SOLANO Preview - Once Intel Makes Sense ...

Even Intel Couln't Get Away Without SDRAM Support

In a second step Intel finally smelled disaster and added SDRAM-support to their i820 and i840 chipsets. Unfortunately the way of this SDRAM-support was like adding racecar abilities to a truck. Instead of giving the i820 and i840 chipsets native SDRAM support, Intel created a chip called 'MTH' for i820 and 'MRH-S' for i840. Those poor chips can talk to SDRAM, but they are doomed to communicate with the main chipset over the Rambus protocol, which is destroying any performance advantage that SDRAM has over RDRAM. It makes those 'i820/i840-plus-SDRAM'-systems expensive but slow. It was not easy to overlook that Intel hadn't designed 'MTH' and 'MRH-S' full heartedly and so it didn't take long and the first bugs were found in each. First it was clear that neither of them would work with ECC SDRAM reliably and finally Intel found the 'system reboot/hang'-bug (Tom's Blurb: MTH - The Story Isn't Over Yet ... , The Impact of Intel's MTH-Issue on the IT-Business , Tom's Blurb: All Owners of Systems With Intel's i820 Chipset That Don't Use RDRAM Yet Will Now Get It For Free From Intel! ) in the 'MTH' chip, stopped the production of it and started a huge recall/refund campaign for the poor users that were crazy enough to buy this sorry combination of a doomed chipset and a badly designed add-on chip.

The sweet FreeBSD deamon was used just as a nice devil figure, without any intension to connect Rambus and FreeBSD.

Last year when all the Rambus hype campaign started, which basically consisted of statements like 'The earth is flat - RDRAM is good' or 'Politicians are noble - RDRAM outperforms any other memory type ', Intel's competitors in the platform area started to favor PC133 SDRAM and later DDR SDRAM over the crazy Rambus-idea. Today we know how successful this made them. Particularly VIA took great advantage of Intel's RDRAM aberration. Last year around this time Intel claimed that PC133 SDRAM as well as DDR SDRAM was unreliable and not performing well enough, which would be why Intel will never support either of the two alternative memory types. Later Intel finally realized that stubbornly riding the Rambus train was like a trip directly to hell. Thus suddenly you could find PC133 and DDR SDRAM on Intel roadmaps. The first product that resulted out of Intel's late insight is the highly anticipated and soon to-be-released 'i815' or 'Solano' chipset.