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Memory makers salivate over Win2000

Have they learned nothing from history?

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Kingston Technology said yesterday that Microsoft is recommending that people use 128MB of memory as a bare minimum for its up-and-coming Win2000 operating system. Executives at the company were visibly rubbing their hands with glee at the news, as they expect the take up of Windows 2000 to be adopted by large corporations, big time. At the same time, the Kingston executives were extolling the virtues of Rambus over the competing double data rate (DDR) technology, and managing to ignore the lessons of the past. According to Kingston, 128MB is a bare minimum for Win2000, and the company expects that machines will be specced up to 256MB. It also hopes that large corporations will flock in their droves to the Rambus platform. But the problem is that Rambus RIMMs, which won't start appearing in volume until Q1 of next year, are very much more expensive than synchronous memory (SDRAM), with modules, at least initially, costing something like five to seven times more. Back in 1995, when Microsoft introduced Windows 95, the entire memory market, including distributors, dealers and manufacturers, anticipated that people would buy huge amounts of memory to make the operating environment work. Unfortunately, memory was quite expensive in those days, and the optimistic forecasts, fuelled by Microsoft marketing hype, came to nothing, with the semiconductor market collapsing later that year and next. Those, some will recall, were the halcyon days when memory cost more than the entire cost of a PC. However, Kingston, and other memory vendors, obviously take heed of the Henry Ford soundbyte: "History is bunk", forgetting that Ford is now history… ®

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