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Linux Journal: "And Crusoe is its Name-O"

Nov 16, 1999, 21:19 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by David Penn)


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"What observers think the new chip can do has been bandied about the Internet for some time now (including our story on Transmeta back in August). In sum, Transmeta's Crusoe chip is said to be based on relatively simple hardware that is capable of very high clock speeds. How so? By using what they call "code morphing software" and a "morph host" to outstrip current processors that use increasingly complex hardware in an attempt to reach ever-faster clock speeds."

"While not for the faint of heart, Transmeta's microprocessor patent (go here to get to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Web site) more or less lays out exactly what the company has done and what the company thinks its new processor can do. An excellent summary of this information appeared at The Register, noting in particular the role of code morphing software in improving processor speed. In a sense, Transmeta's designs are reminiscent of the notion of an intelligent chip that uses special software to help the processor "determine" opportunities for "acceleration enhancement techniques" which the software itself carries out--for example, telling the difference between memory and memory-mapped I/O and addressing problems with exceptions and errors."

"Thus, Transmeta believes it has effectively attacked two of the biggest problems of designing faster than state of the art microprocessors: speed and cost. By using code morphing software, the chip needs less complicated (and thus less expensive) hardware. And, as mentioned above, that same software is responsible for clean-up operations within the chip that allow the processor to operate in a less fettered manner."

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