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Thread: Transmeta: A Missed Opportunity

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    I shall never tire... BEANFro Elite's Avatar
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    Transmeta: A Missed Opportunity

    Yep, i know they're long dead, but, i remember about 6 months ago, Frosty and i were discussing what transmeta should have done to survive, i said. "i think that transmeta instead of taking AMD and Intel head on, they should have instead acquired the skills, rights and licenses to produce budget versions of intel and AMD's cpus".

    And i mean budget, where they skimp on materials so that 3.2GHz really is 3.2GHz and you really couldn't overclock it because the materials were sooo budget.

    i think transmeta would have been very popular if they did this...they would be excellent for OEM PCs, great for cash strapped people who want the performance of a high end cpu but the cost of a celeron and they would have been Tiny, Dell and Time's best friend.

    it worked with graphics cards to a degree, thanks to the likes of powercolour and connect 3d yes i am aware that still only use nvidia or ati's reference specs for their cards but they are allowed to skimp on areas such documentation, free games, ram and cooling solutions etc.

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    Now with added sobriety Rave's Avatar
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    What gave you the idea that they're dead?

    http://www.transmeta.com/

    In any case, you're getting confused between making chips and making boards. Powercolor buy the GPUs from ATI (they're actually made in Taiwan by TSMC, I believe) and then put them on a board in their own factory. They don't make the GPU themselves.

    Rich :¬)

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    Will work for beer... nichomach's Avatar
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    I see what you're getting at, Beanfro, but I don't think AMD or Intel would issue licenses like that since despite all our attention being on the bestest fastestest flagship CPUs, your P4 EEs, Athlon FXs and the like, their bread and butter is the low to mid-end, so allowing Transmeta to produce those chips'd cut the legs out from under them.

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    I shall never tire... BEANFro Elite's Avatar
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    you've both missed my point, transmeta started out making cpus for notebooks, and some desktops, i know they're still around but they're now only making cpus for mobile phones, pdas and that sort of thing.

    i don't think amd and intel would have much to fear if they sold their licenses to transmeta as the cpus they'd make would be essentially unoverclockable to any significant levels.

    and am i wrong in thinking that a lot have spent a lot of money on highend cpus and cooling solutions, because they like the legroom they're give for overclocking, thats me all over.

    and no i'm confused graphics boards, that was just an example of the way things could have been if transmeta had done things my way.

    its sad when you think that your pc user does not overclock their hardware putting it to waste let alone their money, we all know that overclocking stuff is the work of us hardcore gaming elites...

    so as long as highend OEM companies like alienware exists and i believe theres a fair few, the amd and intel still stand make a lot of money.

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    Now with added sobriety Rave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BEANFro Elite
    you've both missed my point, transmeta started out making cpus for notebooks, and some desktops, i know they're still around but they're now only making cpus for mobile phones, pdas and that sort of thing.
    Nope. They're still targeting the notebook market.

    You're missing the point here. A quick google reveals that Transmeta's chips are actually made by TSMC, and for the new 90nm chips, Fujitsu. They don't actually have any chip making facilities themselves, and so couldn't manufacture licenced designs from Intel/AMD even if they wanted to.

    Intel almost certainly have the most advanced chip fabs in the world; they keep investing in newer and smaller process technologies partly to make the chips faster, but also so that they can fit more dies on a wafer and thus reduce the cost per chip. Nobody could make a chip cheaper than Intel just by cutting corners in the manufacturing process. Ditto AMD- their one fab is probably not as advanced as Intels, but they have a strategic partnership with IBM to licence their technology like SOI.

    Rich :¬)

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    i stand corrected, but you can see where i was going with what i was saying though...

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    Now with added sobriety Rave's Avatar
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    I agree it would be nice to be able to buy clone processors from third party manufacturers at cheap prices. Unfortunately, that was a possibility 15-20 years ago, but it's not now. Only the real big boys who can invest billions in state of the art fabs can play the game. AMD used to just reverse engineer Intel chips and sell their own version cheaper. The courts told them to stop that though, hence they designed the K6. Had that not been a success, there's a good possibility that Intel would have had the entire x86 market to themselves.

    I still believe that there's a market for Transmeta (and Via) chips. If they can produce (and market successfully) small, cheap and low power chips, then there will be a big market for embedded aplications, developing countries etc. I'm sitting at work in front of a 2.66GHz P4 desktop, but in all honesty there's nothing I do here that I couldn't manage with a 1GHz Via Centaur, as long as it had lots of RAM, speedy hard disk etc. The P4 pumps out 50+ watts even when it's idling, which is a bit of a waste considering there are hundreds of them in the building.

    Rich :¬)

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    The point that they wouldn't overclock is irrelevant, 90% of people who buy a PC don't even know what the term overclock means, the word Intel however they're very familiar with it means quality and reliability whether it truly means that or not, transmeta would've never succeeded if they attempted your suggestion lacking the marketting power plus why would AMD and Intel do that, they already have their own value cpu's why would they give market share away, your idea is completely flawed in every area and no, i don't see what you're getting at.

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    Goron goron Kumagoro's Avatar
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    There needs to be a £20 chip doesnt there like the old duron was. Its a pity intel doesnt make dirt cheap P3 cores for that kind of market. What is the cheapest easily available chip now?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kumagoro
    There needs to be a £20 chip doesnt there like the old duron was. Its a pity intel doesnt make dirt cheap P3 cores for that kind of market. What is the cheapest easily available chip now?
    Sempron 2200+ come in at about £30.

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    Now with added sobriety Rave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kumagoro
    There needs to be a £20 chip doesnt there like the old duron was. Its a pity intel doesnt make dirt cheap P3 cores for that kind of market. What is the cheapest easily available chip now?
    AFAIK they're already selling a cacheless version of the Celeron-M called the Shelton for developing markets like china. I don't think it's sold as a seperate processor, just integrated into all in one type boards, a bit like the Via Mini-ITXs.

    Rich :¬)

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