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Intel to support faster RDRAM technology

Posted: 12 Sep 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:intel? rambus? memory? rdram? elpida?

Intel Corp. has put its stamp of approval on the 1,066MHz RDRAM and will support the faster memory speed grade through a memory controller in a future chipset, according to Rambus Inc., which owns and develops the interface technology used in RDRAM.

The 1,066MHz RDRAM had been in limbo at Intel even as some Taiwanese chipset and motherboard providers backed the faster speed grade to woo power users and gamers. Memory manufacturers Samsung and Elpida manufacture 1,066MHz RDRAMs.

For some time Intel's refusal to validate the 1,066MHz RDRAM has fueled speculation that Intel has further distanced itself from Rambus. In the late 1990s Intel had tried to persuade DRAM vendors and motherboard manufacturers to move to RDRAMs exclusively, a position it later abandoned.

Steve Tobak, senior vice president of marketing at Rambus, said he expects Intel to make its position clear at this week's Intel Developer Forum. "We expect them to state publicly that they are validating 1,066," Tobak said. "It is turned out that there is been a big demand for performance that has surprised everyone."

Meanwhile. Rambus is making the case that its four-channel RDRAM implementation will cost the same as a dual-channel DDR implementation while offering significantly more performance. This is largely because integrating four RDRAM channels into a one-memory controller requires less silicon die area than two DDR channels. The four channels can be connected to main memory through two 32-bit RIMM cards that the company developed.

Still, Rambus is now conceding that DDR has won the battle for mainstream PC platforms. "It is the gamers that are the major target audience. We are taking a very real approach," Tobak said.

Rambus derives revenues from royalties paid by memory manufacturers for sales of RDRAMs and, from those memory makers that have agreed to pay, DDR DRAMs. Tobak said Rambus does not disclose how much revenue it receives from sales of the competing memory architectures.

- Anthony Cataldo

EE Times

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