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Micron crows over Rambus roadkill

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Here's a puzzle. US PC manufacturer Micron didn't commit to Rambus, and so has seen orders for its PC-133-based machines climb since Intel announced its unfortunate 820 accident. A Micron 21-day backlog on some models is reported in today's WSJ, but at the same time Micron looks set to make matters worse by kicking off an ad campaign chuckling at its rivals' woes. All in the best possible taste, apparently. "Dell and Gateway missed the bus (the 133MHz system, that is)" says the ad. Well, yes indeed they did, and they're going to have to switch their testing and manufacturing accordingly. But as Micron will find itself filling the gap while they and other 820-fanciers get their act together, it's already going to be having more orders than it had previously planned on needing to fulfil. And so, likely, is Via, which makes the chipsets for Micron's PC-133 machines. The problems this will cause in the market will depend on how fast Via and the PC manufacturers who already have PC-133 designs on the stocks can ramp, and depending on which way the Rambus roadkill decides to jump, a chequebook war could ensue. Some of them may have had 'skunkworks' Via designs in the labs just in case, and any company smart enough to have done this will be ordering hard now. Companies who didn't, of course, will still find themselves having to book production, because as yet they've no idea if or when Intel will bounce back to save them. Boomtime for Via, it seems, and for Micron, provided it's got adequate supply booked already. ®

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