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AMD Invests $7.5M in Transmeta

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the death-ray-for-peaceful-purposes dept.

AMD 82

trouserless writes with the news that AMD has invested heavily in Transmeta. The power-conscious chip company has been financially ailing of late. AMD is taking payment in stock, binding the two companies (both with suits pending against Intel) together. PC World reports: "Transmeta did secure a few licensing deals, notably in Japan, but it also wracked up heavy losses. In January 2005 the vendor announced job cuts and said it would switch its focus to licensing its power management technology to other companies. Later that year Transmeta agreed to sell its Crusoe chips to Hong Kong company Culturecom Technology Ltd. for $15 million in cash. Last year's deal with AMD, to resell Transmeta chips in Microsoft Corp.'s pay-by-installment PC initiative, raised the vendor's prospects again. But in March Transmeta said it faced delisting from the Nasdaq because its stock price fell below $1 for more than 30 consecutive days."

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82 comments

peanuts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19773273)

7.5 mil is _nothing_

Re:peanuts (3, Insightful)

GizmoToy (450886) | more than 6 years ago | (#19774153)

It is practically nothing, but it's probably a good move on AMD's part. Intel's been basically running the show recently, and power consumption is becoming increasingly important. AMD will pick up some power-saving techniques that will help them compete with Intel down the road and will have paid very little for them.

in other news (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19773307)

i got fp, niggers.

"Invested heavily"? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19773319)

7 and a half million? Heavily? That's fucking nothing.

Re:"Invested heavily"? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19773825)

At a guess, that's probably a month of twos worth of payroll. Most second-round VC financing for an internet startup would produce more than $7.5m. AMD will probably write off more than $7.5m in a year (O.K, maybe not quite that much. Intel would, though)

Don't get your business news from Slashdot, kids.

remind you of anything?? (-1, Troll)

Dr Kool, PhD (173800) | more than 6 years ago | (#19773329)

Cough, cough... SCO... cough, cough.

Re:remind you of anything?? (1)

mashade (912744) | more than 6 years ago | (#19773495)

What? How? The fact that they both have law suits against Intel? I don't get it.

Re:remind you of anything?? (1)

Dr Kool, PhD (173800) | more than 6 years ago | (#19773711)

Microsoft's investment in SCO. They only kept SCO afloat to keep the lawsuits going... the same reason AMD seems to be investing in Transmeta -- to keep the Intel lawsuit going.

Re:remind you of anything?? (1)

DittoBox (978894) | more than 6 years ago | (#19774749)

Microsoft made SCO their tool/third-wheel/etc., and now AMD is doing the same with Transmeta however Transmeta and to a lesser degree AMD are the underdogs. In the case of SCO and Microsoft, they were the proverbial bullies fighting against Linux. Albeit IBM was no underdog, but it's almost an unfair comparison.

Re:remind you of anything?? (1)

jiushao (898575) | more than 6 years ago | (#19773747)

The suggestion is most likely that AMD is doing a random payout simply to keep Transmetas lawsuit against Intel going. Just like it has been argued that Microsoft did for SCO to support the lawsuit against various Linux companies (though I am personally not all that convinced about this theory either).

Re:remind you of anything?? (0, Troll)

cpm80 (899906) | more than 6 years ago | (#19773671)

You do intend to say that Intel reminds you of SCO, right? Because in the late 1990's Intel had a problem, their CPUs doubled as toaster ovens. Back then it wasn't a huge problem in desktops, but laptops based on Intel CPUs were roasting a lot of wieners. The solution, read Transmeta's patents to find out how to make chips run cool and save energy. Now after investing time and money to develop something new and non-obvious Transmeta has the nerve to sue Intel! Intel should be able to take (steal) what they want from lousy patent trolls (valid patent holders), make a ridiculous profit, and maintain their monopoly. There's just no justice anymore. Not for Intel, Paris Hilton, or Scooter Libby!

Re:remind you of anything?? (1)

jack455 (748443) | more than 6 years ago | (#19775807)

The post might be scathing, but it's not trollish. If I had points it would be "informative" because "sarcastic yet accurate" isn't available.

They seem to be nostalgic for the good old days because my Pentium D runs awful hot, even with an oversized Zalman CPU cooler running full speed.

Re:remind you of anything?? (1)

doom (14564) | more than 6 years ago | (#19780909)

Guys, come on: Mod Parent Up. Slap an "Interesting" on it, ("Informative" if you have reason to believe the information is correct.)

