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AMD and its chipsets, the 840 fiasco reality and DDR vs Rambus

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Computex 2000 Despite others' perception, quite often journalists hunt in packs and then share ideas with each other so that a jigsaw picture of what's really going on can be assembled. Chatting to a hack here who was at the AMD intro of the T'Bird in Taipei, and he said one of the speakers had made a strange comment about Via using AMD as a sort of foundry. This chimes somewhat with a comment made by a mobo manufacturer and another made by Richard Brown, marketing director of Via. The Abit guy said that AMD had positively discouraged them from using its chipset while Brown said, "we're the only game in town". So could it be conceivable that AMD will abandon its chipset biz entirely while ceding space to Via?

Can you imagine the chaos that the 820 and the 840 fiascos have cost motherboard manufacturers careless enough to have decided to build boards using SDRAM? One mobo guy from a medium sized motherboard firm told The Register that it had designed a total of four 840 mobos, only one of which used Rambus. Because of a problem with the MRH, it has had to scrap three of them. But it had already gone into production with two and now has stacks of useless 840 mobos sitting in a warehouse. Intel had promised them that a later stepping of the 840 would correct the problem, something we already knew about, but it was supposed to materialise at the end of May or the beginning of June. So far, no stepping, a very unhappy mobo firm and no chance or possible chance of any kind of refund.

Another hack managed to attend a DDR (double data rate seminar) held on Monday by Via. We were still winging our way over the South China Sea at the time so missed it. According to said hack, the DDR conference really opened his eyes to how the industry viewed Rambus. All, needless to say, were agin it. But that attitude was also taken by reps from Samsung, Micron and Hyundai too. With friends like this, Intel needs no enemies. In fact, Chipzilla has so few friends now, we're beginning to think it's made the transition from top dog to underdog. And, as Intel's own document on how to deal with the European press notes, the British love an underdog. ®

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