Rambus not dead yet

— 11:22 PM on September 10, 2002

The folks from Rambus told EETimes today at IDF that Intel will be validating PC1066 RDRAM. EETimes says support will come in "a memory controller in a future chip set," but Intel's 850E chipset supports PC1066 RDRAM now, though PC1066 isn't validated yet. Heck, even Intel's own 850E motherboard will operate with PC1066 RIMMs, provided they are true PC1066 modules.

Anyhow, PC1066 support from Intel is pending. I never did think Intel had entirely backed off of RDRAM. Tawianese mobo makers parroted back the line about RDRAM being ideal for the enthusiast/performance segment, even at Computex this past spring. If Intel was killing RDRAM, the message never got out.

So are truly new Intel chipsets with RDRAM support coming? This bit of the EETimes report is especially notable:

Meanwhile. Rambus is making the case that its four-channel RDRAM implementation will cost the same as a dual-channel DDR implementation while offering significantly more performance. This is largely because integrating four RDRAM channels into a one-memory controller requires less silicon die area than two DDR channels. The four channels can be connected to main memory through two 32-bit RIMM cards that the company developed.
Could quad-channel RDRAM chipsets be in the works? Maybe Intel will answer these questions this week at IDF. Or... maybe not.

I was amused to see that Rambus is planning to target gamers as its primary audience now that DDR has taken over the mainstream:

“It's the gamers that are the major target audience. We're taking a very real approach,” Tobak said.
It would be interesting indeed to see gamers embrace RDRAM. Maybe an Athlon XP/RDRAM chipset would help?

Speaking of embracing RDRAM, little SiS has apparently done just that. The company is showing off samples of its RDRAM-based 658 chipset this week. SiS talked to us about this dark horse chipset when they visited us in July. At the time, they were having trouble finding customers for the product. We'll be watching to see if any mobo makers decide to ride little SiS's Rambus.

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