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Transmeta

AMD Allies with Transmeta 126

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the now-this-cracks-me-up dept.
respect sent us an article about AMD aligning with Transmeta, which isn't that surprising since everybody who is not Intel should be busying aligning with anyone who is also not Intel. My favorite quote "The industry has been gradually moving toward a 64-bit architecture [From 32 Bits], which multiplies the amount of data the processor can access by four". Rock on CNN!
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AMD Allies with Transmeda

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  • They're talking about 64 bit in the x86 architecture. This has not been done. As PowerPC's are a different arcitecture you can't compare them just by saying one has more bits / more mhz. If you want to be at least vaguely accurate, multiply the frequency by the instruction size at least then your dealing with bits processed over time. Bottom line is benchmarks anyway - the PS2 IS a 128 bit proccessor - which is why its competitive with Ghz 32 bit cpus while only running at 300ish mhz.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    So are we going to wind up with a laptop processor that gets really hot or a desktop processor that needs software upgrades?
  • The obvious reason is Itanium compatiblity. AMD has a 64 bit processor that's likely much faster than Intel's 64 bit offering, but still doesn't have the market clout to push it's own instruction set. Transmeta has a hardware/software combination that can emulate other processors reasonably well.

    Put the two together and you get a 64 bit processor that runs 32 bit apps and AMD 64 bit apps faster than Itanium, and might even be able to emulate the Itanium with decent results.

  • IIRC, the plan is to have x86 emulation code to run old x86 apps, but on the software level. AMD's "strategic alliance" with Transmeta probably has more to do with x86 emulation on their 64 bit processor line than anything else... Transmeta does have some cool patents on hardware recompilers (or something like that)
  • uhhh... yeah. That would make sense. It's the IA-64 that doesn't... sorry. brain fart.
  • Linus who? Don't try to tell me that Transmeta has a Peanuts character working for them, because I won't believe it. My mother told me that cartoons were imaginary.

    Oh, Linus Torvalds! Yeah, I suppose he's sort of famous too.

  • The industry has been gradually moving toward a 64-bit architecture [From 32 Bits], which multiplies the amount of data the processor can access by four". Rock on CNN!

    Normally, I don't point out the journalistic errors of Slashdot, but I can't help myself here. At least CNN knows how to spell Transmeta without the D.

    He who lives in glass houses should not throw stones, Taco.
  • Well, it looks like Slashdot corrected their error, which is nice to see. Normally, though, the journalistic standard is to issue a correction highlighting the mistake and apologizing, not just fixing. Normally, the editors do that (with an Update: section or something), but now, those of us who noticed it and pointed it out just look like jackasses.

    Oh well.
  • by slothbait (2922) on Friday May 25, 2001 @06:20AM (#199033)
    First of all, AMD isn't making a fuss about this. Slashdot is making a fuss. AMD just made an announcement, and anyone who follows knows that they make several such announcements a week.

    But the reason that teaming up with Transmeta is appealing is that Transmeta can offer them a processor that acts like a Sledgehammer well before they have silicon for the part. Software simulation of modern microprocessors is ridiculously slow, particularly when you are upping the word length from 32 to 64. However, writing a code-morphing layer on top of Transmeta's chips means that they can have a near-native speed chip before the design is even finished.

    Being able to run tests at near-native speed, pre-silicon means that AMD can overlap software development with the hardware development, which could buy them months of development time. In this business, time to market is of overriding importance. And a shorter time to market is what AMD wants out of this alliance with Transmeta.

    --Lenny
  • You forget that I was criticizing the statement, not necessarily the story at hand.

    Well I did start off on that topic, agreeing that slashdot appears inconsistant, and then saying maybe in this case it isn't really. Then I wondered off and commented about the story, and then couldn't resist poking fun at the iTanic, and how utterly lame the x86-64'x REX prefix is.

    Are you daft?

    A bit, yes. Couldn't you tell?

    Can't we get back onto topic though? When is AMD going to do something about those orbital mind control lasers?

  • So - that means there are basically two competitors for x86 chips. That means that basically this move HAS consolidated the market, and that their less competition, and therefore less innovation, and more harm could and will be done to the consumer.

    Has transmeta licensing a new CPU (or peripherals) bus reduced competition? Or has it increased it slightly because now you could more easily swap out the two CPUs? (or maybe just use the same high speed peripherals)

    Has transmeta licensing the x86-64 instruction set reduced competition, or does it give you a second source for CPUs that can run 64bit x86 code?

  • Good point, BUT it does it reduce the likely hood that Transmeta would independently implement x86-64, doesnt it?

    I don't think so. The way AMD implements x86-64 isn't low power. As far as I know it isn't working either (not as in it is behind schedule, but as in it hasn't taped out). Transmeta last year got (as far as I know) one of their existing CPUs to implement the x86-64 instruction set so AMD could start working on system level code (reference system BIOSes, and one hopes GCC, and open source OSes).

    As far as I know transmeta has only licensed the x86-64 instruction set (and I would assume any applicable patents). I could be wrong, since the article doesn't say one way or the other. I'm guessing because doing it the other way would make transmeta a 2nd source for the x86-64, and there would have been a press release about that.

  • by stripes (3681) on Friday May 25, 2001 @05:32AM (#199037) Homepage Journal
    I don't know about you, but from what I've seen in every other instance, Slashdot vehemently opposes industry consolidation and mergers (witness AOL/TW and MS). I guess less competition is only bad when you don't like the company.

