Intel's RDRAM Credit Program
After Intel's forced introduction of RDRAM for Pentium III systems, its failure to deliver actual performance and the publicly highly disapproved lawsuit attitude of Rambus Inc., the majority of computer users built up strong reservations against RDRAM. Additionally, RDRAM still happens to be rather expensive when compared to other memory solutions. Thus Intel had to do a bit more than just forcing RDRAM upon people interested in Pentium 4.
The other step to ensure success of Pentium 4 and thus RDRAM is called 'RDRAM Credit Program'. Since the early days of Pentium 4 OEMs and system integrators received a $60 rebate per sold Pentium 4 processor, to cover the price premium of RDRAM memory. This program continues until April 15, 2001, when it is switched down to only $30 per Pentium 4 processor, and only for those that are running at 1.4 GHz or more. The final end is supposed to be on May 27, 2001, the time when Intel expects RDRAM to be inexpensive and accepted enough to become just another memory type.
You wonder why this program never existed for Pentium III processors. My own guess is that Intel knew very well indeed, that Pentium III would not perform well with RDRAM. The whole Rambus galore of the last 15 months was only there to introduce this memory type to the PC-market. While we technological publicists shouted "RDRAM is a fraud! Dont' buy it! " the managers at Intel were silently nodding, smiling and thinking "We know, we know, but you will finally accept it, as we know what comes next and you don't ".