Rambus looks beyond the PC

Within the next two years the company hopes to see around 30 per cent of its revenue come from licensing fees related to chips used in networking hardware, around 20 per cent from consumer electronics applications such as game consoles and high definition television, and the remaining 50 per cent from the PC market, said Avo Kanadjian, vice president of worldwide marketing at Rambus.

Rambus' main source of revenue are the licensing fees paid by chip manufacturers, such as NEC and Samsung Electronics, for use of the proprietary Rambus high-speed memory interface in DRAM (dynamic random access memory) chips. Rambus itself does not manufacture any chips.

Known as RDRAMs (Rambus DRAMs), the devices have been chosen by Intel for use in systems powered by its soon-to-be-released Pentium 4 processor. Recently, however, Intel has signaled that it will also introduce support for competing memory chip technologies. Currently, the vast majority of Rambus' licensing revenue comes from the PC business with the only sizeable exception being the RDRAM chips used in Sony's PlayStation 2 advanced game console. "The PC is still our most important market," Kanadjian said.

The networking equipment business is a new market for Rambus, but Kanadjian expects revenue from that segment soon.

"[The networking business] is going to be very important," he said. "We're very, very committed to the networking business."

Networking hardware vendors, including PMC-Sierra and Vitesse Semiconductor, are designing Rambus DRAM chips into their products and the first commercial examples are expected soon.

"I believe that the first products that are going to ship with our DRAM are slated for the first quarter of next year," he said.

According to Kanadjian, networking equipment vendors are looking to RDRAMs as a replacement for high-speed SRAM (static RAM) chips, production of which is now falling off. The vendors favour the Rambus technology, he said, because the high-speed memory interface means vast amounts of data can be transferred in and out of the memory chip faster -- an important consideration in the high bandwidth world of networking.

"In graphics or communications applications, Rambus has its appeals," said Jim Sogas, vice president sales and marketing for Elpida Memory, the recently formed computer memory joint venture between Japan's NEC and Hitachi. NEC is an RDRAM manufacturer. "Certainly the super-high bandwidth in one chip is important for some applications," he said.

"Some communications system makers have interest for the 288Mb Rambus chips," added Misao Higuchi, technical marketing department manager for Elpida Memory. The two said that networking vendors were looking at the company's Rambus chips but added that, due to concerns over volumes, hitting the consumer electronics markets may not be as easy as it seems.

"In the DRAM world everyone tries to leverage the volume. Because they don't want to pay big premiums and they don't want to have a hard time getting it," Sogas said. "[The] HDTV guys may be reexamining their decision. Maybe it was Rambus before but now it's 'let's go look again,' because they are concerned about what's going to be the volume product."

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?