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Transmeta licenses Long Run2 technology to NEC

Posted: 30 Mar 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:power consumption? transmeta? nec electronics? semiconductor? transistor?

Transmeta Corp. agreed on Thursday (March 25, 2004) to license its LongRun2 power management technology to NEC Electronics, which will use the technology in its 90-, 65-, and 45nm generation products to lower power consumption.

The companies also announced that NEC Electronics has purchased less than 2 percent of Transmeta's common stock as part of Transmeta's 25 million share common stock offering. "NEC Electronics wants to maintain a long-term relationship with Transmeta. To reinforce it and to have a stable relationship, we took an equity stake in Transmeta," said Hirokazu Hashimoto, executive VP for NEC Electronics.

Transmeta's technology "is applicable to a wide variety of semiconductors. We can help control transistor leakage power. We can help control transistor process variations," said Matthew Perry, Transmeta's president and CEO. "Transmeta expects the licensing business to be a significant [part of] its overall business."

NEC Electronics is the first to license LongRun2. Perry said both companies are working on power consumption and expect to work jointly to advance the technology.

NEC said last October it would collaborate with ARM Ltd. to develop a parallel processing architecture. It also has on-chip switching technology that shuts off power to nonactive circuit blocks. Other approaches include controlling film thickness for gate-oxide films and selecting materials with high-speed operation at low voltages.

"By licensing Transmeta's LongRun2 technologies, we will be able to complement our existing low-power technologies and lead the industry in markets such as wireless handsets, broadband networking and digital consumer electronics where low power is critically important," he said.

NEC plans to initially apply LonRun2 technology to devices fabricated on its 90nm node CB-90 process. Devices incorporating Transmeta's technology will be available in April 2005 for applications such as mobile phones, portable devices, communications along with server and workstations. Along with NEC's shift to its 65nm process, around fiscal 2006, the company intends to expand the number of devices incorporating LongRun2, including applications such as digital consumer electronics and PC peripherals.

LongRun2 is the second generation of Transmeta's low-power management technology used for it Crusoe processor. When Crusoe debuted in 2000, a 0.18?m process was used, and power leakage was negligible.

But transistor leakage is becoming a bigger problem as semiconductor technology scales to 90nm and below. Total power must now be considered as the sum of active and leakage power.

LongRun2 Technology, used in Transmeta's Efficeon processor introduced last October, focuses on controlling power leakage.

- Yoshiko Hara

EE Times

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