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Advanced Micro Devices and Rambus Tuesday said the former would pay the latter $75 million as a part of a five-year patent license agreement between the microprocessor maker and technology developer. The agreement includes licensing of memory and interface technologies.

The license includes Rambus’ patents used in the design of DDR2, DDR3, FB-DIMM, PCI Express and XDR controllers as well as other current and future high-speed memory and logic controller interfaces, according to a statement by Rambus. Sunnyvale, California-based central processing unit maker will pay Rambus $75 million for the five-year technology licensing.

While the PCI Express is an industrial standard developed by a group headed by the world’s largest chipmaker Intel Corp., Rambus has developed certain ways of PCI Express silicon implementation. The Rambus PCI Express serial link interface products include PHY (physical) cells and digital controllers optimized for flexible and rapid implementation of the PCI Express standard.

It is unclear for what AMD may need to license PCI Express technologies, but possible reasons can be creation of its own chipsets as well as integration of PCI Express links into microprocessors for certain applications, such as embedded systems.

“The license of our patent portfolio with AMD’s demonstrated innovation in the microprocessor market is highly compelling,” said Harold Hughes, chief executive officer at Rambus.

AMD did not comment.

Discussion

Comments currently: 14
Discussion started: 01/03/06 05:48:43 PM
Latest comment: 08/25/06 11:17:42 AM
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1. 
Didn't see THAT one coming...

lol
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 01/03/06 05:48:43 PM]
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I don't think too many people did, but it does make a lot of sense. AMD is making memory controllers, so they might run into patent problems. Or they may do it because Rambus loves the court system, and it is cheaper just to agree to a licensing arrangement rather than fight Rambus in court. 75 Million over 5 years is not a lot of money.

Also, they may have decided on using RDRAM or XDR on some systems in the future rather than DDR2 or DDR3. While RDRAM was generally inferior to the SDRAM on the Pentium III line when used in a single bank (820 chipset), it was roughly equal to it in dual banks (840) and was superior by most accounts for the Pentium 4 with its quad pumped FSB. I don't know that much about XDR because it has so far been largely irrelevant, but it supposed to be superior to RDRAM, naturally, and this could translate into something useful for AMD should they implement it.

This assumes of course that XDR does have advantages over DDR2, which seems safe because DDR2 kind of sucks and RDRAM was already better than DDR in most instances for the Pentium 4 and there isn't much difference in performance between DDR and DDR2 except higher clock speed. So, maybe for a specific market where the characteristics of XDR or RDRAM (or their successors) offer real advantages over DDR2(or its successors), AMD may produce a processor with this memory architecture supported in the memory controller. With memory being such a bottleneck, AMD may have found a way to boost performance appreciably without altering the core of the processor.

This is just speculation of course, I have no information whatsoever indicating this is what is happening.
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 01/03/06 06:10:36 PM]
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You may be onto something there, if AMD starts using XDR and gets performance benefits from it, then Intel would likely want to use XDR as well.

It's ironic AMD said "No" R-Dram, continued to stick with DDR, singularly shifted the entire memory industry to it's camp, making Intel eat humble-pie.

Can they do the same again, it seems Intel of late has been cloning itself to it's smaller rival.
Which ever way you look at it, this has got to be the mother of all ironies.
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 01/03/06 07:19:15 PM]
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