    Well SlashDot is pretty inconsistent (for example the far greater the normal number of Patent defenders for TiVo -- I love the product, but I still don't like the patent system).

    However this may not be all that inconsistent. The AOL/TW merger was arguably the biggest dial-up ISP merging with a very large media conglomerate. Microsoft and anyone is the biggest software company plus, well, a little bug :-) In this case it is the second biggest x86 CPU seller (AMD has what, 30% of the market?) plus one of the smallest (I would guess less then 1%).

    Plus this isn't even a merger, it is just "we will license an instruction set and bus". Nobody bitched when the PCI bus was wildly adopted (nobody I noticed at least), but slashdot wasn't around then. Nobody seemed to bitch when the clones adopted MMX either...

    Now I think x86-64 is a huge kludge. Maybe not as bad as the iTanic, but pretty grimly crufty. I would much rather see a migration to the Alpha, or SPARC, but that doesn't seem likely. Transmets's adoption makes it more likely that x86-64 will take off, which isn't something I'm thrilled by. Unless the only other choice is really the IA64.

    Who really wants an instruction prefix to switch 64bitness on and off and select a register bank for each instruction? Well not a register bank, one for the source and another for the dest. Feh.

  • No, it's new XML addressing. The four new 4Gig banks are addressed by putting the ascii strings "zero", "one", "two", and "thre" into the top 4 bytes. MicroSoft and Intel engineers patented the new spelling of 3 that allows them to save 8 bits per address!
  • So do it next year on May 11th - although that's a Saturday, so make sure you walk round town with it, or maybe shift it back to 10th. When is his birthday?
  • Admit it, you're just bitter because you can't have a beowulf cluster of those.

    --

  • by IntlHarvester (11985) on Friday May 25, 2001 @08:03AM (#199041) Journal
    The *real* problem is that there is only ONE independant implementation of Intel's IA32 architecture, and it's Transmeta's.

    Yes, believe it or not, AMD is a licencee of Intel technology, and therefore the Athlon is somewhat dependant on Intel's goodwill.* Fortunately for them, Intel has a large number of contracts (government and otherwise) which require multiple sources for their tech.

    Now, if Intel decides to be a bad boy and pulls AMD's x86 licence, Transmeta's IP portfolio starts to become very helpful. Namely, AMD will be able to stay in business.

    *Source: AMD quartery report:

    RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
    On May 4, 2001, we, along with Intel Corporation, announced the renewal of the
    patent cross-license agreement between the companies.

    --
  • by theyman (13931) on Friday May 25, 2001 @05:17AM (#199042) Homepage
    ...at El Reg [theregister.co.uk]
  • AMD has no inroads into the portable/notebook market. Its processors are bad fits for small, light, battery-powered machines because they burn a lot of power and they're big. The new mobile Athlon 4 announced about two Mondays ago, like the Thunderbird, fits on a much larger die than the mobile Pentium processors, and so requires a larger mainboard and will be incompatible with ultraslim notebooks and the like. Transmeta's processors, on the other hand, are smaller and incorporate their own north bridge, so they fit on much smaller PCBs. And we all know about Crusoe's power efficiency.

    I agree that Transmeta's success is largely because of the hype (due in no small part to the buzz surrounding everything Linus touches), but I think this is an interesting move on AMD's part to further undercut Intel's dominance in the market. AMD has already made processors (Athlon) that are faster than the Pentium line, and much, much cheaper. I forsee a near future (until new applications start really exploiting the P4's netburst architecture, anyway) in which the P4 has nothing on AMD's chips except name recognition, and slightly better benchmarks in Quake III.

    If this were chess, I'd rate AMD's move "!?"...
  • I recall an older Slashdot article [slashdot.org] that mentioned that Transmeta was working on adding AMD's 64-bit instructions to their code morphing, and that they'd be helping AMD test software, as AMD's processor simulator was very slow.

    --
  • everybody who is not Intel should be busying aligning with anyone who is also not Intel.

    Hmmm... When I read that statement, it seemed like a rather ludicrous point of view, so I read it as sarcasm, and it made a lot more sense.

  • Oh well, I guess the enemy of my enemy is my friend. That one always works. Just look how it's helped the U.S. Gov't in the last half a century.

    Sounds like you are trying to be sarcastic here. But you probably wouldn't be here if the Allies didn't form against a common enemy. About the only thing we had in common with Russia is a hatred of Hitler and Germans. Without Russia, it is very questionable if we would have won the war. Not tring to imply that carries over to AMD and Transmeta though. And yes, that is slightly more than a half century ago.
  • Next time folks should read the article before flaming CNN.

    The CNN article originally said "multiplies... by four", not "four billion". They fixed it some time after the story was posted (kinda like how Taco fixed "Transmeda". If you want confirmation of this, an earlier poster has put up the text of the article, and it still contains the error. Generally, with typos in online articles, journalists just quietly fix the error. Retratctions and apologies are saved for serious mistakes. While "four" versus "four billion" may seem serious, nobody who would actually be basing important decisions on the article would be confused by that, and it's apparent to any knowledgable person that it's a typo.
  • At least CNN knows how to spell Transmeta without the D.

