Samsung unveils customised Rambus DRAMs

Each of the three modules has been designed to best perform in its target application, said Samsung.

For example, the server and high-end PC modules are capable of storing 512MB of data and have four input/output channels in place of one. This means data can be shifted at a rate of 6.4GB per second -- something that is important if the machine is performing complex modelling applications or processing digital video. The networking modules are available in 64MB and 128MB versions because such applications do not require as much memory as PCs, said Samsung.

Samsung's move to target individual markets is not surprising. The company is already the largest producer of Rambus DRAM chips in the world and has stated an intention to remain on the leading edge of the business, having exited the commodity memory chip business to try to insulate itself from the ups and downs of that market.

The company predicts the market for these devices will reach 20 million units this year, based on a 128MB per module unit.

Rambus, the US company that developed the proprietary memory interface technology used in the chips but makes no chips itself, has been pushing for a little over six months the idea that its chips are suited to applications outside of its current core markets of workstations and high-end personal computers. The new chips will help it sell this idea to networking equipment vendors.

At the Comdex computer show in Las Vegas in November last year, Avo Kanadjian, vice president of Rambus worldwide marketing, told IDG News Service the company is looking to the burgeoning networking and digital television markets. Rambus DRAM's biggest rival technology in the PC market, DDR (double data rate) SDRAM (synchronous dynamic random access memory) is also being promoted for use in networking equipment, and other technologies are on the horizon. Samsung, together with NEC, Cypress Semiconductor, IDT and Micron Technology, is developing QDR (quad data rate) technology specifically for use in networking routers and switches.

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Martyn Williams

PC World
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