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Intel

Intel Pushes Low-Power Crusoe Challenger 110

axis-techno-geek writes: "It seems that Intel now is trying to fight back against Transmeta with their new chips. Intel plans to have their new speed-step Pentium III's out in about a year (which in computer time means about 18 months :)."
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Intel's Pushes Low Power Crusoe Challenger

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  • You are correct. The difference is that the Speedstep PIII will have two speed settings. 500 Mhz @1.1v while on AC power and 300 Mhz at 1.0v while on battery power.

    The Crusoe can dynamically change it's clock speed and power consumption i.e. if you are playing solitare, there is not much demand for power from the procesor so the clock speed will be reduced. If you are playing a DVD, the CPU demand will be high and thus, clockspeed will increase automatically to compensate.

  • by yamutt ( 237300 ) on Thursday October 12, 2000 @04:41PM (#709848)
    Great, so what this is really saying is that it took some upstart startup to come up with a really good idea AND bring it all the way to market before Intel would get off it's ass and admit that just MAYBE a more power-efficient mobile processor was something that their customers NEED?!? This is a perfect example of WHY monopolies are a "bad thing".

    Personally, I don't see this as being any great news from Intel. As far as I'm concerned, the most impressive thing about Crusoe isn't the fact that it's much better for battery life (though that's certainly a good thing, and it's about time SOMEONE did something about it), it's the code-morphing abilities of the chip. This chip has the ability to emulate any processor that TransMeta puts its mind to emulate. And this can be accomplished with SOFT patches (no more difficult that upgrading your BIOS). For now they have chosen to stick the the x86 market, which makes perfect sense. But Apple and Sun better look out, once they get themselves firmly established...
  • weird...it works just fine for me...I checked a coupla times by trying the link i made....i dunno...tough beans i suppose.


  • by Anonymous Coward
    Transmeta will more than likely have a new surprise.

    Likely it will only surprise their more clueless shareholders and investors, who haven't bailed out by then.

    Let's face it, Linux weenies like Transmeta because Linus works there. If Linus had gone to work at a sexual novelty factory, you'd all be running around in the room going whee whee whee and turning up the level on your Transmeta vibrating butt-plugs.

  • lay off the editors. they have a lot of stuff to look through. so one thing slipped through, coulda been worse ... coulda been a naked picture of drew carry on the other end of the link!!
  • The c't benchmark says the TM4500 is equivalent to 500MHz, if you are talking about the story recently reported here on slahsdot. Where do you get your 233MHz figure from? What they say is bad is that unless you use APM, the the Crusoe consumes 5 watts...
  • by GigsVT ( 208848 ) on Thursday October 12, 2000 @05:46PM (#709853) Journal
    It seems that Intel now is trying to fight back against Transmeta with their new chips.

    Fight back against vaporware with more vaporware? Sounds like a fair fight to me.
    -

  • Ditzel says: [Speedstep] validates his company's approach to the market. This joke has been used so many times it's no longer funny.

    As others have said here, Speedstep is not progress--it should be called "SpeedStumble" because it drops the clock frequency on battery power--it can't dynamically adjust the frequency depending on the CPU load, like Crusoe can.

    The critical point here is if Intel can drop power consumption and thus heat production low enough to be able to do away with the fan. Laptops should not have fans, and should not be too hot to keep in your lap. With Crusoe (or other low-power CPUs) you don't need a fan--with Intel notebook CPUs you still do, so far.

  • your just plain stupid, where did you get these scores? p2-233? it keeps getting lower the more you read..first p2-350, then 250, now 233 or even Original Pentium. You are just stupid. I have in fact seen a developers release of a 300Mhz crusoe and it compares to a p2-266. Do the math! everything in the crusoe system scales with the processor, so faster chip=faster ram so is scales pretty accurately. That means that it should compare to a p2-433 or so when running at 500Mhz.

    Oh, and transmeta rates the crusoe at .5W when running under normal circumstances for a workstation laptop. That means running Office, or some bussiness app most of the time. Thats not running Quake3 24-7. The high end power consumption for this chip is te bottom end for the "new" p3. Oh, and Morres law says that the crusoe should be around 800-833mhz by this time next year. So this "new" 500Mhz speedstep p3 will be 300Mhz behind, and how would a 800mhz crusoe scale? Like a 667-700mhz p3. And i doubt that transmeta would just sit around and not pump up their chip just a little.

    4xthe power=1/4 battery life | a %20 speed/Mhz advantage does not make up for a 300Mhz deficite.
  • Crusoe challenger.

    Don't flatter yourself. Intel, in no uncertain terms, does NOT consider, nor should it consider, Crusoe to be a threat.

    Silicon vs. vaporware. OK, some Transmeta hardware has been produced, but not in large volume, not dealing w/tiny profit margins, capacity issues, fab yields, etc.

    Wake me when Transmeta is real - Andy

  • When I was shopping for an electric heater to put in my drafty college apartment, I got a real kick out of something. Some of the boxes that the heaters came in were proudly labeled "100% efficient". I guess they made a safe bet that most consumers don't know anything about thermondynamics, and that those who do would simply chuckle.

  • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) <bruce@perens.com> on Thursday October 12, 2000 @06:43PM (#709859) Homepage Journal
    I have an old '286-compatible laptop with a CPU made by Harris that is fully static. Instead of going into a wait loop when there is nothing to do, it halts the clock with a special instruction and continues, without any loss of CPU state, when it gets an interrupt.

    Would this not work better than slowing down the clock?