    Given the choice between technical accuracy (I daresay clue) and typos... well, I read /. , not CNN. 'Nuf said.
  • Fortunately, there was a little company called NexGen. Simply put, they devised a way to hook up an instruction translator to a RISC core. I bought one of those motherboards in 1993 and it works well to this day - using Linux, of course. AMD bought the company and used the technology to to develop the K5 and the K6 series processors. I don't remember NexGen making a lot of money, either, but then they weren't public for very long before AMD bought them out. AMD had the brand name recognition as well as the funding to push the new technology.

    The concept of hooking an instruction translator to a RISC core wasn't just a NexGen idea. The concept was well into development. The original AMD K5 was going to be an x86 front-end to an updated AMD29000 arch. Everyone, except Cyrix, had shown that their designs for their next generation processors were going to be designed this way. The whole concept is really just a nice name for opcode to microop decoding in hardware, which was the original design point for CISC processors. A decoder sitting in front of a microop engine. RISC processors on the other hand were just suppose to export the 'microop' engine to software and let it solve all the nasty problems.

    As far as NexGen's failures, these have been traditionally due to the mistake that nexgen decided to come out with a proprietary bus and processor interface. Everyone else at the time was sticking to designs that allowed them to be plugin compatible with intel processors. You could just pull out your intel 8086,286,386 or 486 processor/crystal and replace it with a clone processor from the same family. Then nexgen comes along with a processor that ran 33% better at the same clock rate than the Pentium but required a new motherboard that was incompatible with the rest of the market. This is effectively what killed them at the time. Everyone else just had to worry about working with the intel standard interface, once they did that, it opened up a huge market of 3rd party chipsets they could use. Nexgen had to design and produce in volume not only the processor but the motherboard. This was a big hurtle for them. So when AMD kept having problems with their K5 and it looked like they weren't going to have a product to compete with everyone else's, they bought the NexGen development team, massaged the NexGen 586 into the K5 which was compatible with the standard 486! (I seem to remember) socket and lost a whole crap load of performance doing it. It bought them the time to bring the K6 to market though.


    Oh, and that game of catchup to Intel? Well that was caused by the huge lawsuit between Intel and AMD that dragged on for years. Intel didn't directly get what they wanted (which if I remember right was a complete halt of AMD x86 processor production) but they did slow AMD way down. AMD went from the company that was messing up Intel's processor speed releases to the company that was always playing catch-up. Ah, the fond memories of my AMD 286-20 kicking the crap out of a friends Intel 386DX-12 (or maybe it was a DX-16).


  • Next time folks should read the article before flaming CNN.
    I don't suppose it occurred to you that it did say "four" when we all read it?
    --
  • X86-64 does not support 64 bit addresses by any measure - I'm not quite sure why people are going around claiming that it does.


    Does IA-64 support 64-bit addresses? Perhaps people were thinking of that.
    --
  • Amen.
    --
  • I have nothing against Intel, but I really don't care for thier monopoly on desktop computer processors.
    Where have you been? According to the computer store [canadacomputers.com] I go to, Athlons are outselling P4s by a factor of 100. The Intel monopoly has vanished.
    --
  • Even with your own math, your conclusion is wrong. (Get a calculator and punch in the numbers.) Plus, x86s are byte-addressable, so no, it wouldn't "figure that 64 Bit processors would accesss data in 8 byte increments".
    --
  • (Submitted to CNN's feedback address. There has been much debate here over this math, so I thought I should post it here too.)

    Dear CNN,

    I'm sure someone has told you this already, but in an article on Transmeta and AMD, you said this:

    "Current 32-bit processors can address 4 gigabytes of data. The industry has been gradually moving toward a 64-bit architecture, which multiplies the amount of data the processor can access by four."

    Actually, it multiplies the amount of data the processor can access by four BILLION.

    Every byte of data has an "address" which is represented by a certain bit pattern, and every bit in that pattern can be on or off. If you have one bit, you only have two possible states, hence two possible addresses, hence you can only access two bytes of data. However, if you have two bits, you have four possible states (off&off, off&on, on&off, on&on), so you can access four bytes of data.

    With 32 bits, you have 4.3 billion possible states, so you can access 4 gigabytes of data. With 64 bits, you can access 17 billion gigabytes (which is 16 exabytes).
    --
  • by Tackhead (54550) on Friday May 25, 2001 @06:33AM (#199056)
    > I would dare say that Slashdot is worse than CNN in that most of the people here appear to know what they're talking about, but in the vast majority of cases, they don't.

    The reason I rely on /. for news more than CNN is because on Slashdot, when a poster fucks up, they get flamed for it, and the truth comes out. Every reader sees what the mistake was, and what the correction is.

    To the great unwashed, the talking heads on CNN also "appear" to know what they're talking about, and in the vast majority of cases (we know damn well) they don't. When CNN's talking heads fuck up, the great unwashed never finds out what the truth was.

    I'll take /. over CNN any day.

  • Since IA32 can address 36bit addresses and IA64 can address 40bit addresses.

    Johan V.
  • Against Intel's market share and marketing engine (such as the Intel Inside campaign), AMD is doing the prudent thing by forging strategic alliances, rather than waiting for the computing public to recognize them as a superior provider.

    When AMD produces a superior product, they will be recognized by the market. Today they don't have that claim. You can't walk into a Circuit City these days without seeing that a plurality of the processors for off-the-shelf machines are AMD, so IMHO Intel's vaunted monopoly is a bust top hat. AMD runs in second place because it actually lags behind Intel in several key spots.

