Memory makers ready to ramp DDR SDRAM

DDR SDRAM is touted by many memory suppliers as a more cost-efficient alternative to RDRAM (Rambus DRAM), a competing high-speed memory technology developed by Rambus and backed mainly by processor giant Intel.

In 2001, DDR SDRAM is only expected to make up about 15 per cent of total DRAM volume, but it will then increase quickly to around 40 per cent by 2002 and could reach as high as 85 per cent by 2004, said Farhad Tabrizi, vice president of worldwide memory product marketing at Hyundai Electronics Industries.

The big question at the one-day conference was when the memory suppliers would be able to reach their stated goal of reaching pricing parity between DDR SDRAM and the SDRAM chips found in most of today's computers. One of the most aggressive backers of DDR SDRAM is Micron Technology, and the company is dedicated to closing the pricing gap sooner rather than later, said Jeff Mailloux, director of DRAM marketing at Micron.

New generations of DRAM have historically never been widely accepted by the market until they were sold at the same price as the previous generation, noted Mailloux, which is why the company wants to drive adoption of DDR SDRAM by reaching pricing parity as quickly as possible.

"While volume does drive cost, pricing drives volume," he said.

However, one major hurdle to overcome before the industry can reach the goal of pricing parity is that SDRAM pricing today is at a "very painful" level, providing little incentive for the suppliers to offer DDR SDRAM at "a loss," said Jon Kang, senior vice president in Samsung Electronics' memory technology and product division.

Nevertheless, by as early as mid-year, 128MB of DDR SDRAM could be found even in low-end $US599 desktop PCs, even if the price of such memory modules is still as high as $US100, predicted Hyundai's Tabrizi.

Unlike RDRAM, which is not expected to make much of an impact beyond high-end desktop PCs, consensus among the officials speaking here was that DDR SDRAM will be used in a variety of devices, ranging from low-end desktop and notebook PCs to servers and workstations, as well as other digital gadgets and networking applications.

Even Samsung, one of the early backers and the largest supplier of RDRAM chips, expects to see system vendors adopt DDR SDRAM in a wide range of devices, and Kang said the company expects to rapidly ramp up production.

Seeing results

Meanwhile, having produced RDRAM chips since 1999, Samsung is finally reaping the fruits of its efforts as demand has taken off with Intel's launch of the high-end Pentium 4 processor, he said.

"As the only memory solution for the Pentium 4, Rambus will ramp very quickly this year," said Kang. Samsung expects RDRAM to make up as much as 30 per cent of its total DRAM production this year, while DDR SDRAM will make up about 10 per cent, Kang said.

But once Intel and other suppliers launch Pentium 4 chip sets that support SDRAM and DDR SDRAM for use in mainstream desktop PCs, the higher cost of RDRAM is likely to make it attractive only for end-users looking for the highest performance available, he added.

Intel in this year's second half is scheduled to release a Pentium 4 chip set code named Brookdale that initially will support SDRAM, with a DDR SDRAM version to follow.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Terho Uimonen

PC World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?