    Thanks

    Bruce

  • Wow! Intel's marketing division has really lost it! I could have sworn that the current 600Mhz speedstep PIII was supposed to consume 1 watt of power, and it says the peak usage will be around 1.5 watts of power for the "new" CPU. The 1 watt for the "old" model is probably an idle wattage, but they need to clarify some things. Now we will look at the various advantages that each CPU has behind it (The current PIII for laptops, as it is basically the same thing as the "new" one) The PIII has a moderate performance advantage over the Crusoe processor in standard applications. In my opinion this is almost irrelevant for most people, as I do some very heavy multitasking with regular apps (Word, IE, Excel, IE, IE, IE, Outlook Express, a couple instant messanger services, and some more copies of IE) and my Celeron 466 with 128 megs of ram is very snappy. FPU performance is better again for the PIII, but I would never think of playing a game on a laptop computer, as the LCD screens are generally bad, and the video chipsets worse for gaming. Also, in applications where FPU capability (CAD, many games) is the most important part of the computer are reserved for desktop computers. Crusoe uses a good deal less power then the current PIII, and offers very good general application performance. Another thing is the Longrun technology, which, unlike the PIII's speedstep (And like AMD's notebook technology), dynamically adjusts the clock speed so that even when you are on a battery you get very close to full performance of the CPU, whereas with Intel's solution, you are stuck with the lower speed. The Crusoe processor also intehrates the memory controller into the CPU core, which reduces the amount of power even more relative to the Intel CPU. The Intel CPUs also put out a good deal more heat then the Crusoe, which forces manufacturers into making heavier notebooks with fans, loaded with metal for use as a heatsink material, and heavier. I would imagine that with such a small die size, Transmeta could integrate all of the functions of the chipset into the CPU if they wanted, even further reducing power consumption, motherboard space, and cost. In my opinion the Crusoe processor will start a new revolution in the subnotebook industry. Instead of Subnotebooks having very poor performance and horrid battery life, they will be even lighter, have much better battery life, and offer decent performance. The only real issue I see with Transmeta is that they will suffer from the same problems AMD suffered from when their flagship processor was the K6-2. AMD's average selling price per processor was well under $100, and the budget CPU world is one of extremely slim profit margins. Transmeta will encounter a similar problem with Crusoe, so they will need to find a way to come out with a more high end product that will net them better profits. Lastly, AMD has their own fabs, so after the inital investment and operating costs, they don't need to pay any more for producing their CPU's, whereas a good chunk of income from selling Crusoe CPUs will go towards TSMC. Bottom line: Crusoe = revolutionary processor in many ways, but in a business sense they are lacking a way to truly make a good profit.
  • I work for Compaq computer corp. I've got some news for you: your source is outdated. We're already selling laptops with SpeedStep technology. They're available in P3/600-750. The 17XL262 (Canadian model. US is 17XL265), for example, hit the market in June 2000.
  • I thought Intel already have speedstep PIII's? I have a PIII 700 in my notebook that is speedstep (it slows down to 550mhz on battery). How are these new chips any different?
  • 1. Remove idle loops from the OS software. From my experience, at least AMD K5, K6 and Pentium MMX processors are constantly hot under Windows, but cold under Linux when there are no applications active. Also, ever noticed MS Word using 100% processor time when you just press cursor keys once per second?

    2. I don't need 52X CD-ROM. Many people don't. At least, there should be an option to slow it down. Playing MP3's requires 0.1X speed.

    3. Same for HDD's. Take this marketing idea, it's a goldmine: ultra-low power HDD with variable transfer rate, down to 20kbytes/s. Imagine 10Gb Nomad Jukebox running for days on AA batteries!

    4. 200MHz ought to be enough for everyone (to play MP3's, of course)

    5. Make the screen power-up only when I look at it (eye-movement detection).
  • Your not converting to computer time.. That's really just a year and a half.
  • The page says:
    Transmeta's Code Morphing technology is obviously not limited to x86 implementations. As such, it has the potential to revolutionize the way microprocessors are designed in the future.

    SO as soon as they build a chip that isn't the Crusoe (a chip limited to x86 emulation) they can take advantage of the flexibility of their code-morphing software.

    Kendall said:
    I can't follow the link you provided...
    I was fixing it, didn't finish, then did something else, forgot about it and posted. He's a wearble-computers researcher and invented the matchboxpc/server which he took commercial and now markets as the Tiqit.
  • "Sheesh, whaddaya want--a friggin' portable CRAY?"

    Well, now that you brought it up, sure. Why not have a laptop that can FFT a SETI@Home unit in 2 hours? That can compute the lightmap to 9plats (my custom Q3 level that's only 400K in file size but is also 1/5 of a mile wide) in 4 hours? I'm game for that - even if I have to plug it in everywhere or have only a 1.5 hour battery life.

  • Perhaps this post [blu.org] to the Wear-Hard mailing list [blu.org] (and also this follow-up [blu.org]) contain the crux of Professor Pratt's arguments that you are referring to. However, none of this indicates that he doesn't believe this code-morphing technology couldn't be successfully (and lucratively) applied to emulation of non-x86 architectures (in fact he implies in the second post that he things they might do BETTER in competition with non-x86's). All he asserts is that the CURRENT RUN of chips is tuned solely for x86 emulation (i.e. you go buy a Sony laptop with a Crusoe, open the case and take out the processor; this chip you hold in your hand is only suited for x86 use), and Transmeta's literature is mainly focused on this use/tuning. That's a world away from saying that the code-morphing technology can't be applied to emulation of other architectures; even if the chips you can buy RIGHT NOW don't do it, it would require VERY minor changes in design and fabrication to "tune" the Crusoe to, say, a Sparc-emulating version. "Very minor" as opposed to the amount of effort required for Intel or AMD to design and fabricate chips to do the same.