    (Disclaimer: I run a .9Ghz Athlon at home and love it - I have never had better performance from a machine)

    The fact is that AMD has beaten Intel only in two spaces: price/performance, and mindshare among the tech savvy. Apart from those advantages, there are still numerous failing in their product line:

    1) Power consumption. They've kept themselves well out of the laptop and server farm market by eating power like a pig and blowing it in the form of heat. I have heard that AMD is reducing power in their Clawhammer chips though.

    2) No non-vapor multiproc motherboards for the Athlon. Granted this is not really their fault, although I have heard that the Althon has a hard time achieving greater than 2-way SMP. Anyway, you can't enter the lucrative server market until you can at least support 2-way on a range of platforms and in reality you aren't viable until you have support for at least 8-way. Looking forward to the day when motherboard makers open their eyes to this opportunity.

    3) Incompatibilities with gaming hardware. If you aren't in the server business you'd better be in the home user market and nothing uses a CPU like games. Once again this isn't exactly their fault, but at least in my case several pieces of my hardware had to have their drivers patched up before they would work with AMD and I even briefly had to crank down my AGP to 2x instead of 4x in order to prevent my games from freezing. All of these problems can be solved (enough other people have noticed them to have populated with web with helpful tips) but this is not the way to earn the trust of home users. The worst part is, it was most likely the makers of the other hardware items that failed to perform adequate QA, but fingerpointing never fixed a box.

    4) Brand name. Where are the AMD ads to counterpoise the Intel blue guys? This company, despite its great product line, doesn't seem to have any message for ordinary consumers beyond "We're almost the same as Intel!" If you read through the last two problems above, you might agree with me that brand recognition is the root of both. So why don't they do something about it?

    There are lots of advantages to buying AMD, but equally strong disadvantages at the present time. For certain applications AMD is the way to go. For others, regrettably the best choice is Intel.

    -konstant
    Yes! We are all individuals! I'm not!
  • I am absolutely thrilled to see companies agreeing on standard technology. I never want to by another VESA local bus machine...

    Competition is good. So are standards, and the fewer of them out there the better.
  • Not true. Even thought I'm not from germany (I'm swiss), but I speak german, and Transmeda and Transmeta isn't pronounced the same.
  • actually, CNN changed the article after it was published.

    so the real question is, does CNN read /.

    ?

    scary.
  • Er, um, the "amount of data you can access" is the total amount of addressable memory, that is, not the total number of memory addresses but the total number of addressable bits. Since the word length changes to 64, you've gone from (2^32)*32 addressable bits on a 32-bit machine to (2^64)*64 bits on a theoretically maxed out 64 bit machine (may I live to see the day).

    To follow this to it's 100% anal conclusion,

    (2^64)/(2^32) = 4294967296.
    ((2^64)*64)/((2^32)*32) = 8589934592.

    So technically, CNN was wrong by a factor of
    (8589934592 - 4) or 8589934588 times. Their percent error can be calculated as (8589934588/8589934592) or 99.99999995343387126922607421875% (ok, yes, I rounded).

    In short, CNN was nearly 100% wrong.
    But you already knew that, right?
  • It's not strictly true that x86's are limited to 32bits of addressable memory. With VM and segment selectors (which I personally diplore) you can achieve a much higher number (don't remember if it was 36, 42, 46 bits or what). I'm not sure, but I was also under the impression that more than 32 address pins were available from the CPU.. Can someone confirm or refute this? (I'm too lazy to look it up).

    With this, a sufficiently designed database / scientific app could handle very large memory/ disk mappings without too much difficulty.

    Of course, things get a lot easier when all the data is 64 bits. It's kind of like the comparison of the old 8086 with 16bit segment selectors which could address 20bits of memory. It was done, but it wasn't pretty, plus each contiguous block was limited in size.

    -Michael
  • For once a company would rather actually disseminate technology rather than control it by charging outrageous royalties. Cough, cough, RAMBUS, cough, cough! Kudos AMD.
  • by mach-5 (73873) on Friday May 25, 2001 @07:15AM (#199065) Homepage
    ...Hypertransport is going to be an awesome technology when it hits the mainstream. And with little or no royalties, it should hit the mainstream pretty fast.
  • by selectspec (74651) on Friday May 25, 2001 @09:03AM (#199066)
    Whats interesting here is perhaps the biggest issue surrounding the computer: I/O. Intel, Sun, HP, Compaq, plus few dozen others are pushing Infiniband. However, AMD is pushing HyperTransport. Hypertrans seems like more of a local I/O solution (replacement for PCI-X), while Infiniband is more of a remote I/O replacement (or competator) to Ethernet. What are other peoples read on this issue?
  • Um..please forgive me, but you are stupid.

    2^64 / 2^62 would be 4.

    2^64 / 2^32 = 2 ^32 = 4,294,967,296.

    Hardly 4.
  • AMD reportedly has been offering "practically free" licenses to companies willing to adopt its standards. And while he would not provide the specific financial terms of its deal with Transmeta, AMD's Weber said the licensing fees at this point are not important.

    "We see this is as a strategic deal, not a revenue deal," Weber said.

    Translation: "We ain't getting much cash for this here deal."

    But, believe it or not, I think that's the right move in this case. AMD realizes that revenue generating partnerships at this stage of the game isn't what's important -- AMD is not going to win by taking a few extra dollars here and there. AMD is going to win by taking market share and growing its brand.

    I do fear, however, that we're going to see another Cyrix 486 problem (i.e. the rumors of "slightly different x86 architecture, not quite compatible with Intel/Windows, not gonna buy it.")