Anyone remember blacked out building windows (1)

cOdEgUru (181536) | more than 6 years ago | (#19773341)

And the Transmeta website that had nothing on it sans a "No hidden message here" text buried with in the html.

*Sigh*

Re:Anyone remember blacked out building windows (4, Funny)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#19773489)

Heh, they've fallen so far off the radar that Zonk doesn't realize there's a Transmeta topic [slashdot.org] !

Re:Anyone remember blacked out building windows (3, Funny)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#19774085)

I don't think Zonk's radar is much of a benchmark.

Re:Anyone remember blacked out building windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19775757)

And the Transmeta website that had nothing on it sans a "No hidden message here" text buried with in the html.

Pardon my French, but doesn't 'sans' mean 'without?'

not so fast-- (2, Interesting)

SolusSD (680489) | more than 6 years ago | (#19773353)

$7.5 million is nothing-- but Transmeta's stock is also worth close to nothing... this can only help their stock price. Damn! Should have bought.

Re:not so fast-- (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#19773959)

$7.5 million is nothing-- but Transmeta's stock is also worth close to nothing... this can only help their stock price. Damn! Should have bought.

"Twice nothing is still nothing,"

Re:not so fast-- (1)

cpm80 (899906) | more than 6 years ago | (#19783351)

There's a subtle difference between "close to nothing" and "nothing", e.g.:
12094 shares of Transmeta stock purchased 06/11/2007 - $3991.02
Market value of 12094 shares of Transmeta stock on 07/06/2007 - $11368.36
Watching your 2007 IRA contribution almost triple in less than a month - awesome (*aster*ard lawyers might be reading /.)

I never understood those deals... (1)

crovira (10242) | more than 6 years ago | (#19775191)

which seemed to sell the crown jewels off to some obscure company, which then disappears from public view and eventually went into receivership.

(And it happened to ParkPlace/Digitalk, [They were the originators of SmallTalk] which WAS a company I cared very deeply about. Some shareholders were left holding $17M worth of used toilet paper instead of the valued stock they originally bought. and ObjectShare went onto something else.)

Fucked up my OOPL(Smalltalk) consulting career but royally.

transmeta, ip licensing company? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19773371)

Does transmeta actually make anything any longer? or have they degraded to the license(old-stuff)-n-sue model.

Re:transmeta, ip licensing company? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19773751)

ARM is quite successful at licensing their architecture to other companies. I'd hardly call that a degrade. Of course, TMTA ... the underlying technology seemed cool, but "expensive, low speed x86 chip?" No thanks.

Nifty, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19773373)

Now make me a good embedded project board, including supplemental power from the vibration generators! I guess I should just buy the new board from make (only due to the 4 1-amp motor controllers). Well my 64 bit AMD processor runs my 32 bit windows great!

Makes sense... (5, Interesting)

vigmeister (1112659) | more than 6 years ago | (#19773395)

Intel's overwhelming mobile computing dominance probably left AMD with no alternative but to buy their way back into competition. It would be interesting if they expanded their GPU/CPU thing to mobile processors sooner because of this. Anyway, this spices things up for the near future given that Transmeta processors branded as AMD will gain better acceptance in the market in general.

Cheers!

Re:Makes sense... (4, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#19773557)

They'll still be slow though. Transmeta had an interesting idea with the dynamic recompilation stuff, but it never really panned out. Their chips were light on power consumption, but they were dog slow the first couple of times you ran a program, and then they only crawled up to barely acceptable. Also, Intel did a decent enough job bringing the power consumption down low enough on their Mobile chips that people were in the end willing to accept the shorter battery life for performance.

Also, it was difficult to even buy a Transmeta equipped laptop because many manufacturers have exclusive licenses with Intel or AMD that prevented them from ever seriously considering Transmeta chips in their laptops. Worse, there is really no practical way for a person to home-build a laptop, and people who build desktops generally want performance over power consumption. The processor market is a tough game to get into. They should feel pretty good for surviving this long.

Re:Makes sense... (2, Funny)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 6 years ago | (#19773811)

"Transmeta had an interesting idea with the dynamic recompilation stuff, but it never really panned out. Their chips were light on power consumption, but they were dog slow the first couple of times you ran a program, and then they only crawled up to barely acceptable."

The amazing thing to me is that people who were smart enough to make their own processor that can "emulate" another, weren't smart enough to realize that the performance would suck. Perhaps the original founders and investors got rich anyway.

