Intel: we are Rambus RDRAM 'advocates'

Intel restated its position after shares of Rambus stock fell sharply Tuesday following rumours that Intel was recalling its support for Rambus memory technology.

The information that spawned the rumours was contained in confidential documents that made forecasts years out, that much could change when such long-range predictions are made, and that it was unfortunate that "such talk could move markets," according to Diana Wilson, an Intel spokesperson.

"Our position has not changed. We support RDRAM [Rambus dynamic RAM] for premium performance for both the Pentium III and Pentium IV processors," she said.

While equipment manufacturers and motherboard makers that use Intel processors can make up their own minds as to which memory technology to use in their final products, Intel tunes its high-performance processors to work optimally with Rambus memory, Wilson said, which is why the chip maker suggests Rambus.

Wilson said that even though Intel also supports SDRAM (synchronous DRAM), "the recipe for performance will be Rambus.

"The [equipment manufacturer] can opt to put what they want around the processor, but our position is that for most performance desktops, [Rambus] will get the most out of the platform," Wilson said.

She was unable to comment further on the Intel-Rambus relationship.

Intel CEO Craig Barrett last week was quoted as saying that the decision by Intel to go with Rambus memory was a mistake. Intel officials Tuesday said Barrett did not mean to say Rambus but was instead referring to Intel's Timna processor, a Rambus-optimised value-class processor that was cancelled before its launch due to problems with a translation hub that would have allowed the Timna processor to operate SDRAM.

The fix, according to Intel officials, would have pushed Timna beyond the targeted price point.

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Dan Neel

PC World

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