  • You forgot:
    • Rampability. The pentium 4 is expected to reach 4Ghz, possibly 5Ghz by the end of 2002.
    • Volume. Currently, AMD only has 2 fabs. The one in Austin is currently only producing Durons, and AMD is planning to turn it into a flash memory only fab. (Of course with .13 micron and below you get more volume for the same wafer capacity.).
    My estimate for the future: AMD will be the performance chip of choice for gamers and low-end server manufacturers. AMD will increase rampability with the Hammer line, due to stretching out the pipeline and other tweaks. The X86-64 instruction set is a great strategic move. It will give 64bits addressable, and double the number of registers, not to mention getting rid of some nasty ia32 quirks when in x86-64 mode.
  • See how many traders react the same way to [news that is 5 months old]!? Seriously, anyone who knows ANYTHING about AMD or Transmeta or would care enough to invest their money in either one would have heard about this long ago. Sheesh.
  • No, x86-64 runs x86 code just fine and dandy, natively.
  • Well I can see a few reasons we might want the Intel alternatives to group together. The biggest beign AMD by itself is less than 1% the size of Intel right now... The manage alot for their size, but as the slow adoption (& later abandonment) of 3dnow! that money still rules the world & intel has alot of it... More than any other competitor by far...
  • Where do you get that 8 and 4 byte increments from? The smallest data size is still one single byte(right? now I'm starting to doubt my self) no matter how many bits the processor is.

    2^32 = 4.294.967.296 adressable bytes (or 4Gb)
    2^64 = 1.844674407e+19 adressable bytes. (dunno, a lot :)

    Ye see.. the adressable range just doubles with each new bit.

  • Sure pick on cnn for not understanding the technology. They should really pay more attention to their stories. By the way, which is it transmeda or transmeta? Where's an editor when you need one...
  • Actually this is not strictly true.

    Although a 64 bit processor has 2^32 times more virtual address space than a 32 bit processor, x86-64 is not a 64 bit architecture, and IA-32 is not a 32 bit architecture.

    X86-64's linear addresses are 48 bits (not 64 bits), and its physical addresses are 40 bits (again, not 64 bits), and IA-32's linear addresses are 32 bits, and its physical addresses are 36 bits.

    So in reality, X86-64 can address 2^16 (65,536) times more virtual space than IA-32, and 2^4 (16) times more physical space than IA-32. Both are a far cry from 4 billion (or 4, for that matter).
  • Not only does IA-32 give you MORE than 32 bits of address space, but X86-64 gives you LESS than 64 bits of address space.

    In IA-32, physical addresses are 36 bit, and linear addresses are 32 bit.

    In X86-64, physical addresses are 40 bit, and linear addresses are 48 bit. X86-64 does not support 64 bit addresses by any measure - I'm not quite sure why people are going around claiming that it does.
  • If this were chess, I'd rate AMD's move "!?"...

    I think this might even deserve a "!!"

    Rich...

  • ...everybody who is not Intel should be busying aligning with anyone who is also not Intel.

    Is polarisation always in everyone's best interests? Let's suppose we have one Big And Scary player in a field, and lots of little guys. The little guys decide to band together in order to be a match for Big And Scary, and what have we got? Two big and scary players instead of one, and a lot less diversity of choice. (Think of how often you've heard people say that Gnome [gnome.org] and KDE [kde.org] should unify, because if they combined efforts they'd be able to be a strong contender against Windows: an attempt to increase consumer choice by killing off diversity.)

    And I know "aligning" with someone, as Transmeta are doing with AMD, doesn't make you exactly the same as them. And I'm not saying standards are evil. I'm just saying that "them and us" thinking leads nowhere but multiple "them"s.


    my plan [gospelcom.net]
  • I was debating on whether my laptop would have an Athlon 4 or crusoe chip when i got it. Now I'm not sure what the difference will be by the time i order it.

    /me also wonders if this means Linus will get paid to improve athlon support =)
  • 32 bits == 4 bytes, 64 bits == 8 bytes. Increase by 4 bytes. while bytes != times, cnn != programmers. ;p
  • The industry has been gradually moving toward a 64-bit architecture, which multiplies the amount of data the processor can access by four billion.

    Is what I read in the article. Now either they fixed their error, or someone didn't read the article very well...

    Rock on CNN, indeed :-)

  • Could you give the math to support that claim? unless I forgot everything I learned (2^64)/(2^32) = (2^32), which isn't 4.
    ----------
  • AMD's down $0.03 on a basis of $31.95 (which is to say, essentially dead even) as of 12:50 eastern time. It was up early this morning, breifly, but spent most of the day down about $0.40.

    Transmeta, on the other hand, was up $0.75 on a basis of $14.10 at the open, from after hours trading. Since then, it fell steadily throughout the morning, but turned around at 10:30, and has since climbed back to $14.64, down $0.25 from the open, but up $0.50 from the previous day's close.

    Isn't working for a brokerage firm fun? Disclaimer, for anyone who may be monitoring text transmittal: all quotes are delayed at least 20 minutes, and are approximate. This post is not intended as investment advice, and anyone who uses the information contained herein for any purpose is an idiot.
    The only "intuitive" interface is the nipple. After that, it's all learned.

  • Where's an editor when you need one...

