We Like Speed, but Price Drives Memory Choice

That was just one theme explored during a panel discussion of next-generation memory technologies at the Microprocessor Forum here Thursday.

The esoteric debates over throughput of different memory types gave way to some pragmatic concerns.

"All [memory] suppliers will build and ship what we [consumers] want and are willing to pay [for]," observed Desi Rhoden, president and chief executive of the trade group Advanced Memory International, as he sought to simplify the discourse.

Customers have shown time and again what matters most, Rhoden noted: "The bottom line is price. Narrow or wide -- it simply must have the lowest price per bit."

That's one reason Double Data Rate (DDR) memory is destined to outpace other next-generation memory types, he said. While DDR will probably cost more than today's mainstream PC-133 SDRAM at first, it is expected to reach price parity sometime in 2001, he said.

While it's been on the market for some time, Rambus memory (RDRAM) -- DDR's high-speed memory competition -- continues to cost significantly more than SDRAM without showing notable performance improvements.

Rambus Speaks

While he remained remarkably quiet during some obvious jabs at his company, Avo Kanadjian, Rambus vice president of worldwide marketing, did use the panel to point out some of RDRAM's recent design wins in the consumer electronics space. Of particular note is the use of Rambus in Sony's new PlayStation 2.

A clear advantage RDRAM has over today's SDRAM is its greater degree of granularity, he said. While much of today's SDRAM comes in large packages of 128MB and higher, Rambus performance allows manufacturers to use significantly less memory to achieve good performance.

Granular or not, the battle between DDR and Rambus appears over to some. There are 28 chip set vendors planning to use DDR, Rhoden said.

DDR Arrives Soon

The first PCs with DDR using VIA Technologies chip sets will begin shipping in the next few months, said Eric Chang, VIA's director of product marketing. However, they probably won't be ready in time for introduction at the US Comdex computer trade show in November, he said.

In addition to desktop systems, DDR will also quickly find its way into servers and notebook PCs, Chang said. "DDR will be good for mobile because of low power consumption," he said.

DDR memory will consume less power than SDRAM, AMI's Rhoden said. Thanks to DDR's new voltage and power management capabilities, power consumption from the notebook's memory subsystem could drop as much as 50 per cent, he said.

Future Memory

Today about 80 per cent of the memory manufactured goes into PCs, Rhoden said. It's clear that communications devices and other consumer electronics will eventually make up a larger percentage of that total, he said.

Today's products have been in the works for a year or more; the next iteration is in the works, and the generation beyond that is still being nailed down, Rhoden said.

"We never stop moving," he said.

Anush Yegyazarian contributed to this report.

Join the newsletter!

Or

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.

Tom Mainelli

PC World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

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.

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?