    So I will amend my initial statement slightly. You are correct: "Crusoe" (Transmeta's product as it now stands) can only emulate the x86 arch. However the TECHNOLOGY behind the product (I guess you could look at it as Transmeta's I.P. base, but people get so up-in-arms around here the moment you mention I.P. :-) is such that future generations of Crusoe (or whatever they may call it) may "jump tracks" very easily. This makes Transmeta MUCH more versatile and agile as a chip maker - certainly as opposed to Intel (what's it been, 5 or 6 years now since they've released anything that had any FUNDAMENTAL improvements (molest me not with this SIMD crap) to their architecture?)
  • ... but haven't powerbooks had this for awhile??? There's a control panel that allows you to decide between more power and longer battery life. besides the ibook already has a 6 hour battery life(of course that's not real world but its pretty close under normal usage) and that's longer than Transmeta is saying. Old news; Apple has thought of this for years.
  • Then what was that "turbo" button on my 386 for?
  • by Hadean ( 32319 ) <hadean.dragon+slashdotNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday October 12, 2000 @04:43PM (#709871)
    It would seem the above links aren't helpful at this time, so here's a few that might shed some light in this already ageing news piece:

    - http://www.pcworld.com/news/ar tic le.asp?aid=31482 [pcworld.com]

    Also next year, Intel will probably announce an ultralow-voltage 500-MHz chip for subnotebooks that should be extremely battery-friendly. The company demonstrated a processor running at 300-MHz.

    - http://www.zdnet.c om/ zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2639424,00.html [zdnet.com]

    When Intel Corp.'s Frank Spindler disclosed that the chip giant is fast tracking the production of a new ultra-low-power chip for notebooks, there was an interested eavesdropper nearby.

    - http://cnet. com /news/0-1003-200-3156114.html?tag=st.ne.1002.thed. ni [cnet.com]

    SAN JOSE, Calif.--Intel said it will enhance energy-saving features in processors for laptops and begin shipping new mobile Pentium chips next year as competition intensifies.

  • > I was wondering...just because it uses less
    > electricity, does that mean it runs cooler as
    > well?

    Yes. The two are inherently linked. Basically all the power (watts) a chip uses gets changed into heat. So, a 15W chip is effectively a 15W heater. A 1W chip is only a 1W heater.

    ttyl
    srw
  • My sig will not be *** censored ***

  • "Crack" is right... ;-)
  • Intel plans to have their new speed-step Pentium III's out in about a year...

    Looks like not even the submitters are reading the articles. In the first paragraph it says they "should ship next year" - that's less than three months away at best.

    The first chip is "due in the first half of next year" which means somewhere between 3-9 months, a far cry from the "about a year" the submitter claims.

    Plus, he submitted a broken link. Is it too much to ask of the editors that they actually edit the submissions?

  • Sorry, but your link doesn't seem to work for me either. In fact, all my requests to lycos.com get me to lycos.de (it seems that German surfers are redirected to the German Lycos site). So stupid...

    Can someone full-quote the thing for me, please?!
  • by Chalst ( 57653 ) on Thursday October 12, 2000 @04:51PM (#709877) Homepage Journal
    It's clear that Crusoe's LongRun technology is a more elegant approach
    to conserving power by reducing clock speed than Intel's Speedstep,
    but how much difference does it make in practice? It's quite possible
    that Intel's crufty hack might give 90% of the benefit. I'm waiting
    for independent tests...
  • I do agree, except that i think that the intel monopoly is partly responsible for the fight that AMD and now transmeta has given, and in fast shot up processor speeds.

    One thing is for sure, intel had to much power when it mattered, because IBM picked the slower.weaker x86 line of chips over the more powerfull and faster 68k series.

    On nthe bright side, at least windows is running on inferior hardware. MacOS is weak, but G4s are fast and it almost makes up the difference.
  • Okay, but I'm not formatting it:

