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DDR chipset prices slump

Vendor rivalry, poor demand, Intel to blame

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Taiwan's chipset makers are slashing prices on their DDR SDRAM chipsets in response to cool demand for DDR systems, intense rivalry between them, and the imminent arrival of Intel's SDRAM-based chipset, the 845 aka Brookdale.

So say the major mobo makers, according to a DigiTimes report. The board builders say DDR chipsets from likes of SIS, VIA and Acer Labs have recently fallen to $19-20 a pop - a fall of around $10 on the original price. The cuts have been implemented through a mix of rebates and actual reductions.

The chipset companies themselves cite the slow demand for DDR system as the main reason for the cuts. DDR chips may now be barely more expensive than PC-133, but that hasn't boosted the DDR market in the way many observers expected, they say.

AMD may be pushing DDR, and not without some success, but the real issue is the lack of support from Intel. The Pentium III doesn't gain much from DDR, and the P4 remains a Rambus-only product. P4 support will be essential for the success of DDR, say the mobo makers.

The arrival of the 845 will add PC-133 support to the P4, but the DDR version is not due for release until early next year. However, Asustek and Gigabyte already have 845 samples and have made them work with DDR, claims DigiTimes. That suggests Intel may be gearing up to ship the DDR version of Brookdale early.

The motherboard makers claim to be unconfident that chipset makers can get DDR-for-P4 boards out by Q4, leaving Intel with an opportunity to grab the lion's share of the market by shipping early. ®

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