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Intel's involvement in the Xbox

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Micron is cock-a-hoop about the contract it has blagged from Microsoft to stick its double data rate memory into the Xbox, but Intel is even happier because it is designing and will help build the beast. (Flextronics, a Singapore firm, is doing much of the actual bodywork, if you see what we mean.)

You can see just how happy Micron is by clicking on this press release here, but it doesn't mention the dreaded Rambus word anywhere.

The processor inside the XBox will, as we know, be a Pentium III, and that has little problem supporting synchronous types of memory, and is not long for this world anyway. The more Xboxes that Microsoft sells, the happier Intel will be, seeing as the PIII is entering dodo-land in the mainstream arena.

There's Nvidia technology in there too, and some readers have asked whether Rambus will be pursuing claims on the evermore successful graphics firm.

We can tell you, from a source deep within Nvidia in the US, that the answer to that question is: "Let them just try." Nvidia doesn't think Rambus technology is any great shakes, nor does it see why it should pay them any money for anything.

Intel is committed, by a covenant, to supporting Rambus any which way it can, by promoting its technology to the gentlemen and gentlewomen of the press, and in other ways too. But it has had a singular difficulty in the past making Ramboid technology work with its chipsets.

Its dead-duck system-on-a-chip Timna processor was originally slated to use Rambus memory, but Intel ran into big problems with that, and has also had singular difficulties with other chipsets implementing an RDRAM solution.

It is, however, committed to using DDR memory itself with the Pentium 4 - although roadmaps we've seen suggest we'll see little sign of those until the end of this year. ®

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