Transmeta Demos 90nm Efficeon at 2.0GHz

Despite the negative news reports regarding Transmeta in the mainstream media, the unique chip manufacturer actually had a more interesting (from a PC perspective) booth than AMD.

The most impressive demonstration at Transmeta was of a 2.0GHz, 25W, 90nm Efficeon. The clock speed alone was impressive, considering that the fastest Efficeon demo we'd seen previously was at 1.6GHz. The other part of the demo that was impressive was the test itself: a 6Mbit WMV HD playback test with no GPU assistance.

WMV HD (1080p) playback is one of the most stressful playback tests you can run on a PC, and the fact that the Efficeon is able to handle it is a huge feather in Transmeta's cap.

The demo also monitored clock speed, which ranged from 1.2GHz up to 2.0GHz, with the majority of the playback happening with the CPU at 1.4/1.6GHz. While 1.6GHz Efficeon products are available today, 2.0GHz offerings should be hitting the streets before the end of the year. For the first time we were actually impressed with the level of performance from a Transmeta CPU, but we'd actually like to put it head to head with a Dothan based Pentium M to see how strong the performance really is.

According to Transmeta, the 2.0GHz Efficeon is comparable in overall performance to a 3.0GHz Pentium 4. The WMV HD decode test does back up Transmeta's claims, but it's still a tough pill to swallow given Transmeta's prior performance history.

Transmeta had a Sharp ultraportable on display that was also quite impressive:

The notebook is extremely tiny but has a keyboard that is barely manageable if you have small hands. But if you've got average sized hands then you'll find yourself cramped for space and if you have big hands then this is definitely not the notebook for you.

The screen itself is pretty small and it can be hard to read the default sized text in Windows:

But you can't beat the portability of the notebook, something that Intel has come close to doing with the Pentium M but most of those designs end up being far too conservative compared to what we've seen from the Transmeta camp:

There was an Efficeon media center based platform at the Transmeta booth as well, but it ran MythTV and not XP Media Center Edition. We are curious to see if the Efficeon performs well enough to run a MCE PC as smoothly as some of the higher end AMD and Intel offerings.

AMD's Booth: A lot of Alchemy and Flash The CPU and Chipset Marketplace


View All Comments

  • quanta - Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - link

    Isn't DLP design rather unreliable? After all, it involves mechanically moving millions of microscopic mirrors to create brightness, and there is no easy way to oil these tiny joints when the chip gets old. Since each mirror is moving thousand of times a second, dead pixels can develop rather quickly. As a side effect of moving all these mirror, won't the chips get noisy as well? Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - link

    Heh, as soon as I read the bit about mobo manufacturers confirming what most of us already know; that nVidia has abandoned SoundStorm and it will not be returning in anything like its original form (DD encoding) in the forseeable future.

    Just because the Inq reports on something doesn't make it gospel truth, much of what they post is rumours and they have been known to be wrong in the past ;) As for the nVidia chairman saying SS is returning in a surprising form, that could mean just about anything except what some people here are hoping for. A return of the original SS or an updated version of it would be totally unsurprising so he is effectively ruling that out.

    Could one of the SS zealots who believes it will make a return with PCIe please explain to me why it needs more bandwidth than what PCI can provide? Surely if the card is doing all the encoding, all that needs to be sent to it is the raw audio data which is minimal. Even the very highest quality 8-channel 32-bit 192khz sampling-rate uncompressed audio needs under 6MB/s of bandwidth which is easily handled by PCI, so I fail to understand why PCIe would make a difference. If there were sufficient consumer demand for a DD encoder, somebody would have already made one for PCI, so you're deluding yourself if you think the only reason they aren't available is that it needs the increased bandwidth offered by PCIe. Unless of course you have evidence which suggests otherwise and I'd be interested in reading it.

    Rather than waiting for the return of SS, I suggest you buy a few decent cables and hook up your soundcard to your amplifier the normal way. Provided the soundcard has decent DACs, you'll enjoy higher quality sound than anything SoundStorm's dolby-digital output could provide.
  • linuxOwnzIfUrLeet - Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - link


    It's at sam's club:

    It's made by infocus.

    The web shows "InFocus® ScreenPlay 4805" but I'm not sure the 4805 was the one. Their web is not the same stuff as what you have in the store.
  • bob661 - Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - link

    I was going to ask the same thing.

    SS is dead. Move on, nothing to see here.
  • OrSin - Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - link

    14# Where can I get a 76 DLP for 1400.
    Shit where can I get decent 76" HD of any kind of for $1400. I live in the USA. I really want to know. My 42in Toshiba HD is not cutting it and it cost me $1000.
  • xxeper - Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - link

    I love how you talk about how "bulky" the Windows Mobile [PocketPC, MPx] are while at the same time basically petting and licking the Windows Mobile smartphone [C500]. Did you even bother to pick up the BENq or iMat Jam phones? or were you too busy whispering sweet nothings to your P.O.S. Audiovox? Reply
  • Live - Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - link


    The X800 you are linking to costs 450$ when its supposed to sell for 250$. and only that brand is available.
  • Zebo - Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - link

    AMD was curiously quiet throughout the show,
    Speak Softly and carry a big stick.:)
  • RyanVM - Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - link

    #9, I read the exact same thing in Maximum PC three months ago. Reply
  • shinotenshi - Monday, January 10, 2005 - link

    The design team was disbanded, however many sources have already reported that the team was reconstitued. The design won't be finished by luck would have it, at the time the sony ps3 is done. As i said before, i don't this is a coincidence. the interest of sony(ps3,blu-ray) and nvidia(pushing pci-e, other markets, consumer, pci-e sound cards), are converging. If they can build a chip that can encode either DD++ or DTS+++ it would be an econnomic windfall. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now