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End of the road for Rambus?

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As world+dog jump on the PC-133 and DDR bandwagon, Chipzilla is keen not to be left holding the Rambus baby. The company today confirmed that it was developing a new chipset for P4, aka Willamette, to give users a choice of either RDRAM or SDRAM.

Encouraged by the favourable response to the 815 and 815e chipsets for SDRAM-based Pentium IIIs, Intel also says it is 'investigating' a move to DDR SDRAM for desktop P4 systems in early 2001. This is a significant change from the company's earlier stance that DDR belonged in the large server space, while Rambus was the memory architecture of choice for workstations and low-end servers.

Don't read too much into Intel's use of the word 'investigating' - DDR support is a definite.

The big question now is whether this is finally curtains for Rambus. Intel had carefully engineered a market niche for the still-overpriced technology, claiming it was ideal for high-performance workstations and small servers. Indeed it is, but so is PC-266 DDR memory, and at a fraction of the cost.

Intel is still maintaining that Rambus has a rosy future, but let's not forget that up until yesterday they were maintaining that it was the only game in town when it came to the Pentium 4.

Samsung said last week that Rambus would be priced within five percent of SDRAM by 2002. But it is increasingly looking as if that will be way too late to prevent Rambus from being filed in the 'Where are they now?' bin. ®

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