Linked by Nicholas Blachford on Sun 10th Feb 2002 17:37 UTC
Editorial "This will end up being one of the world's worst investments, I'm afraid," - David House, former Intel chief of corporate strategy said in the early 1990s. I've been fasinated by microprocessors for years and have been following the Merced debacle since back in 1994 when HP and Intel announced they were getting together to make some amazing new technology.
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Exposing VLIW
by longjohn on Tue 12th Feb 2002 13:22 UTC

There are two reasons Transmeta doesn't expose the underlying VLIW engine in Crusoe. First, they don't have to convince anyone to port to Crusoe. Second, they can change the underlying architecture and code generator without having to recompile applications. It also allows them to optimize the architecture for emulation / interpretation of x86 code instead of as a general purpose processor.

If Transmeta can survive and prosper they will eventually adopt x86-64 because that architecture is a lot more friendly for translation into RISC-like code than x86. There are enough registers to avoid storing temporary values on the stack and they are large enough to avoid most multi-precision arithmetic.

Whether they ever expose the underlying engine will depend on thier experience. If they find that a particular architecture works well so they aren't changing it all the time and they find that there is a fundamental issue with x86 translation and Crusoe becomes popular enough then they might. However, I doubt that will happen. Since they have made a virtue out of a problem (x86 compatibility), there just isn't much upside to exposing the engine.