    Don't you mean edidor?
  • by istartedi (132515) on Friday May 25, 2001 @05:17AM (#199085) Journal

    From an analyst by way of CBS Market Watch [marketwatch.com]

    Brian Alger, an analyst at Pacific Growth Equities, said the licensing deals will attract attention, but may not amount to much. "People are going to see Transmeta and AMD working together against Intel (INTC: news, msgs, alerts) ," he said. "That's a nice perception, but it's not real. They're not going in side-by-side with their sales force saying 'Don't buy Intel, buy one of our two."'

    This makes it sound like Slashdot "took the bait". The market opens in 10 minutes. Let's see how many traders react the same way.

  • "...which multiplies the amount of data the processor can access by four billion."

    Or did I miss something?

  • Well, what you say is true, but I think he (ajs) was talking about the /. editors (Taco et all) and not the comment posters.

    I agree completely that there is a _big_ difference between what CNN offers (perfect grammar and spelling, but not clue one) and what we have on /. (terrible "word-smithing" but they pretty much get it).

    I'll laugh at CNN for their deficiencies and happily take /. with all the typos, thank you.

    ---

  • Hey, they could have said that it doubles the amount of data! Sorry, but it is too much to expect the mainstream media to understand binary arithmetic, let alone translate that into something meaningful for their mostly non-technical audience.


    ---

  • Perhaps the editor forgot to type in "billion"?
  • The Transmeta chips just need a code-morphing software update to be AMD X86-64 compatible.

    Consequently Transmeta systems would make good testing units for X86-64 software, in preporation before AMD Hammer release.
  • Actually, AMD and Transmeta have both gotten to their current positions in the market by being transparently compatible with the current technology (which, in this case, is the 80x86 architecture).

    AMD and Transmeta together still do not equal the "market clout" that Intel enjoys. For them to come out with (comsumer-level) chipsets not natively running x86 instructions could leave them both at the mercy of the much bigger Intel.

  • 64 x 64bit registers vs. 32 x 32bit registers. It's only because this reporter failed to realize Intel's braindead CISCness that he is wrong. And the fact that no one else realized that is kind of disappointing. What, do they teach hardware courses with Intel processors now (shudder)? Or do they just teach you Java bytecode (shudder)?
  • You forget that I was criticizing the statement, not necessarily the story at hand. Hell, you even quoted my post, not even realizing what I was saying! Are you daft?
  • by electricmonk (169355) on Friday May 25, 2001 @05:08AM (#199094) Homepage
    everybody who is not Intel should be busying aligning with anyone who is also not Intel.

    I don't know about you, but from what I've seen in every other instance, Slashdot vehemently opposes industry consolidation and mergers (witness AOL/TW and MS). I guess less competition is only bad when you don't like the company.

    Oh well, I guess the enemy of my enemy is my friend. That one always works. Just look how it's helped the U.S. Gov't in the last half a century.

  • By the way, which is it transmeda or transmeta?
    It's all the same, at least when people from saxonia (germany) read it :-).
  • This is exactly, what I meant - in saxonia it also all comes down to this :)
    I must know, because I am a native saxon.
  • NEXGEN. Do you remember what AMD was doing in the early 1990's? They were playing a continual game of catch-up with Intel. If memory serves me correctly, there were going to be a LOT of barriers to adopting the original Pentium technology to clone. Intel was going to squeeze them out.

    Fortunately, there was a little company called NexGen. Simply put, they devised a way to hook up an instruction translator to a RISC core. I bought one of those motherboards in 1993 and it works well to this day - using Linux, of course. AMD bought the company and used the technology to to develop the K5 and the K6 series processors. I don't remember NexGen making a lot of money, either, but then they weren't public for very long before AMD bought them out. AMD had the brand name recognition as well as the funding to push the new technology.

    Transmeta seems to fit this mold. Like NexGen, they've developed a disruptive technology. AMD is interested in them. I think there's a buyout in Transmeta's future.
  • In this case it is the second biggest x86 CPU seller (AMD has what, 30% of the market?) plus one of the smallest (I would guess less then 1%).

    The main thrust of the problem though is that there are mainly only four makers of x86 based chips. Intel, AMD, Cyrix/Via/WhoEverToday, and Transmeta. Two of those have merged/combined forces/teamed up. That means there are now three makers, and my assumption is that Cyrix is virtually dead to the world. So - that means there are basically two competitors for x86 chips. That means that basically this move HAS consilidated the market, and that their less competiton, and therefore less innovation, and more harm could and will be done to the consumer.

    So I find this to be VERY inconsistent of the slashdot community. Competition is reduced, and the x86 market is once again tied up.
  • Has transmeta licensing the x86-64 instruction set reduced competition, or does it give you a second source for CPUs that can run 64bit x86 code?

    Good point, BUT it does it reduce the likely hood that Transmeta would independently implement x86-64, doesnt it? That creates the problem we have now- very few independent IA-32 implementations. It would be better for Transmeta to implement x86-64 on their own, not to license it from AMD... now Transmeta and AMD are in the same bed, technologically and financially.
  • Of course it multiplies it by four... just add the digits in 64 and those in 32 and subtract them. Makes 4, right? oops, 5 you say? Nah, all increments really come in powers of 2, so it must be 4. And since performance can't simply increase by 4, it must be factor 4. That's it!
  • Of course you know, we need someone to ask the obligatory question as far as what does Linus think about this.

    Some days, it must be a pain for Transmeta to have such a famous employee.

    Check out the Vinny the Vampire [eplugz.com] comic strip

  • <whine>
    So now, when I finally get first post, I get moderated as redundant?

