New Transmeta chip shows Athlon64 flair

Transmeta's TM8000 chip will feature an entirely new architecture, executives say, but it will also share some design ideas with the upcoming Athlon64 from Advanced Micro Devices. The TM8000, formerly known as the Astro, will feature an integrated Northbridge, a typically separate chip that connects the processor to memory, and it will connect to other components through HyperTransport, a high-speed chip-to-chip link, according to John Heinlein, director of system marketing at Transmeta.

The Athlon64 will similarly come with an integrated memory controller and HyperTransport links. Additionally, the TM8000 will sport an entirely new processing core, the cerebrum of a computer's processor, Heinlein added. "The TM8000 is going to deliver very, very competitive performance," Heinlein said.

Integrating the Northbridge and adopting HyperTransport essentially cuts out the bottlenecks inside today's PCs. In current computers, the processor sends signals across a relatively slow bus, or data path, to the Northbridge, which in turn traverses another slow bus to retrieve data from memory before returning again. Integrating the memory controller gets rid of the first buses. And HyperTransport runs at 400MHz, faster than similar commuter lanes used inside computers today.

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News source: c|net

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