Re:Makes sense... (1)

cpm80 (899906) | more than 6 years ago | (#19783087)

I just got back from Frys and couldn't find any CPU's that natively execute x86 instructions. Can you tell me where I can purchase a CPU (manufactured this millennium) that natively executes x86 instructions? I don't want to get one that *emulates* x86 and end up with performance that *sucks*. "Do you think that's air you're breathing now?" -Morpheus

Mod parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19786753)

AFAIK, no modern "x86" CPU is actually internally compatible with i80x86 instructions.

It will serve the discussion well to have this comment moderated up a bit, such that someone who -does- know differently will be more likely to see it and elaborate on the subject.

Even though it is late in the game.

Re:Makes sense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19775909)

I'd have to agree with the naysayers. This is a rather futile gesture on AMD's part methinks. Intel is more likely to have the equipment/electronics knowhow/yield for making lower power chips that can go faster. If there are some less expensive optimizations that AMD can deliver in the near future, maybe they can eat into more of Intel's marketshare, but I doubt it. That's assuming Intel doesn't try to advance another revolutionary, bad idea like IA64. Best thing for AMD to do is find a way to make more power-efficient chips faster and more cheaply.

Re:Makes sense... (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 6 years ago | (#19777345)

Intel's overwhelming mobile computing dominance probably left AMD with no alternative but to buy their way back into competition.

Wow, that's an incredibly stupid thing to say.

AMD doesn't have the fastest chips anymore, but that's never of interest in the mobile space anyhow. AMD still have the lowest-power mobile chips, which is huge... In fact, that's exactly why Intel has been so dominate there for so long, despite far higher prices, and relatively low performance.

Intel has a bigger share of the laptop market than AMD, but that's been true forever, and more importantly, AMD holds a bigger share of it now than they ever have before.

Re:Makes sense... (1)

vigmeister (1112659) | more than 6 years ago | (#19780705)

AMD still have the lowest-power mobile chips, which is huge... In fact, that's exactly why Intel has been so dominate there for so long, despite far higher prices, and relatively low performance
That makes NO sense whatsoever. As the laptop market is constantly growing, anyone with a chip out there is bound to gain market share. But given that AMD is lagging far behind Intel in this field, they probably needed access to some good design cheap and quick to avoid losing focus on Barca. At the end of the day, by buying Transmeta, what are they trying to do but buy their way to competence in the mobile computing market? Why are they doing it? Because they feel it is the best way to compete with Intel. I am only trying to guess as to their motivations for the buy. You on the other hand seem to think that AMD did not need to buy Transmeta and are challenging the company's decision (one that a lot of people are touting as a win-win situation). I'll go with the 'AMD did the right thing' theory. Feel free to present a non-self-contradicting argument.

Cheers!

Re:Makes sense... (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 6 years ago | (#19785263)

But given that AMD is lagging far behind Intel in this field, they probably needed access to some good design cheap and quick to avoid losing focus on Barca.

AMD doesn't NEED much of anything in this space. Their mobile chips are quite good... Better than Intel at present.

You on the other hand seem to think that AMD did not need to buy Transmeta and are challenging the company's decision

There can be millions of reasons AMD would buy Transmeta. You act as if the obvious reason you can think of is the one and only... That's just ridiculous speculation on your part, and is in direct conflict with reality.

The fact that your specific reasoning doesn't match the facts, does not mean there weren't many other possible reasons for AMD to buy Transmeta. I am not going speculate on what those reasons may be. It could well be several things that aren't even available in the public record.

"wracked up"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19773611)

My dictionary only lists "wrack" as a noun...

Glad to see if Transmeta can get along with ... (1)

lalleglad (39849) | more than 6 years ago | (#19773637)

When Linus joined Transmeta I was really pleased to hear about what they had to offer wrt. technologies that did powersaving (540MHz at 1W) and flexible architecture emulating with the core architecture based on VLIW.

Since Intel haven't really gotten off with their own VLIW architecture in Merced, which is really disappointing since it is the natural next step towards "HW is something that can be emulated in SW" where the only thing HW provides basically is calculation at higher speeds. I'm not downplaying the importance of that, but let's get the task division straight

So, here's to hoping that this investment can further Transmeta's ideas, and I'll again look into buying AMD CPUs :-)

Emulation also served AMD well in the past (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 6 years ago | (#19908397)

speaking of AMD CPUs and Transmeta back in the early AMD64 days, Transmeta's software microcode and on the fly instruction set-to-VLIW recompile (codemorphing) had been put into use to emulate AMD64 so it could be thoroughly tested before the actual chip could be available.

