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Rambus, who is basically out of desktop memory business nowadays, disclosed plans of its comeback in 2006 with impressive XDR DRAM technology. The company hopes to regain its leadership position as the developer of the world’s fastest PC memory technology. But will the customers in the PC field really adopt the XDR phenomenon after all the disputes with Rambus in respect of the current DRAM technologies?

XDR memory’s novel system topology allows point-to-point differential data interconnects to scale to multi-gigahertz speeds, while the bussed address and command signals allow a scalable range of memory system capacity supporting from 1 to 36 DRAM devices. XDR offers a roadmap to 6.40GHz and can scale to interface widths of up to 128-bits, enabling memory system bandwidths up to 100GB/s.

XDR DRAMs will be available in multiple speed bins, device densities, and device widths. With densities ranging from 256Mb to 8Gb, and device widths ranging from x1 to x32, XDR DRAM satisfies the needs of both high-bandwidth and high-capacity systems, the company indicated.

The XDIMM memory module will provide impressive 12.8GB/s to 25.6GB/s of bandwidth using conventional DDR-II DIMM form-factor. Certainly this will be achieved though impressive frequency of some 1.60, 3.20GHz.

Rambus has defined all of the ingredients necessary to bring XDR to PC main memory. These ingredients include a broad range of XDIMM memory modules, programmable-width XDR DRAMs, buffers, connectors, clock generators, and comprehensive system design guidelines and documentation. Rambus and its partners may surely bring almost every component from the list, except a wide-range of memory modules, just like it initially happened with RDRAM three or four years ago.

In 2006, when Rambus wants to introduce its XDR DRAM, the industry will start to ramp up the DDR-III memory at 800MHz that will pump up to 12.8GB/s in dual-channel mode that seems to be enough for microprocessors of that time. Furthermore, the industry will hardly drop the jointly-developed DDR-III in favor of XDR DRAM, a proprietary standard of Rambus.

In short, Rambus’ XDR DRAM technology may be considered as a revolution, but didn’t we consider the RDRAM as a revolution as well? In case Intel does not support XDR DRAM, it will hardly become a standard in the PC field, but it may still find a niche in high-end 64-bit SPARC server field, just like RDRAM…


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