Under the terms of a new agreement with Transmeta, AMD is due to market and ship a specialized version of Transmeta's Efficeon processor for emerging markets. This customized Efficeon chip is built for Microsoft's FlexGo scheme, a project designed to offer "pay-as-you-go" computing to users in the developing world. FlexGo works by allowing users to purchase a PC for half its retail price, then paying between 50 and 75 cents per hour of use until the machine is fully paid off. AMD says its Efficeon variant was designed specifically for FlexGo with security in mind, adding that the first FlexGo implementations were AMD Efficeon-based. The company says the chip is currently in use across FlexGo trials in Brazil.
While the association between AMD and Transmeta may seem strange, the Efficeon does share some similarities with AMD's own processors: it supports HyperTransport and features an integrated north bridge and memory controller. It's interesting that AMD didn't decide to push its own cheap and low-power Geode line, however, especially since the company is still touting its merits. Another press release published by AMD today boasts about the Geode's "industry leadership" and "strong customer demand." According to AMD, the Geode LX 800 offers the "highest performance per watt" in the 32-bit x86 processor market and is able to handle full-featured operating systems like Windows XP and Linux.
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