Fujitsu Turns to Transmeta’s Crusoe to Extend Battery Life

Fujitsu PC Corp. Monday became the second computer manufacturer to jump on the Transmeta Corp. Crusoe processor bandwagon.

Fujitsu will use the battery life-extending Crusoe processor in two notebook computers — the FM Biblo Loox S and the FM Biblo Loox T — due out in early November. The FM Biblo Loox S is a mobile communication PC which weighs 2.2 pounds, measures 9.5″ x 5.9″ x1.2,” and has full Internet and Windows capabilities. The battery will allow up to eight hours of mobile use. The FM Biblo Loox T is a mobile multimedia PC with a built-in DVD player, weighing 3.3 pounds and measuring 10.3″ x 7.2″ x 1.2.” The battery allows for more than seven hours of mobile use.

Transmeta designed the Crusoe with mobile computing in mind. Most processors used in notebooks are the same as processors used in desktops. Rather than implementing the entire x86 processor in hardware, the Crusoe processor consists of a compact hardware engine surrounded by a software layer known as Code Morphing software. The hardware component is a simple, high-performance, low-power VLIW (Very Long Instruction Word) engine with an instruction set that does not resemble x86 processors. Instead, the Code Morphing software “morphs” or translates the x86 instructions programs use into the hardware engine’s native instruction set.

The Code Morphing technology translates blocks of x86 instructions once and saves the translation in a translation cache. The next time the code is executed the system skips the translation step and directly executes the existing optimized translation at full speed. Transmeta said this approach eliminates about one-quarter of the logic transistors required for an all-hardware design with similar performance. This in turn reduces the processor’s power consumption, without sacrificing performance. For instance, Transmeta said a Crusoe processor running a software DVD, without any cooling, runs at 118 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, the company said a conventional “mobile” processor can heat to 221 degrees Fahrenheit if not aggressively cooled.

Sony Corp., which announced earlier this month that it would use the Crusoe in its new VAIO PictureBook C1VN, said the Crusoe would nearly double the battery life of its new notebook.

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