    When Intel Corp.'s Frank Spindler disclosed that the chip giant is fast tracking the production of a new ultra-low-power chip for notebooks, there was an interested eavesdropper nearby. Transmeta Corp. CEO David Ditzel was attending the Microprocessor Forum this week when Spindler, vice president and general manager of Intel's Mobile and Handheld Division, said that a new ultra-low-power Speedstep-based mobile Pentium III chip was in the works and should ship next year. The chips, which consume less power than current mobile Pentium IIIs with Speedstep Technology, are being moved into production sooner than originally planned to counter Transmeta's low-power Crusoe processor, which began shipping in notebooks in Japan last month. As for the eavesdropper, Ditzel said he was glad to hear Intel is addressing the low-power market segment, because it validates his company's approach to the market. With their low power consumption, Transmeta's low-power Crusoe processor and LongRun power-management software and Intel's forthcoming low-power Pentium III are designed to extend battery life for mini-notebooks to up to 12 hours. Intel officials concede that Transmeta did wonders for raising industry awareness of battery life. But, unlike Transmeta, Intel expects that the mini-notebook will account for only a small part of its overall mobile chip business, whereas more fully featured notebooks with larger screens, integrated drives, and faster processors will account for some 60 percent of sales. Shaving wattage According to Ditzel, the difference between Crusoe and the forthcoming Intel chips will be about a quarter of a watt. Crusoe chips on average consume about .5 to .75 watt; the forthcoming Intel chips will consume about half a watt on average. (Currently, Intel is shipping a 600MHz mobile Pentium III with Speedstep that consumes about one watt of power when running at 500MHz in its Battery Optimized Mode.) Ditzel showed ZDNet News a Hitachi notebook with a 600MHz Crusoe TM5600 chip. The notebook, along with three similar models and a Crusoe-based Web Tablet, debuted in Japan on Sept. 27 and will be officially announced later this month in the United States. Ditzel demonstrated how the Hitachi model scaled in 100Mhz increments from 300Mhz to 600MHz, but spent most of its time running at 300MHz unless it was loading an application or playing a movie. According to Ditzel, the notebook yields a battery life of between 10 to 12 hours. Intel's first ultra-low-power Pentium III chip, due in the first half of next year, will be a 500MHz, which drops to 300MHz when on battery power. When running at 300MHz, the chip will consume about half a watt of power. Active power consumption for the chip will be closer to 1.5 watts, Intel officials said. The chip's core voltage will drop to 1 volt, compared to the 1.1 volt of the current 600MHz low-power mobile Pentium III with Speedstep. A 600MHz version of the ultra-low-power mobile Pentium III is planned for the second half of the year. Speedstep, which acts as a switch to drop clock speed and power consumption of a Pentium III running on battery power, is not dynamically variable like Crusoe, which can move through a number of clock-speed and power-consumption states based on demand from an application. System-level approach Intel is also focusing on chip sets and other system components, including screens and batteries. At the Microprocessor Forum the company demonstrated a version of its 440MX mobile chip set with active power management. The chip set's average power consumption was shown to be about half a watt, making the entire processor and chip set package average less than one watt. Intel is also investigating ways to get more life out of lithium-ion batteries and to reduce the power consumption of notebook screens. The company may make investments in companies working in those areas; however, it has not disclosed any such plans to date. Transmeta's approach to system-level power management was to integrate the memory controller, a major part of a chip set, into its Crusoe 5XXX line of chips. This works to save both power and cost. The first ultra-low-power mobile Pentium IIIs will be based on Intel's current 0.18-micron manufacturing process. They "require nothing special in terms of manufacturing," one company official said.

  • I call it underclocking. This is nothing new.

    Really? I didn't know that PII 300's ran at 1/2 W.

  • > Marketing geek: "someone else just released a great new revolutionary product. As a result, we need you engineers to design, test and impliment our version of the product before their's ships. Oh, by the way, we already announced ours is coming out in two weeks. Good luck"

    Vapor for Athlon, vapor for Crusoe.

    --
    Give me a candidate who speaks out against the war on drugs.
  • Um, hasn't SpeedStep been around for a while on the slower processors?
    ISTR reading about this on The Register many months ago.
    --
  • not too long, I hope...

    Bought a t-bird 900 today, and successfully o/c'd it to 1.25GHz.
  • yamutt said,
    ...it's the code-morphing abilities of
    the chip. This chip has the ability to emulate any processor that TransMeta puts its mind to emulate.


    That is true...as long as the processor T$ wants to emulate is an x86. According to Professor Vaghan Pratt of Standford University [stanford.edu], the Crusoe series is only capable of emulating the x86 processor architecture as it's wired into the chips.
  • What are you talking about, will take "another year for this *amazing new technology* to be available"
    HP omnibook 900b's currently come with the exact same thing, you buy a 650 and it clocks down to 500 when on battery, if you had read the article you would have heard something about that.
  • The compatibility problems I heard about were with early Athlon systems: not with the CPU itself though, all they were either due to using a non-certified power supply, or were driver issues.

    My advice to people with AMD instability problems is to flash the BIOS to the latest revision, and download new motherboard drivers (and if that doesn't help, check that the power supply is up to the job).
  • > Who else could take something as technologically <sarcasm>innovative</sarcasm> as underclocking and give it a name like "Speedstep Technology"

    But you missed the cool part - you can overclock it and get back to where you started!

    They'll doubtless market that as the Speedstep Pro.

    --
    Give me a candidate who speaks out against the war on drugs.
  • (that comment was from the other geek)
  • So did they get Holland, MI confused with Holland (aka Der Nedrlanded). That's one smart webserver.
  • by Cire LePueh ( 26571 ) on Thursday October 12, 2000 @07:17PM (#709890)
    So lets recount the past few weeks...

    Intel recalls the 1.13 P3

    AMD rolls out 1.1 and announces near term avail of 1.2 GHz Athlons.

    Intel repurposes P4 systems after performance issues, show that tick for tick they run slower than P3, Athlon & Duron. (at least until they can shrink the die small enough to run at 2GHz which puts them on par with todays chips)

    AMD announces SMP chip set with initial 2 way (this year) support for their Athlon line. And the SMP is higher bandwidth than current Intel systems...(Finally!!)

    Micron's MAMBA DDR SDRAM chip set is announced for Athlon systems - with 8 MB built in cache!

    Intel initial chipsets for the P4 will be RAMBUS ?

    Now they are going after the Crusoe chipsets with more underclocking tech ?

    No I have to admit my info may be flawed, as I have not been watching the processor news for the past 20 minutes, but it seems to me Intel is now fighting battles on all sides (in the CPU arena at least) and, at least right now, losing ground on most of the fronts. Of course if I were Intel I would be most concerned with Athlon SMP invading the traditional server and highend workstation market...but that's just me.

