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Rambus gets quad pumped, hops on the bus

Ryu Connor
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I think by now we are very aquainted with the most controversial of companies, dear Rambus. What we primarily know them for is memory technology. In particular, we are all very acquainted with RSL, or the Rambus Signaling Level, which powers current Intel Rambus implementations in a 300, 350, or 400MHz double-pumped bus configuration across a 16-bit, serial-based channel.

Much like DDR SDRAM, though, Rambus has devised a scheme to push their memory technology into the world of quad-pumped signaling. This technology, according to Rambus, has been in development since 1997. They also claim they’ve been able to demonstrate this technology to “key OEM and semiconductor parters.” If their claims are to believed, this isn’t yet another “five years from now” technology.

According to HardwareCentral and this Rambus PDF, RSL and QRSL are not just limited to memory technology, either. Their overall design could allow for a high-speed, high-bandwidth, and fully signal-compatible front side bus—something our own Ronald Hanaki shared with us yesterday in this news article about Intel’s license leeway with Rambus. Most importantly, he reminded us that AMD has a Rambus license, as well.

Certainly interesting technology and interesting thoughts to consider, but there seem to be some caveats to it all. If I understand correctly, QRSL implemented today would be a 200MHz quad-pumped bus. Presumbably, if used in a memory interface, you would have the typical 16-bit interface. When used as a memory interface, current RSL technology works at 400MHz on a double-pumped bus with the standard 16-bit interface.

It would seem logical that a increase in bits per clock cycle—despite a unchanged bandwidth and speed—would be benficial. But is that true? Or would it only be beneficial in certain scenarios? There must be more to be had about this technology and its operation. Feed me, Seymour. Feed me.

Thanks to AngryM0nk3y for the interesting read.

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