This helped testing that the 64bit work done for other architecture behaved well for AMD64 and contributed to the fact that AMD64 was supported from the very first day the chip went out of the factory.

In addition to the ultra-low power consumption offered by the RISC design, codemorphing is also a very interesting piece of technology to beta-test new instruction sets before the actual hardware is produced by the fab (even if the emulation on VLIW is slower, it's still a lot less slow than 100% software emulation, and it's cheaper than FPGA - given the high number of transistors in modern CPUs).

AMD can even be doing this on purpose. While Intel is just multiplying the number of cores and basically substituting s/gigahertz/number of cores/ in all their marketing material, AMD are planning a lot of interesting stuff for their AM2 socket, with Torenza initiative and similar : the GPU-in-CPU units and similar on-CPU stream processing vector units (à la Cell processor) offers a lot of new possibility, but will also require a lot of development from the software programmer in order to fully harness the possibility.
Having Transmeta still around is handy, because it opens the possibility of having not so expensive and not too much slow kits to test and develop for newer instruction sets, while the actual hardware is still being developed on.

The real news... (1)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#19773665)

The real news is that Transmeta is still in business. 5 years ago I joined a company that was using Transmeta chips for their primary product. The chips were really slow, even slower than their MHz rating would suggest. We were the only company that I was aware of that were using Transmeta chips at all.

Re:The real news... (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#19774101)

I had a Sony micro-laptop with a Transmeta Crusoe CPU. Which also ran darn slow. The tradeoff was supposed to be reduce power consumption, but the thing actually gobbled up power pretty quickly.

Re:The real news... (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#19775483)

Their business model failed to take into account the fact that CPUs are not responsible for more than 25% (and usually less than that). If you cut the power consumption of the CPU by 50%, you cut the power consumption of the laptop by 12.5%. Would you pay a premium for 14% more battery life? In practice it was closer to 10%, and sometimes even less.

Man, they should feel gypped... (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 6 years ago | (#19773669)

...SCO got a LOT more money outta Microsoft for a similar stunt...

(Maybe the semiconductor industry doesn't carry the same amount of chair-throwing passion among its leadership that software does? I'm actually curious now).

/P

Re:Man, they should feel gypped... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19780571)

SCO's case was...
* Super drawn out to the point people got sick of hearing it
* SCO never clarified exactly what they were basing their claims on, changed accusations mid course, did a bunch of smear campaigns
* Used FUD to sell safe harbor licenses, got funding from Microsoft which obviously has its interests

Transmeta's & AMD's lawsuits are still too early to see if it will turn up into anything like SCO.

Obviously, not all lawsuits are the same so the comparisons aren't valid at this point.

AMD, the crappy Voltron (4, Funny)

Aqua OS X (458522) | more than 6 years ago | (#19773745)

What's up with merging and investing in all these second tier companies? It's like AMD is trying to form some sort of crappy corporate Voltron.

Re:AMD, the crappy Voltron (1, Funny)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 6 years ago | (#19774751)

No kidding. They can't even form blazing sword yet.

Re:AMD, the crappy Voltron (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19779839)

Apparently, some poor Slashdot mod has never seen Voltron.

Or maybe they're just ashamed to admit they have.

Re:AMD, the crappy Voltron (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19777633)

I for one welcome our giant Japanese robotic overlords... if they weren't crappy.

Incorrect assertion (4, Informative)

Jacques Chester (151652) | more than 6 years ago | (#19773941)

TFA says Transmeta shot to prominence due to Crusoe. This is wrong; Transmeta shot to prominence because it hired Linus Torvalds and refused to talk about what it was doing.

Interesting (1)

Azuma Hazuki (955769) | more than 6 years ago | (#19773973)

Yes, this should be interesting to watch...I wonder if AMD is spreading itself too thin, but as a low-power and small-form-factor enthusiast I would be very interested in seeing what comes out of this, if anything. I would love a CPU that can power down to single-digits-of-watts in a low-power state.

Re:Interesting (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 6 years ago | (#19776125)

I would love a CPU that can power down to single-digits-of-watts in a low-power state.

You mean like a VIA C7?

Sure, we won't have the performance of today's 130 watt monsters in an 8 watt chip for a while, but you can sure get the performance of a slow Pentium IV in only a couple of watts.

