Where the hell are… DDR chipsets?

Rambus puts Tom Pabst in memory sandwich

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Updated Many a weary trek around the three Computex halls failed to provide even one example of a motherboard based on double data rate (DDR) memory, despite the noise and fury of that contingent this year and last.

So where are these rare birds? Even representatives of Via, which has pushed DDR like there's no tomorrow, could only hold out tentative hopes of an Autumn launch, which sounded to us more like October than September when we pressed them the point.

Hats off, in this case, to Rambus. A day after we reported that top executive Richard Crisp had been booted out of the DDR conference Via held on Monday, he came and met us and talked his talk. This was a surreal situation, not that that sort of situation fazes us here at Situation Publishing.

Crisp brought along another Rambus suit, and through the sort of Serendipity that Computex produces, we found ourselves facing Dr Tom Pabst, of Tom's Hardware, sandwiched between the two.

For some reason or other, The Register and Tom's Hardware are seen as being anti-Rambus.

The other Rambus guy is a tri-athlete and was almost choked by the Hyatt Cheers bar smoke, at one point rounding on Tom and saying: "Hey, you're a doctor. Don't you know you're killing yourself?"

Be that as it may. The fact is there wasn't a single DDR chipset at the Computex show and that speaks volumes for the committee-based attitude of this open industry standard.

Perhaps Rambus has had a rough ride. Nevertheless, the fact remains, as one acute industry observer said, if you pay extra money for them thar RIMMs, you expect to get extra performance too.

So will Via produce chipsets that support Rambus? On that question, the boys were curiously silent. They were even more silent about a quick future for DDR chipsets though, and that is seriously ominous.

Particularly so, given that major Taiwanese memory supplier Mosel Vitelic said early in the Computex week that DDR would displace SDRAM by the end of this year... ®

Update Thanks to our readers, once again, for finding at least one example of a mobo. At Japanese site Pricewatch there is a picture of a board. Other readers have asked us about producion of the KT133. Most manufacturers we spoke to said they expect volume late June, early July, and were still receiving updates to the Via chipset. But what's bothering the Taiwanese firms more is that there appears to be as many as a million boards piled up in Taipei warehouses which were designed using the KX-133 chipset, and which will now be useless. Fingers are being pointed at both Via and AMD.

  • Incidentally, Crisp insists he wasn't kicked out of the DDR forum. He may be right. But the fact is his buddy, the bottom half of the Pabst sandwich, sat right the way through it, wearing his Rambus-branded shirt. So Via's security engine has a little way to go, despite the fact that chairman and CEO Wen Chi is an ex-Intel employee


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