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Intel: Memory strategy unchanged (cough)

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Intel Developer Forum Pat Gelsinger, vice president of Intel's desktop products group, said today that Rambus memory is still the company's top choice for the desktop and mobile markets. But, at the same time, he acknowledged that Intel will use DDR (double data rate) memory for its server platform, and that unavailability and high pricing of Rambus RIMMs for the value market made it unacceptable. Speaking a day before he gives a keynote speech at the Intel Developer Forum, Gelsinger also said that the company, because of demand, was still unable to fulfil all of its commitments on Coppermine processors. Gelsinger said that he will speak tomorrow about Willamette, which he described as the first major [IA-32] architectural innovation since the introduction of the P6. "We'll have the biggest introduction of silicon this year, ever," he said. New silicon will include the Celeron 600MHz, Timna system on a chip technology, Willamette and the Itanium. He claimed that the Internet drove the need for high performance in processor raw power. "We found that performance of our PIII/800 has twice that of our best of class low performance chip," he said. Then followed an amusing interlude. Gelsinger showed ZD benchmarks which appeared to suggest that a Celeron had twice the performance of a Pentium III/800 in Internet terms. The figures he showed were challenged by a ZD journalist. Gelsinger strode over to the journalist, who had asked how much he was going to be paid for pointing out the apparent error, opened his wallet and handed him a $20 note. Gelsinger was emphatic about the performance of Rambus, particularly at the desktop and mobile levels. He said: "We're not changing our memory strategy. We need a next generation technology and the best way to accomplish that is RDRAM (Rambus memory). He said that Intel was incorporating two channels of Rambus memory into its future chipsets to emphasise that. "Our roadmap is not very different from what it was before," he said. "We'll ship multi millions of i820 [chipsets] in the next quarter, and some of these will be in two + two configurations, mixing synchronous memory and Rambus memory." That confirms our earlier story of a new rev of Caminogate which combines the two disparate memory standards. He said: "We do expect that the launch of RDRAM into the value sector will be longer and slower than we thought." The introduction of technology such as Willamette needed two channels of such memory to be able to deliver speeds in excess of 3GHz per second, he said. "We are not deploying or building products that use DDR in the mobile or desktop space. It [DDR] is too late, too little, it doesn't work and it doesn't fit in the desktop," he said. "We will use DDR in the server space. The first server product [using DDR] will appear in early 01." On Coppermine shortages, he said: "We still have more demand than we can supply. We'll catch up with all of our requests by the end of Q1. Until then, we can't really say we're happy with the situation. Gelsinger said that his keynote tomorrow will also concentrate on the proliferation of PC technology in the e-home, and he also showed the audience of European journalists several small form factor PCs, and some concept PCs he will demonstrate tomorrow. While there will be "zillions" of Internet appliances, in the end the PC will survive most of them, he is expected to say, and did say, today. Intel's policy of diversification will mean that the world will be under a blanket of its silicon, he said. ® IDF Spring 2000: Full Coverage

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