Rambus prices drop like pants

PC-133 price parity edges closer

Rambus RIMMs are continuing to drop in price as Intel moves closer to the fateful day when its Pentium 4 "Willamette" processor starts edging out of the fabs.

Figures from a number of online sources confirm the onward trend of the price cuts downwards, with for example, the lowest end use price for a PC800 128MB RIMM costing $259. Similar RIMMs from 12 other vendors have prices in between $260 and $300.

The delta, once of Gangetic proportions, between equivalent PC-133 synchronous memory modules varies from between 24 to 53 per cent, thus raising the real expectation that in a month or two, the choice will begin to depend upon the reality behind the benchmarketing and marchitecture hype everyone has experienced over the last 12 months..

Nevertheless, there still appears to be very little demand from either Taiwanese mobo makers or consumers for machines using the i820 "Caminogate" chipset.

At the Computex trade fair in Computex last June, most of the third party motherboard makers seemed to have become dispirited about i820 or i820e solutions.

It is still unclear when Willamettes will become generally available, but if they start to appear in vendors' solutions late September, early October, the Pentium 4 will require Rambus RIMMs for around six to nine months.

Intel's SDRAM or DDR solution for the Pentium 4 is unlikely to start appearing in volume until the second half of next year.

The price in RIMMs is all very well and good, but several sites, including EE Times, are suggesting that there is a shortage of Rambus parts. Caesar III rules mean that if there is a shortage, and there is a demand, prices generally rise. ®