    Stupid, stupid moderators...
    </whine>

  • They did this because they have created their own instruction set and transport. The more companies they can get onboard with their technology, the harder it will be for Intel to push their own proprietary technology.

    Simply put, its not about having GREAT partners, its about having the MOST partners.
  • "AMD aligning with Transmeta" is incorrect. AMD is allying itself with Tansmeta.
  • This quote is the key...

    "Normally you might look to Intel for leadership in this area, but Intel really hadn't come up with much of anything that looked like a good replacement yet," said Ditzel.

    The reason why Transmeta is looking to AMD is NOT because they hate the evil Intel (AMD is just as much a competetor as Intel), but because AMD has innovated a useful technology.

    Thankfully, competition continues to be the driving force in innovation, and in the end, the customers benefit.

  • by davejhiggins (188370) on Friday May 25, 2001 @05:15AM (#199106) Homepage
    ... is whether CmdrTaco was thinking that it should have been (64/32)=2 times as much "data" (which I can only assume to mean addressable space) or whether he knew that they were out by somewhat more than a factor of 2, and that it's really (2^64)/(2^32) = 2^32 ~ 4000000000 times as much.

    Dave

  • I don't care if you prefer AMD, Transmeta, or Intel...prices are continuing to drop to where I can now order a 1ghz cpu laptop for under 2200 USD. Since ALL the chip makers overproduced, this only benefits the consumer. Usually the software dictates the hardware but since there has been hardly any programs to even tax the mid-model pIII's, people just aren't upgrading their current PCs or buying newer, high-powered ones like these chip manufacturers hoped. You need the competition too because if there was only one manufacturer, you'd be paying out your ass even in this current surplus.
  • by Jon Erikson (198204) on Friday May 25, 2001 @05:14AM (#199109)

    Whilst I admit most of my industry experiance is in the software field as a dedicated IT professional I've been following the processor market for a while now, and I've got to wonder why on Earth AMD would pull this move.

    Because despite the glowing hype to typical of public stories in the field, Transmeta are hardly in a strong market position. The huge hype that got them rolling turned out to be mostly marketing wind. Sure they had a great product, but it wasn't the industry-changing breakthrough they'd been attempting to make it look like, and so they've done no better than any other start up producing components for low-power devices.

    Okay, not strictly true. They've done somewhat worse actually.

    On the other hand AMD is going from strength to strength in a way that would have amazed insiders a few years ago. They've got a lot of well-deserved respect now, and people are really starting to take them seriously on their own rights, rather than as Intel's annoying little competitor.

    But making a fuss over "strategic deals" with underperforming overhyped companies is not the way to go. They should concentrate more on their core strengths and carry on producing excellent processors.

  • They were just accounting for the bloat in the next version of Windows :)

    Bryguy
  • I like the article despite the misspelling. I have nothing against Intel, but I really don't care for thier monopoly on desktop computer processors. Perhaps someday soon, AMD will become a household name just like Pentium. Let's just hope that they don't have to resort to anything as stupid as those blue guys are the "bunny people."
  • Taco thought it'd be swell to only quote PART of the reporters sentence, the REAL story says this (click on the link to confirm it yourself)

    The industry has been gradually moving toward a 64-bit architecture, which multiplies the amount of data the processor can access by four billion.

    As you can see, the reporter understood what the implications of a switch from a 32-bit to 64-bit memory addressing scheme was (in fact, in the paragraph previous to the one I quoted, he discusses the issues of memory access and how accessing memory 32-bits at a time is a limiting factor in current CPU tech).

    Next time folks should read the article before flaming CNN.

  • Was there ever (like JEDEC did with memory) an open processor project? Seems this would be a neat idea. Everyone could make it and then we'd be able to shop for the CPU w/features we found more important. Each manufacturer would have to provide low cost or some angle (which should be open, too. :)

    In other news, Rambus flunked court in Italy:

    EBN Online article [ebnonline.com]

    Next on the block:

    Infineon in Mannheim, Germany

    Oct 29, 2001, Wilmington, DE, Federal Court, Micron will ask that Rambus' patents be invalidated (due to that dirty business in JEDEC, no doubt.)

    Maybe with an open processor workshop, they could show up and not tell anyone they're planning to patent adamantium interconnects...

    --
    All your .sig are belong to us!

  • No, CNN is right, just do the math:

    Proof 1: [bluemoon.net]

    • We have 32 bits vs. 64 bits.
    • Address space is in powers of two.
    • So we need the factor between 2^32 and 2^64.
    • As 64/32=2, 2^64/2^32=2^2=4
    • QED

    Proof 2 (shorter version):

    • 32 is 1/2 of 64
    • 64 is 2 times as much as 32
    • This gives a total factor of 4

    -Marcel

    PS: Sorry, it's not that funny, but I just couldn't resist.

  • by vla1den (233261) on Friday May 25, 2001 @10:00AM (#199126) Homepage

    ... who was wrong, but at the moment CNN spells it right:

    The industry has been gradually moving toward a 64-bit architecture, which multiplies the amount of data the processor can access by four billion

    Now is it CNN was nearly 100% wrong or somebody just need to actually read an article? We will never know.


