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RAM Wars: Return of the JEDEC

The Return Of The JEDEC

Many have seen Intel's backing of Rambus memory technology as a snub to JEDEC, the Arlington, VA-based developer of specifications for anything related to industrial solid-state physics and under the umbrella of the U.S. Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA). JEDEC does hold considerable clout, which is why the Rambus and Intel alliance was often perceived as running up against the entire DRAM industry. Indeed, at the time the DDRII standard was completed during a June memory committee meeting in Tokyo, there were 120 companies on the committee. These companies included Elpida, Hynix, IBM Microelectronics, Infineon, Micron, Mitsubishi, Mosel Vitelic, Samsung and Toshiba, as well as chipset and infrastructure leaders AMD, ALi, CST, ServerWorks, VIA Technologies, Texas Instruments, and others.

Where Is Rambus Now?

Contrary to popular belief, Rambus Inc. does not make memory. In fact, it does not make anything. What Rambus does is develop memory and other technologies, then license them. In fact, Samsung, a top-tier memory supplier, continues to make and support Rambus memory devices. Additionally, most high-end PCs available by the Dells, HPs and the white box vendors of the world offer RDRAM as the best memory application available today vs. SDRAM alternatives.

But now that Intel's roadmap no longer includes Rambus memory, where does that leave the company in the long term? As one analyst put it, "The big debate at IDF 2002 was about Rambus/ DDR. But now people are asking, 'where is Rambus now?'"

Rambus, however, continues to forge ahead with new memory architectures for specialty server or workstation applications. For the time being, nothing in the foreseeable future is geared for PC applications, but it will likely remain a mainstay in Sony's Playstation console.

After implementing Rambus RDRAM for its Playstation II, Sony has plans to use Rambus' Yellowstone design for future gaming applications. According to Rambus, the module operates at 1066 MHz with 4.2 GB.