  • by knarf ( 34928 ) on Thursday October 12, 2000 @07:21PM (#709891) Homepage
    'twould be nice, but those static devices do take a lot more transistors (and die space) than dynamic devices. Which translates into either a bigger die (cost) or less functionality. I think an asynchronous processor would be a better solution, one which can turn down the clock on unused parts to the minimum level needed to keep state (where minimum could be zero is the part allows it). There are devices like this around, although I have yet to see a modern processor do this.

    Posted from a nfs-booted iopener, progress in disguise...
    //Frank
  • huh? How come this comment is interresting? Don't you read the news? Transmetta demonstrated their processors at the Microprocessor Forum, and it ran great. And the life saving feature was awesome.
  • Sorry, the person who moderated this to 5 (funny) shouldn't moderate again... I like to laugh, but failed to find a reason to laugh at that comment.
  • So does my new thinkpad T20. I miss my Omnibook 900, though (sniff). Such is the new job. If anyone is wondering, the HP Omnibook 900 is an _excellent_ Linux laptop.

  • Forgot to take into account two things:
    1. AMD has overtaken Intel on the "power-of-cpu" camp. This means that they're going to become more and more popular.
    2. The law of exponential growth. AMD Should overtake Intel in less than 3 years. AMD's popularity is increasing by the day, while Intel is falling out of favour.
  • Yeah, the G4 is an inferior processor to your athlon because the file system in a beta operating system can't keep up with NTFS. Wow, that's some solid evidence. Why don't you just say your P2 sucks, because it's running linux 2.1.50 and your K6 kicks it's ass with linux 2.4.0-test. Perhaps if you actually watched the Jobs demos, you'd realize he was comparing Photoshop performance, not disk performance.
  • yamutt said:
    even if the chips you can buy RIGHT NOW don't do it, it would require VERY minor changes in design and fabrication to "tune" the Crusoe to, say, a Sparc-emulating version. "Very minor" as opposed to the amount of effort required for Intel or AMD to design and fabricate chips to do the same.

    I'll meet you half-way right here (though not to be an extremist of the middle -- and there are many of those around) and say that my knowledge isn't suffuent to disallow that it may be the case that the Crusoe could be modified to non-x86 use in a future iteration. (Sorry for the wordiness, but I'm trying to be precise.) In fact I have no direct knowledge of how the Crusoe works -- I'm analyzing what people say about it. I think it's important for the IT community to be realistic about the capabilities of individual technologies -- and self-destructive to be unrealistic.

    What I read into Pratt's comment's about Crusoe's having an 80-bit FPU was that Crusoe would never be able to emulate anything else and that people saying that it could were jumping to uninformed conclusions about the possibilities of its code-morphing on the Crusoe platform. Perhaps I read too much into Pratt's comments and it's simply the case that the FPU can easily be changed -- not as easily as the software but easily enough.

    Thanks for the interesting exchange. More is welcome.
  • The important question is "how fast will it respond"?

    My biggest complaint with computers is how quickly they respond to the users. Quite often, low-power mode is a terrible culprit here, especially when the HD spins down. You move the mouse, click on something, and wait 30 seconds while the machine pulls it's head out of it's ass and spins up the hard disk. If you do this often enough (if the cylce is short enough) it probably takes more energy to spin-up the disk that it would have taken to continue running it (newton's second law anyone?); and makes me sit and wait for my $5000 new spiffy super-fast 1.4 GHz PIV (exaggerating, but nonetheless, point is made, no?).

    I'm not saying this is bad, but I'm saying that it's USUALLY implemented to make things worse. If the chip goes INSTANTLY from 300 to 500MHz the very moment I start moving the mouse after letting it sit, then it's okay. But latency sucks. Which is probably why there are now strong arguments that a 500MHz CPU is enough for most people. It's not, but when you pay the extra dough for the 1.4 Ghz one, and you don't see a performance improvement for MOST day to day tasks, the problem is your suffering from latency, and often reading data that was not cached. Poor implementation.
  • I thought that the PPC could do this to. Not sure about power consumption, but I KNOW that the G4, and G3e will step down their speed if they get too hot, this is how Apple can ship computers without fans. Yes, convective cooling in a well-designed case DOES do the trick. But if it's too hot in the room, it's not as effective.


  • Apple better not watch out.

    Fucking Motorola better watch out.

    My guess, is that Transmeta probably has a chance at making one of these deals EMULATE a PPC chip FASTER than the fastest G4 Motorola can currently produce. (which is the same speed they had 12 months ago).

  • It doesn't bother me all that much...after seeing the future of VAIO's....i would rather have a normal yet really nice looking IBM thinkpad with a comparable chip to a Butt-ugly vaio with similar technology. Still, it is a little lame to be copying off of transmeta like that though.


  • remember the "turbo" button we used to have on all the 286's? From a rather pedestrian 10MHz to - whoopee! 14 MHz!
  • by hangdog ( 8755 ) on Thursday October 12, 2000 @04:23PM (#709903)
    Wonder what their release schedule would have been pre-Transmeta?

  • However, I read the quote you provided as referring to the SOFTWARE implementation. That is, they've only got production supprt for Code Morphing for x86. As the demo showed, they had put some Code Morphing instructions together for PicoJava.

    That would mean the chip can still do any instruction set just fine. You just need to tell the Code Morpher what to do with the incoming instructions for any other architechures you wish to support.

    As for the link, I think your link was correct - the researchers own home page had the same link with the same problem! Give that the domain is "wearable.standford.edu", perhaps the web site was out at the cleaners... I'll check the link later to see if it's up.
  • by SpookComix ( 113948 ) <spookcomix@g m a i l.com> on Thursday October 12, 2000 @04:24PM (#709905) Homepage Journal
    Transmetta told us that they were five years ahead of the competition! There's no way that Intel can be that close!