  • The page now says " which multiplies the amount of data the processor can access by four billion" and it has a good explenation why.
  • Gee, I think my mini which uses powerpc chips has been doing 66bit computing for nearly 5 years! (and it is essentially one code change away from 128 bit processing - and guess what - no code changes required - code will be recompiled on the fly)

    Gee, AMD/Intel grow up, the industry lauds up and coming 64bit while ignoring the fact the IT industry has been there done that.
  • by fmaxwell (249001) on Friday May 25, 2001 @06:28AM (#199131) Homepage Journal
    I still won't buy an AMD or a Transmeta.

    I just wanted to thank you for letting us all know. I'm immediately liquidating all of my stock and mutual fund holdings related to either of those firms.

    Oh, and thanks for also giving us such insightful explanations of why you have chosen to boycott AMD and Transmeta. It's that kind of technical commentary and expertise that makes Slashdot worthwhile.

  • First of all, merger != stratigic partnership. Secondly, let's look at scale. It's not much like AOL and Time Warner, it's a little more like netzero and juno. But beyoned that, everyone, at least in America, has a soft spot for the little guy. You've got to give AMD props, they've come a long way. In many ways their origins are not so different from Intel's :). And companies cross licencing technology cheaply isn't less competition its more. That will keep prices down, and barriers for developing products low. In fact, if one had read the article (as brief as it was), one would know that AMD licenses some of their technology a prices that were described as "nearly free." Looks like AMD is making the chose to trade a little cash now for some market share down the road. And if you think this move to cut Intel's market share down to say 70%, is anticompetitive, take a moment and think about what you're saying.

    People on slashdat, and rightly so, get a little worried about what happens when two super giants in related industries get together. If Intel and Microsoft merged into a single entity, well, after than Wintel would have a whole new sinister meaning. If AMD and Transmeta get together, damn skippy. Why, more choice, not less. At the end of the day we're all consumers, and we all want to be able to make an informed choice from a selection of products.

  • All three stocks [yahoo.com] popped up at the opening. Then all three recoiled.

    Only Transmeta stuck it through, gaining 2.77% on the day (39 cents: lunch money when I was in 2d grade).

    Intel and AMD were both down. AMD 0.03% (a freakin' penny), and INTC 0.38% (a freakin' dime and a freakin' penny).

    Motorola, who are also affected by this, because, hell, someone must still be buying Macs, but probably using chips from IBM...well, Moto lost over 3%.

    Be careful in your financial dealings. This is not the time to be sticking your neck out. Capricorn has the momentum, but an Aries figures prominently. Try a new color.

    --Blair
  • Nah, it's just CNN used a Pentium to (FDIV) divide 64 by 32...
    --
  • AMD isn't hyping this Transmeta deal any more than they have any of the other more major alliances (not alignments) they've developed. CNNfn isn't even really hyping this deal, even though they seem to immensely enjoy referring to Transmeta as an 'upstart'. In reality, the only things at work here are one CNNfn reporter's obsession with Transmeta (Seriously, try a search for 'Richard Richtmyer' at CNNfn. He's the author of this article, and 4 of his 6 articles this month so far are about Transmeta.) and the /. crowd's obsession with all things Linux. (If you don't know the connection between Transmeta and Linux, well, I can't help you.)

    Anyways, nothing bad on AMD's part, they had no control over this.

    -Jade E.
  • by s20451 (410424) on Friday May 25, 2001 @05:28AM (#199141) Journal

    I disagree with the statement that the non-intels of the world need to band together for protection, AMD is, in my opinion, every bit as good if not better then our precious pentium cranking friends.

    I agree that AMD has an excellent product. However, the ashbin of history is filled to the brim with products that had superior technology at the time, but were defeated by a competitor with better marketing (take Betamax, OS/2, and CP/M for instance).

    Against Intel's market share and marketing engine (such as the Intel Inside campaign), AMD is doing the prudent thing by forging strategic alliances, rather than waiting for the computing public to recognize them as a superior provider.

  • Hmm,let me get this straight....

    There's Itanium, a processor that has been in development for quite some time by two of the greatest microprocessor manufacturers there, HP and Intel. A processor that HP will be replacing it's own PA/RISC processors with, processors that perform very respectably by the way. A processor that the entire computer industry is backing, from IBM to SGI. A processor that's already been accepted by the entire 3D Animation industry as their future platform. A processor that actually exists in Silicon and has been in pilot programs for some time and is due out at the end of this month....

    Then there's Clawhammer, which doesn't exist yet. All people have seen is a software emulator of the X86-64 instruction set, and a lot of RUMORS about the technology that's supposed to drive the chip

    And judging by all this, you somehow conclude that Clawhammer will be faster and better than Itanium at running native 64 bit code!!??

    I don't know how the AMD chip will perform, it doesn't exist yet. It may or may not be better than the Itanium, we won't know until it's out there and shipping. One thing I know, is that Intel did the couragous thing by ditching the legacy baggage and starting from scratch at the expense of 32 bit performance. It may not run old Windows apps well, but if it didn't kick ass in 64 bit floating performance it wouldn't get the wide industry support it's getting now.

  • First off, I disagree with the statement that the non-intels of the world need to band together for protection, AMD is, in my opinion, every bit as good if not better then our precious pentium cranking friends.

    So I wouldn't call this an alliance so much as a backing up of what deserves to be backed, Transmeta seems to need a step into the 64 bit world and AMD is the perfect company to help them into it. There's something in it for AMD and they don't have to give up anything, they earned this.

    I love my chip! You love my chip too!

Counting in octal is just like counting in decimal--if you don't use your thumbs. -- Tom Lehrer

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