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HP pushed Intel down Merced DDR memory route

Delivered an ultimatum on Rambus-Merced

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Chip company Intel is under pressure on a number of fronts and has all sorts of deals to make with all sorts of people. It's the keystone that cops all sorts of trouble when things go awry. But now it has emerged from a source close to its plans that it was Hewlett Packard which persuaded Intel to adopt a non-Rambus chipset for future server platforms. According to the source, HP told Intel it would not go to market with the Merced-Itanium unless it used non-Rambus memory. Double data rate (DDR) SDRAM was already being considered by Intel but when it came from push to shove, executives at Santa Clara felt its relationship with HP was more important than any considerations it might have with Rambus Ink. Intel was sympathetic to HP's overtures because its own technical staff had investigated DDR memory thoroughly. "This now puts Intel in a very safe position [with Merced]," the source said. "Rambus on server platforms created heat and density problems. With SDRAM (synchronous memory), you can go to a quad density DIMM, effectively quadrupling a 256K module". Intel was in a cleft stick as it pondered the options, the source added. Given the circumstances, it was prepared to sacrifice the i840 chipset as the high end workstation/server platform. ®

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