Ok now I know we're in bubble (4, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 6 years ago | (#19773981)

Transmeta, the company with some quite amazing chip technology (do you know how it translates microcode on the software level to simplify hardware etc? pretty exciting stuff) was left in the position of a patent troll.

Investing 7.5 million in Transmetta is called "investing heavily".

YouTube, a company built on nothing (it's just a damn site for low res flash videos), that didn't make a dollar profit before google bought it, costed 1.8 billion.

A typical startup investment from a VC is around 3-10 million dollars and that's not "heavily" at all..

So with numbers that distorted, I know now: we're in a very fragile bubble right now, and when it burst, it'll be ugly. Uglier than before.

blog. $$$ (1)

jfisherwa (323744) | more than 6 years ago | (#19774401)

I am a VC and would like to invest $50 million (FIFTY MILLION US DOLLARS) in your blog, please.

Re:blog. $$$ (4, Funny)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 6 years ago | (#19774871)

I am a VC and would like to invest $50 million (FIFTY MILLION US DOLLARS) in your blog, please.

50 million?! Do I look like I'm desperate here. Try better next time.

Re:Ok now I know we're in bubble (1)

SashaMan (263632) | more than 6 years ago | (#19774425)

That's called capitalism, and has nothing to do with being in a bubble. It doesn't matter how cool your technology is, if people don't want to buy it, your company is worth nothing. Transmeta may have some awesome technology, but in the end their chips were too slow and Intel/AMD did a lot of catch up on the power side. YouTube may be simple technology, but it has millions of viewers and is the #1 destination when people think about video on the web.

While I don't necessarily disagree that the YouTube price is too high, don't make the common technologist's mistake of thinking that great technology should equal big profits.

Re:Ok now I know we're in bubble (1)

Guy Harris (3803) | more than 6 years ago | (#19775195)

do you know how it translates microcode on the software level to simplify hardware etc?

No, I don't. I do, however, know that they had software that ran on the chip that translated x86 machine code (not microcode) to native VLIW code and ran the resulting code.

Not a bubble (1)

p3d0 (42270) | more than 6 years ago | (#19800121)

The P/E of the S&P 500 is 21 right now. Bond yields are 5% (a P/E of 20), so the market is a bit over-valued, but I wouldn't call it a "very fragile bubble".

Opteron redux (3, Insightful)

ghoul (157158) | more than 6 years ago | (#19774919)

The success of the Opteron came out of the DEC Alpha teams AMD hired away from Compaq. Now AMD is going to get the Transmeta innovations. Intel spends gobs of money on internal research to come up with new innovations. AMD being smaller cant spend the same so it is constantly on the prowl for talented researchers working at companies going down the drain and buys up the innovations at bargain basement prices and in this way manages to match Intel in the innovation game. Expect something as big as the Opteron was to come out in 2 years time.

Re:Opteron redux (3, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#19775515)

Intel got a load of Alpha designers too (and a load of PA-RISC architects, who went to work on Itanium). This situation is different. The Alpha was a great architecture, which was killed by management who bet on Itanium. The people leaving Digital/Compaq/HP were those responsible for a chip that had held the performance crown for about a decade. Transmeta doesn't have anything like the same amount of talent. They had some interesting ideas, but not one chip that could really compete in any area (even the low power usage was more hype than reality).

Re:Opteron redux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19791795)

The Alpha was a good architecture but what made Alphas great was the engineering talent in the implementations: nothing else could touch their clockspeeds. Maybe Intel expected those guys to do the same kind of magic no matter what the architecture?

Re:Opteron redux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19777063)

"Expect something as big as the Opteron was to come out in 2 years time."

Hahaha. Yes, maybe, but definitely not because they bought shares in Transmeta...

Are softcores the future? (1)

asm2750 (1124425) | more than 6 years ago | (#19775265)

Probably, probably not. Transmeta did show one thing, softcores might viable, and if thats true, chances are we might be buying from either Xilinx or Altera for our processor, and then deciding if we should use a AMD, Intel, or a custom implementation from opencores.org.

Boy I wish that would happen.

Possibly, but not x86 (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#19776311)

If you're doing a soft core then why limit yourself to x86? Just about everybody offers well optimised ARM soft cores - and some are free (ne extra IP costs).

By the way: THere's a hell of a big difference between a VLIW emulator and a soft core.

