‘Thin’ Is In For HP on Transmeta

Despite its fondness for using Intel chips, Hewlett-Packard said Monday that it will use Transmeta processors in its next round of thin clients .

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based computer and printer maker said it will use the 533MHz and 733MHz TM5800 x86 compatible Crusoe processors in two new HP Compaq strip down desktops — the HP Compaq t5300 and t5500.

The units are being marketed to enterprise, government and education customers who are looking for low cost, energy efficient thin clients that are reliable and quiet.

The two companies have worked before, most notably their marquee chip-to-Tablet supply deal for Compaq Evo Tablet PCs. An HP spokesperson said the company specifically wanted the Crusoe chips because, “it runs Microsoft Windows CE.NET the best in low-power environments.”

“The growing family of HP thin clients designed around the Crusoe processor underscores the industry’s desire for a high-performance thin client at compelling prices,” Art Swift, senior vice president of marketing, Transmeta Corporation said in a statement. “The low thermal characteristics of the Transmeta Crusoe processor allow HP to design extremely small enclosures without the need for cooling fans.”

Outside of its Crusoe chips, Santa Clara, Calif.-based Transmeta is also positioning its TM8000 or ” Efficeon” processor for use in a gamut of devices ranging from ultra-light notebooks to high-density blade servers.

All told, the enterprise thin client market is becoming one of the fastest growing in the server market. Analyst firm IDC says blades continue to grow at a solid 22.8 percent compounded rate with a forecast of 1.86 million units for 2004 and an expected 3.4 million units to ship in 2007.

“These adoption rates are understandable when you consider that the thin client space has a compelling value proposition for the enterprise market and that they can be effortlessly deployed in volume, and are easily maintained, which results in a lower total cost of ownership,” said IDC analyst Bob O’Donnell.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified thin clients as blade servers.

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