    Is there?

    --SpookComix

  • Does anyone know the real URL I'm too lazy to hunt

  • 1) I think that is because Windows doesn't use the HLT instructions, which not only prevent instructions from executing during idle loops, but cools the CPU down in the process.

    4) You can never have enough speed. Not even on a laptop.

    5) Uh, that would be hard.
  • by atrowe ( 209484 ) on Thursday October 12, 2000 @04:25PM (#709908)
    Looks like /.'s crack editorial team didn't check their links again.

    Here's [lycos.com] the right one.

  • by kzinti ( 9651 ) on Thursday October 12, 2000 @04:26PM (#709909) Homepage Journal
    It seems that Intel now is trying to fight back against Transmeta with their new chips. Intel plans to have their new speed-step Pentium III's out in about a year...

    Yeah, but will they look like barf?.

    --Jim
  • Um, Intel has demonstrated P4's too. You can't justifiably class one as vaporware without classifying the other as well, (or vice versa)
  • The link is useless and I can't find anything mentioning low power chips from Intel at lycos. Congrats to the /. editors for checking the links in stories...

    Mark Duell
  • by Jack Valenti ( 242717 ) on Thursday October 12, 2000 @04:28PM (#709912) Homepage
    ...but isn't competition a violation of the DMCA?

  • According to Transmeta's figures, it runs like a P2 450. That's not `slow as hell' by comparison with Intels' 500Mhz...
  • by atrowe ( 209484 ) on Thursday October 12, 2000 @04:29PM (#709914)
    "Intel's first ultra-low-power Pentium III chip, due in the first half of next year, will be a 500MHz, which drops to 300MHz when on battery power. When running at 300MHz, the chip will consume about half a watt of power."

    Intel calls it "Speedstep technology". I call it underclocking. This is nothing new. The *really* sad part about all this is that it's going to take another year for this *amazing new technology* to be available.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    and those of you who think thats all this is about obviously didnt read the message....
    its about variable underclocking, with out need a reboot, and last i heard, there werent too many pc or laptops that could drop the clockspeed with out a reboot, let alone 2-4 different variations of clockspeed (crusoe).
    check your facts before you flame.
  • by yamutt ( 237300 ) on Thursday October 12, 2000 @04:57PM (#709916)
    You're obviously confused: SpeedStep only offers you two different steps. Crusoe has a gradient (i.e. it can operate at a number of speeds between it's min and max speeds) and is much more intelligent about deciding what speed to run at. If not much is happening, it drops down a notch or two. If it needs more cycles, it hops up again. With Intel, it's all or nothing. And I think we all know that comparing raw clock speeds (MHz) is just crap. YES, a 600MHz Crusoe, performs on average more like a
    Finally, keep in mind, a year from now, when Intel finally rolls out their "new" technology, Transmeta will more than likely have a new surprise.
  • the truth of the matter is, when your not playing a game or highend app (ilustrator for example) your not realy going to notice the difrance between a p200 and p!!! 800 (exsept when loading an app), this is whats realy cool about intels plan, only give you the speed when you need it, insted of waisting Mhz at 500Mhz when posting replys on /. your only going at 300 (and you dont even need neer that much ) so you use less power so you get get exalent batery life, 10-12 hours, and still have the speed to play quake2 at a decent speed
  • (That'll teach me not to use the preview button!)

    You're obviously confused: SpeedStep only offers you two different steps. Crusoe has a gradient (i.e. it can operate at a number of speeds between it's min and max speeds) and is much more intelligent about deciding what speed to run at. If not much is happening, it drops down a notch or two. If it needs more cycles, it hops up again. With Intel, it's all or nothing. And I think we all know that comparing raw clock speeds (MHz) is just crap. YES, a < 600MHz Crusoe, performs on average more like a 600MHz Pentium (though it's more like a P3 450 or 500, I don't know where you got that P2 250 figure), but it's a trade-off between speed and power consumption/heat generation. CURRENT P3's with SpeedStep (let's not forget, this "new" thing won't be available for a year) may give you a minor advantage, but in exchange for that 100MHz drop in speed you're still only going from 2-2.5 to 4-5 hours on a standard battery; Crusoe machines can run 10-12 hours! And yes, some of that is due to smaller monitor, etc., but there's no way getting around that P3 w/SpeedStep (either now or this "new" chip) loses hands down to Crusoe in the performance vs. battery life arena.

    Finally, keep in mind, a year from now, when Intel finally rolls out their "new" technology, Transmeta will more than likely have a new surprise.
  • If they cover the chip with a blob of epoxy, it might.
  • and those of you who think thats all this is about obviously didnt read the message.... its about variable underclocking, with out need a reboot, and last i heard, there werent too many pc or laptops that could drop the clockspeed with out a reboot, let alone 2-4 different variations of clockspeed (crusoe). I had a toshiba pent200 laptop that could change clock rate on the fly with the push of a button, it was kinda cool, couse I could turn up the speed when I was playing a emulator or quake2
  • AMD doesn't sell a gigihertz PIII. They sell their semi-broken x86 clone chip. It's fine for running open source code that you're willing to debug and custom tune when it won't work. It's a really bad choice when you need a reliable machine to run commercial apps. There's a reason Athlon machines are only selling to the game kiddies in the 'consumer' home computer channels.
    I've been using an AMD K6-2 based system for nearly two years, with Win98 and linux (first Red Hat 5.2 and now Debian 2.2), and have experienced no compatibility problems whatsoever. Funny, I've never seen a reputable source complain about compatibility issues with AMD CPUs; it just seems to be trolls with no way to backup the statement.
  • There are two ways to dynamically decrease power usage in a chip like this. The first is to decrease the clock speed, which has a linear effect on on power consumption. The second way is to decrease voltage, which is made easier by reducing clock speed, and has a quadratic effect. The Intel method cuts power a little more than half by cutting clock speed in half, since there is a very small voltage change. The Crusoes are designed so that clock speed can be decreased in proportion to clock speed, so the resulting power saving is linear*quadratic=cubic. Cut speed in half and you're using 1/8 the power. Add to that the fact that the crusoe chips have about 1/4 the transistor count, and you have a rather impressive power savings.