Re:Possibly, but not x86 (1)

imgod2u (812837) | more than 6 years ago | (#19777251)

The main reason x86 is around is the software base. This isn't going to change with softcores. What will happen is that bugs associated with the more obscure/complex parts of x86 that aren't performance critical (and/or not covered by testing) can be fixed after release rather than forcing a recall. Certain features can also be updated for a speed boost. There'll still be dedicated logic (adders, multipliers, etc.) but the routing logic between these macroblocks can be entirely programmable. You'll be buying designs from Intel and updating the silicon chip you have.

Re:Possibly, but not x86 (1)

morethanapapercert (749527) | more than 6 years ago | (#19782009)

Is it just me, or is there indeed a possibility of developing a subscription model for hardware as well as software? Think about it, when you combine the advances in 3D printing, boutique fabrication technologies and the like. You buy the few components that cannot be readily manufactured with your 3D multi-material printer (case, mobo etc) and buy the more complex parts according to some complex licensing model. e.g. you buy the base chip which comes bundled with a design license. That license entitles you to regular updates and upgrades from the chip vendor as long as you pay the subscription fee. This of course leads to the potential for hardware pirates, who invest in increasingly sophisticated fab equip to sell copies of the chip without all that annoying R&D overhead and the original developers and vendors expending a lot of effort to make sure only authentic processors are able to access those updates. While there are undoubtedly numerous advantages to a processor technology that can be modified after the customer installs it, I can also see a lot of potential Bad Things:
1)Hardware vendors building designs with the same mindset sloppy software designers have: "It's buggy, but only a fraction of our customers will be affected, ship it anyway and we'll fix it in the next update.
2)three words : Intel Genuine Advantage
3)The possibility that an update totally bricks your hardware. The chance that an update will hose a software package has always existed. I.T. folk who know what they are doing rarely roll out those updates as soon as they are released. They wait, install it on the test lab set-up, check the industry news to see if anyone else got screwed over by it, deploy it to selected segments individually and so on. However, the few test labs I have seen are underfunded and run very simplified versions of the main network and are usually hosted on the older equipment that was taken out of the production system because it couldn't keep up with the load. If your production system uses this re-configurable chips, your test lab would have to be identical to the production system in almost every way.
4)If some black hat were to develop a way to re-write part of your CPU to do his bidding, I don't think any software in the world could have a chance to detect and change that. We'd need a whole new industry based on known good hardware being able to check the underlaying hardware. One way of doing that would be to incorporate a rock-solid, utterly reliable component within the chip whose sole job is to check the integrity and function of the re-configurable portions. However, by definition, that part would have to be impossible to modify, which means any new functions you want to add have to be designed so that they can still pass the integrity checks. If the legitimate designers can create new functions that pass the integrity checks, then so can the black hats. In short, we'd have the perpetual arms race between black hats and white hats that we see in the software world. If you think that gets hairy, imagine trying to protect yourself against blended threats, a hardware rewrite and a software package, each innocuous in itself that cannot be detected/defeated by common tools because each does nothing really wrong but when working together owns your system. To prevent this, you'd have to lock your system down against any and all changes and have some kind of checksum or known good image to compare to, something that would make the whole updatable hardware concept much harder to execute and perhaps even pointless to implement.

I for one... (4, Interesting)

CautionaryX (1061226) | more than 6 years ago | (#19775307)

...am glad that AMD is investing money in Transmeta. Transmeta had some interesting concepts that if applied correctly (without the x86 emulation) would probably revolutionize processors where mobility and power savings count a lot more than all out performance like pocket PCs and really small laptops. I'd bet that it'll work even better on mobile graphics though. Dedicated video cards suck up battery life like a sponge, if the power consumption on those can be greatly reduced when not running visually intense programs... ah the possibilities.

And you thought I'd make one of those overlord comments.

Linus is right (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19776439)

I am with Linus on this one.

Re:Linus is right (1)

doom (14564) | more than 6 years ago | (#19780961)

Dude, if you're going to troll for karma you need to get an account.

Otherwise, a brilliant move, I have to say. I should write a bot that posts that line once a day and see how much karma it racks up.

slow processor (1)

wikinerd (809585) | more than 6 years ago | (#19790937)

I have two Transmeta Crusoe Flybooks [flybook.biz] and they are very slow compared to PM processors of equal GHz. The company and the technology is interesting, but I am afraid the Crusoe processor has failed to deliver any advantages to the customer. Unless Transmeta can build a faster CPU, people won't buy their products. The CPU is not the only component using up power. Why should we invest so much research in energy efficient CPUs while we still use storage with moving parts (HDDs)? Why not invest all of our resources in researching and implementing better batteries?
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