem. Basically on January 19th they announced a new family of processors called Crusoe. As of now there are two processors, one targeted towards a product you will see in the near future called web pads and mobile clients which are mini-notebooks. The other will be aimed at notebooks and thin+light notebooks such as the Sony VIO...."

"To sum all of this up a Crusoe processor which is specked at 700MHz will not always run at 700MHz. Say for example you have a DVD playing on your computer, but the power needed for that is only 450MHz, why run at 700MHz like a PIII and waste power when you only need 450MHz. That is the logic behind LongRun, it enables the Crusoe processor to adjust its speed and voltage to the speed that is needed. The thing is, it does this quick enough so that you don?t notice any difference. Actually its fast enough to work on a frame by frame basis, so one frame of a movie on DVD your speed will 333MHz while the next will be 500MHz. This is great because you get optimum battery life from your computer as well as optimum performance. Because of its ability to change speeds so quickly you lose no performance."

"A normal x86 processor would have two options, either turn off, or run at full speed. It does the rapidly, but the problem is the processor may shut off at a critical time when it is needed, so it causes a stutter or a frame loss in a DVD movie. In order for a x86 processor to change voltage and speeds like the Crusoe, the computer would have to be restarted and settings changed in the BIOS and on the motherboard. The Crusoe does the dynamically meaning it can change on the fly without having to restart or do anything yourself."

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