Articles: Memory

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Well, really hot summer weather has set in and the manufacturers as well as editors prefer to cool down in the next-door swimming-pool instead of working on the new products :) This is certainly not the reason why I didn’t right my monthly memory market overview last month (I really wish it had been the reason though :) ) Anyway, the middle of summer is usually not very rich in events, although this year doesn’t seem to be falling within this rule. If we look back at what was going on in the memory market in June and July, we will see that the memory makers didn’t even think of slowing down for the so-called “dead season”. Well, this is definitely for good.

It has already become a good tradition that the first news we report comes from Rambus. There are two major topics that can be discussed in connection to this company: the arguments with other industry members and RDRAM II aka XDR. And again Rambus managed to generate news in both of those. Firstly, they have suddenly quarreled with the company that has been almost their primary ally: Samsung has been the one supporting almost all Rambus’ initiatives lately. However, despite common gratitude Samsung was accused of violating 24 Rambus patents dealing with SDRAM, DDR/DDR2, GDDR2/GDDR3.

The response from Samsung followed almost immediately: the company filed a claim against Rambus in just a few days with practically the same accusations as Infineon, Micron and others have already resorted to. Namely, they accused Rambus of acquiring their patents illegally. However judging by the previous experience I can say that the only thing Samsung needs to win this fight is good luck. The same would also be helpful to the European Union, which seems to be paying a lot of interest to Rambus’ actions in the patent field.

Well, it looks like friendship with Samsung has come to its logical end. It’s high time Rambus started looking for new allies. The potential new victim could be IBM, which licensed XDR architecture interface from Rambus in the middle of June. This interface, XIO, is a pretty promising and interesting solution. By the way, in the middle of July they officially announced XDR2 the notorious micro-threaded architecture that makes the memory core perform according to the XIO bandwidth potential. Rambus promises to release the XDR2 chips into the market some time around 2007.

In fact it is quite evident that the next PC memory standard is going to be DDR3, especially since it is almost ready to kick in. in the middle of June already Infineon send to Intel its new 1067MHz memory modules based on DDR3 chips of their own design. The only thing we know so far about these modules is that they are still quite raw, however, this is definitely not an issue as the first samples are to start shipping only in the beginning of 2006, so Infineon has enough time to polish their products off. In fact, this should only be regarded as another R&D step. By the way, Samsung introduced 512Mbit DDR3 chips in February already, if you remember.

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