Rambus strongarms Intel

Thanks to SuperRob for sending in this story at Electronic Buyers' News which explains Intel's lack of DDR SDRAM chipsets. A couple of clauses in Intel's contract with Rambus allow Rambus "to terminate its license with Intel should the chip maker introduce a chipset that supports double-data-rate capabilities in any memory interface other than Direct Rambus DRAM in the 2000-2002 time period." Ouch.

The article points out that these clauses are probably the reason that Intel licensed technology to Via and SIS last month that enables them to produce DDR-capable chipsets for Intel processors. Without some form of DDR support, Intel would likely get whomped on by AMD, since DDR should be much cheaper than RDRAM, and DDR-capable chipsets for AMD processors will probably be out before year's end.

Such a move could result in an industry shift away from Intel chipsets for Intel processors, which would cost them a ton of cash. The article states that there are lots of rumors flying that Intel is also working on DDR chipsets of its own; if that's true, it's entirely possible (and likely) that if DDR catches on like everyone thinks it's going to, Intel will pull out of the Rambus deal and move to DDR with the rest of the world.

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