Micron’s fantasies didn’t stop at that. At the beginning of the last month, the company sampled first 288Mbit RLDRAM II chips – 400MHz DDR with low latencies (average cycle time is only about 20ns) intended for telecommunication equipment, yet another niche market appealing for the memory makers.
The last month had its intrigue, though. Rambus is returning into the main PC memory market. No, Intel hasn’t yet announced its chipsets to support the new standard from Rambus. So far, Rambus only revealed its plans on making its standard, XDR DRAM, into the basic PC memory by 2006. The clock-rate of the chips is going to be about 3.2-6.4GHz, with a bus width of 128bit and a bandwidth of up to 100GB/s. It sounds sweet like hell. In its time, however, 800MHz RDRAM was most impressive against 100MHz PC100 until the problems with heat dissipation, price and other small things arose.
Yeah, it is all very beautiful in theory, just like everything Rambus has offered in the last couple of years, but I rather doubt Intel would go for another try with this company. So, Rambus remains a kind of honorable theoretician (regrettably, maybe). So far, the company is waiting for the end of the suit with Infineon, after which it will get its fees for the SDRAM produced by the Germans.
By the way, Rambus is not the only innovator. As it turned out in October, Sun Microsystems is also developing a new type of memory for the PC. The company voiced its “throughput computing” paradigm, which is to become the ultimate solution of the memory bandwidth problem. Sun considers the low memory bandwidth one of the narrowest bottlenecks in today’s systems and suggests using up to 8 physical cores in one memory chip. The cores could work on different data streams in parallel. Interestingly enough, mass shipments are promised for the same 2006 year. It would be interesting to watch these two technologies collide, but…what will Intel say?
Infineon, waiting for the court decision, is focusing on MRAM. The future of MRAM is being discussed less nowadays, since the capacities and speeds of such chips grow too slow. It was lately rumored that Infineon, collaborating with IBM, also decided to enroll Axon Technologies with its Programmable Metallization Cell memory (PMCm) technology. Specialists say (for a hundredth time already!) that this could be a replacement for both DRAM and flash. First products based on this technology are going to appear…Yes! in 2006.
Motorola, on the other hand, doesn’t plan on anything. They just do their work, being the pioneers in the field. They produced 0.18micron 4Mbit MRAM chip available in samples for their clients. Recalling that the company offered only a 0.60micron 1Mbit chip a year ago, the progress is impressive. But of course, there is no talk about competition with DRAM or flash.