Report: Rambus on Rocky Ground with Intel

"We made a big bet on Rambus and it did not work out," Craig Barrett said in the FT report. "In retrospect, it was a mistake to be dependent on a third party for a technology that gates your performance."

Barrett was referring to Intel's backing of a high-speed memory interface technology developed by Rambus, which to date has failed to win the hearts and minds of the PC industry, mainly due to high pricing. Although many leading PC vendors offer models with Rambus memory, these are usually restricted to the smaller volume, high-end offerings.

A spokesman for Intel in the UK said that the availability of Rambus technology was slower and the pricing was higher than the company had anticipated, but said that Barrett was "commenting on overall dynamics in the industry."

"We've already said we'll support SDRAM (synchronous dynamic random access memory) 133 next year and are looking very closely at DDR (Double Data Rate) technology for the Pentium 4 as well," said Graham Palmer, a UK-based Intel spokesman.

Palmer was referring to PC 133 SDRAM, a type of memory commonly used in today's mainstream PCs, and DDR SDRAM, an emerging version that promises to offer a performance increase similar to that of Rambus' proprietary technology.

Rambus, however, owns patents covering key aspects of SDRAM and DDR SDRAM technologies, and has signed licensing agreements with memory chip makers including NEC, Hitachi and Toshiba, that will allow it to collect royalties for all SDRAM and DDR SDRAM chips the vendors ship.

Several other memory chip makers, including South Korea's Hyundai Electronics Industries, Germany's Infineon Technologies and Micron Technology of the US, are fighting Rambus' patents in ongoing lawsuits. Due to contractual obligations, Intel was obligated to support Rambus technology when it rolls out the Pentium 4 family of chips. The Pentium 4, the follow-up to the Pentium III, is expected to start shipping in this quarter.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Douglas F. Gray

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

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.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

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?