    Intel doesn't have a prayer at catching Crusoe in the immediate future on power consumption. The best that they can do is get it low enough that the monitor is the main limiting factor for battery life. The smaller die size and integration of some of the memory interface components on the crusoe could mean that the cost savings become the greatest benefit of the technology.
  • Remember Chromatic? They had a media processor that did all these wonderful things. Then Intel announced MMX and confused all the box makers. The box makers decided to wait to see what Intel had. (This wasn't Chromatics only problem but it was a significant one).

    You don't think Intel is sending a message to the machine manufacturers do you?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    You have a portable living room?
  • In a (pseudo) monopoly situation, if there isn't the market pressure, there's no need for the company to invest in producing a new product sub family when the current product family can be shoe-horned to fit the market. It's an expense without much payback -- even if they have the basic technology available.

    Now that Tranmeta has produced a chip that threatens this sub-market, Intel actually has a reason to produce chips that aren't so power hungry. The expense of production with hitherto dormant technology is offset by not loosing (as much) market share to this upstart company.
    `ø,,ø`ø,,ø!

  • You are correct. The difference is that the Speedstep PIII will have two speed settings. 500 Mhz @1.1v while on AC power and 300 Mhz at 1.0v while on battery power.

    The Crusoe can dynamically change it's clock speed and power consumption i.e. if you are playing solitare, there is not much demand for power from the procesor so the clock speed will be reduced.


    That means if the benchmarks mentioned here [slashdot.org] a while back when the new picturebooks were announced, that found a crusoe 600MHz to run at between a P3 400 and P3 600. That makes the P3 500 that slows down to 300MHz when on battery very very LAME, not really that nice IMNSHO!


    How every version of MICROS~1 Windows(TM) comes to exist.
  • I stood up and said "hola! mi llama cmdrtaco!" they were confused

    I'm sure they were, since that (sort of) translates to "Hello! My CmdrTaco flame!"
  • Sez who? Do you have access to one that you've tested? I was reading an article over on Tom's Hardware about the Microprocessor Forum (http://www.tomshardware.com/business/00q4/001011/ mpf2-02.html) and the impression I got was that it wasn't too shabby. The whole point of a laptop is to be portable, after all, and if it lasts 6-8 hours on a battery charge--as good as some "Pocket PCs" out there, for that matter--but isn't exactly a Formula-1 speedster, who cares? At any rate, if it has enough umph to play DVD movies, it ought to be more than sufficient for your average word-processing, 'net browsing or email. Sheesh, whaddaya want--a friggin' portable CRAY?
  • The server is not responding at the link you provide, so I can't see what it is you're trying to point to. In the meantime, you may want to reviewthispa ge [transmeta.com], and also thiswhit e paper(PDF) [transmeta.com]. I'm not saying Dr. Pratt is wrong (that'd be kind of difficult, since I can't even find out what his claims are), but the information presented here directly contradicts your claim, so SOMEONE'S off the mark. I'll make my own judgements once I'm able to read what he has to say. If you know of another site where whatever it is you're trying to link to is available, or can quote it here, please do.
  • I can't follow the link you provided (though I see he has the same link on his home page at Stanford, so it must have been there at some point...).

    However, I remember reading about demos where it was running Java bytecode directly. Here's an extract from one review:


    After this Q&A was complete, we moved to the other hall to look at the goods. There were a number of machines running the TM processors. The most impressible demo was a chopped up version of doom that ran it's main loop as PICO Java and the graphics routines and such at an x86 machine. There was a graph above the screen where it showed the machine swithcing between instruction sets in the middle of the VM.


    The page I got that from is here [dibona.com].
  • by UU7 ( 103653 )
    AMD has its own speed step like technology which has 32 power levels to choose from. Its pretty much a middle of the road solution, although the performance may better due to the fact that they dont do code morphing. In any case we will have to wait for ACTUAL benchmarks to see.
  • Of course, AMD won't be able to compete on the laptop front with Intel because the K6-2 just isn't fast enough, and the Athlon draws too much power. I've heard talk of a low-power Athlon for laptops, but I'll believe that when I see it.

    Personally, I am a lot more impressed by AMD's Power Now! [slashdot.org] (perhaps not by the name, but the idea) than Intel's SpeedStep. AMD has implemented dynamic clocking based on usage for the mobile K6-3's, and I hope to see it in the mobile Athlons. This to me is a much better approach.
  • I've been wondering about how Transmeta is going to survive in the current market. Even though there chips are aimed at "appliance" type devices, they are still not very powerful when compared with other chips such as Intel. Does Transmeta have any new chips in the process of being designed, or do they hope that these will last a few years until they get around to designing even faster ones?

