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Who will pay extra $200 for i820-Rambus PCs?

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System builders and integrators, faced with the imminent introduction of the i820 Camino chipset which supports Rambus RIMMs, are likely to wait and see rather than build machines using the expensive memory modules. Yesterday, we reported that Intel will release two mobos to coincide with its 27 September launch -- the Cape Cod and the Vancouver. One supports RIMMs while the other has support for SDRAM using PC-100. But prices of Rambus are currently prohibitively high, meaning that people buying PCs, and people making them, will have to be convinced of the benefits of the new memory technology. Intel is positioning its Cape Cod and Vancouver mobos against its 440-BX2 chipset, which is, as we have already reported here, both in very high demand and in very short supply. Both Intel mobos have the same feature set, except that while the Vancouver VC820 supports Rambus, it doesn't support PC-100. And while the Cape Cod CC820 supports PC-100 SDRAM, it doesn't support Rambus. Both will support the 533B and the 600B Pentium IIIs to be released 27th of September next, will have AGP 4X capability, Ultra ATA/66 support, Instantly Available PC (STR), use an Audio Modem Riser (AMR) and support both 100MHz and 133MHz system buses (that is, front side buses). Both will use the 242 Slot 1 connector, which will be displaced in late October, November by the FCPGA-370. (See separate story). As previously reported here, there are some doubts as to whether Rambus will give any performance benefits using the Camino i820 boards over the older, BX chipset using PC-100. Major PC vendors are keeping their cards close to their corporate chests and have not yet declared which machines they will launch using Rambus. It was a claque of these major vendors which caused Intel to reverse its decision on the up-and-coming PC-133 standard earlier this year, expressing concerns over pricing, yields and performance on the expensive silicon. ®

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