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Crusoe Awakens

Crusoe Awakens - PCSTATS
Abstract: Transmeta will be launching its Crusoe Mobile Processor January 19, 2000 and at the same time opening the gates to a flood of information.
Filed under: CPU / Processors Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Transmeta Jan 02 2000   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > CPU / Processors > Transmeta

Transmeta, a secretive upstart from silicon valley is set to launch it's Crusoe processor January 19, 2000. What can you expect to see. That is hard to say, all that is known is based on speculation. We drew together some of the predominate assumptions and offer them here in point form for the curious.

This 'secret message' was imbedded in the HTML of Transmeta's essentially blank, one-page website.


Our guess at the Crusoe Processor?

"Yes, there is a secret message, and this is it:
Transmeta's policy has been to remain silent about its plans
until it had something to demonstrate to the world.
On January 19th, 2000, Transmeta is going to announce and demonstrate
what Crusoe processors can do.
Simultaneously, all of the details will go up on this Web site
for everyone on the Internet to see.
Crusoe will be cool hardware and software for mobile applications.
Crusoe will be unconventional, which is why we wanted
to let you know in advance to come look at the entire Web site
in January, so that you can get the full story and have access to all
of the real details as soon as they are available."

What is known:
Transmeta has in its employ Linus Torvalds, inventor of linux and is run by CEO David Ditzel. The Crusoe Processor is intended for mobile applications.

Assumptions: The Crusoe Processor is believed to:

  • use a combination of hardware and software to transform x86 instructions into VLIW (Very Long Instruction Word) instructions enabling it to run faster then the original processor
  • inexpensively combine microprocessor and memory controller into a "morph host"
  • operate as a "generic processor engine" for any code (PowerPC, RISC, Pentium, Unix, etc.) by translating it into its own instructions on the fly
  • be able to run all existing Intel software
  • be 1/4 the size of existing Intel processors like the Pentium Pro
  • have a clock speed of no less than 400 MHz
  • be manufactured by IBM

Best quote:
"provides a microprocessor which is faster than microprocessors of the prior art, is capable of running all of the software for all of the operations systems which may be run by a large number of families of prior art microprocessors, yet is less expensive than prior art microprocessors."

Patent Information:
Transmeta has been granted several patent's which are fueling the speculation about its Crusoe Processor. They include;


US6011908: Gated store buffer for an advanced microprocessor

"A gated store buffer including circuitry for temporarily holding apart from other memory stores all memory stores sequentially generated during a translation interval by a host processor translating a sequence of target instructions into host instructions, circuitry for transferring memory stores sequentially generated during a translation interval to memory if the translation executes without generating an exception, circuitry for indicating which memory stores to identical memory addresses are most recent in response to a memory access at the memory address, and circuitry for eliminating memory stores sequentially generated during a translation interval if the translation executes without generating an exception."

US5958061: Host microprocessor with apparatus for temporarily holding target processor state

"Apparatus for use in a processing system having a host processor capable of executing a first instruction set to assist in running instructions of a different instruction set which is translated to the first instruction set by the host processor including circuitry for temporarily storing memory stores generated until a determination that a sequence of translated instructions will execute without exception or error on the host processor, circuitry for permanently storing memory stores temporarily stored when a determination is made that a sequence of translated instructions will execute without exception or error on the host processor, and circuitry for eliminating memory stores temporarily stored when a determination is made that a sequence of translated instructions will generate an exception or error on the host processor."
US5832205: Memory controller for a microprocessor for detecting a failure of speculation on the physical nature of a component being addressed
"A memory controller for a microprocessor including apparatus to both detect a failure of speculation on the nature of the memory being addressed, and apparatus to recover from such failures."
US5926832: Method and apparatus for aliasing memory data in an advanced microprocessor
"Apparatus and a method for storing data already stored at an often utilized memory address in registers local to a host processor and maintain the data in the registers and memory consistent so that the processor may respond more rapidly when a memory address is to be accessed."
US5905855: Method and apparatus for correcting errors in computer systems
"A computer implemented process for detecting errors in computer systems including the steps of executing sequences of instructions of a software program on each of a reference system and a test system, detecting and recording state of the reference system and the test system at comparable points in the execution of the program, and comparing the detected state of the reference system and the test system at selectable comparable points in the sequence of instructions including the end of the sequence of instructions. In a particular embodiment, the execution of portions of the sequence of instructions between selectable comparable points on each of the reference system and the test system is automatically replayed if a difference in compared state of the systems is detected."
Sources of information:
EDTN TIME EETIMES
The Register Red Harring The Register


 

Contents of Article: Transmeta

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