    -MSD.dyndns.org [dyndns.org]
    "Sucks to your ass-mar"
  • What, relying on miracles at the process level wasn't more significant? :-)

    As I recall, they were doing all sorts of out-there things, such as a metal layer on the die that was "in the air" -- the rest of the surface was etched away around it to reduce sidewall capacitance or somesuch. Some aspects of their design were far too researchy to be viable for production, IMHO.

    But, then, I'm just a partially informed spectator, so what do I know?

    --Joe
    --
  • Why do probably intelligent people always suppose that someone that post on slashdot is clueless ?

    You should _read_ the post before replying. All parts of it.

    First: I talk about Mac OS X *Server* which is *NOT* a beta operating system.

    Second: The 16% figure in the first paragraph is not disk-based. It is clearly said that 'the very same (real life) code is faster on the Athlon,'. Real-life-code means compute intensive code with about zero call to the Operating system. I agree that it depends on compilers, but the very same (The gcc derivative furnished by *apple*) compiler was used with the very same options.

    Third: The file system perf paragraph is not based on a beta implementation of anything. I hate NT, but the startup boost on NT is very very noticable. I admit that it does not say anything about G4 (the processor). That is why it was not included in the 16% figure and deserved a different paragraph.

    Fourth: I watched the jobs demo. I *was* there. I attended to every Jobs demo in France since 1991, if this gives you a clue of anything. I know what jobs demo machines are. I touched some. (At this time there was a couple of dozen of person attending to the demos. It was even easy to talk with him before/after the demos)

    Fifth: When Jobs did the Photoshop demo, it weas clearly to prove that G4s were better than PIII. Not that altivec-enhanced-photoshop-on-probably-hacked-conf iguration is better than stock-photoshop-on-stock-NT-hardware

    I welcome you to re-read my post.

    I would love beeing able to say that G4 blows off K7/PIII, because I hate IA32 architecture. Ppc assembly is a beautifull thing, from an engeneering point of view. I deserve to kick ass of bloated IA32. But it don't, in my personal experience.

    Cheers,

    --fred
  • They would ship five in 2002.

  • So it's the marketing effect in action? Marketing geek: "someone else just released a great new revolutionary product. As a result, we need you engineers to design, test and impliment our version of the product before their's ships. Oh, by the way, we already announced ours is coming out in two weeks. Good luck"

    --
  • The Crusoe can change power consumption and clock speed on the fly depending on the demand for CPU power. Intel's "new" PIII just slows itself down when it's not running on AC power. The Crusoe is still quite a bit ahead of the competition.
  • Later they would be recalled

  • by AFCArchvile ( 221494 ) on Thursday October 12, 2000 @04:35PM (#709942)
    Personally, I like SpeedStep. With the Crusoe, you're going slow as hell all the time, because at a 600MHz clock, it performs like a P2 350. However, with the P3 SpeedStep, it limits itself to 500, then jumps up to the proper clock when you're plugged in. Also, you can override SpeedStep if you happen to get an extended battery pack or a weird long-life big-ass hybrid battery (I've heard of them on cameras, they should be useful for laptops). Of course, AMD won't be able to compete on the laptop front with Intel because the K6-2 just isn't fast enough, and the Athlon draws too much power. I've heard talk of a low-power Athlon for laptops, but I'll believe that when I see it.
  • by MousePotato ( 124958 ) on Thursday October 12, 2000 @05:15PM (#709943) Homepage Journal
    I have a Dell inspirion 7500 [dell.com] lappy whichi I bought in March/April of this year. For the most part it is a great machine and the PIII processor clocks at 500mhz when on battery power and 600 when plugged in. I can't tell any real performance difference between the two modes and the battery times feel the same as the inspirion 5000 that my wife has so I guess the speedstep thing is really pointless. The machine runs really hot and it is not something you would want to put on your lap per se. The screen is huge for a laptop but the drawback to this particular (the 7500) is that it is very heavy and when closed is about 2" thick. The plus is I have dragged this puppy all over and though it has had quite a beating in the 6 months I have had it is a real workhorse very capable as a desktop replacement.

  • (love the .sig)

    Anyway, did you do an EMC test on the heaters?
    If it's throwing off heat, it's either throwing off light or sub-luminal frequencies?
    In fact, just an "on" light would be good enough to destroy their claim!

    Phil
  • Since no one's mentioned it, AMD has a competing technology called "PowerNow!" You can read about it here [amd.com]

    It's already available in the K6-2/3+ line and should be available for the Athlon laptops sometime early next year.

    Unlike Intel's technology, PowerNow! users a gradient technology (though certainly not quite like Transmeta's level) instead of just fixed speed steppings.
  • by Anne Marie ( 239347 ) on Thursday October 12, 2000 @04:36PM (#709952)
    Who else could take something as technologically <sarcasm>innovative</sarcasm> as underclocking and give it a name like "Speedstep Technology". Just look at the phrase. It screams progress, when in fact it's a step down!
  • by mduell ( 72367 ) on Thursday October 12, 2000 @04:36PM (#709953)
  • I was wondering...just because it uses less electricity, does that mean it runs cooler as well? because, in the article, i didn't see anything about how cool this chip runs. The one big point with the crusoe is that it runs a LOT cooler than normal chips, so you have have smaller laptops/palmtops that don't need additional fans/heatsinks etc....does this new intel "speedstep" chip run cooler than the others as well?


We can found no scientific discipline, nor a healthy profession on the technical mistakes of the Department of Defense and IBM. -- Edsger Dijkstra

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