Rambus, a designer of memory technologies, said that its latest product called XDR2 was tailored for graphics sub-systems and that the company believes that it could get into the market of graphics easier compared to the market of system memory for personal computers (PCs).
Rambus, which was believed to be behind the “next-generation PC memory” back 6-7 years ago, is now mostly known for its legal disputes with memory manufacturers as well as for being inside Sony’s PlayStation 3 with its XDR memory. XDR DRAM operates at up to 6.40GHz and with 128-bit memory access may provide up to 51.2GB/s bandwidth. By contrast, DDR2 at 667MHz pumps up to 10.6GB per second. In mid-2005 the company introduced XDR2, which can function at up to 8GHz and provide micro-threading.
“We came out with the second variation called […] XDR2, which is focused on the graphics market. As we negotiate with DRAM companies, including the ability to manufacture high-performance graphics memory at a higher margin, we have to speak to the graphics companies. It’s a chicken-and-egg problem,” said Harold Hughes, Rambus’ chief executive in an interview with Cnet News.com.
When asked about getting into the PCs, Mr. Hughes said: “In the graphics market, by virtue of its smaller size, we think that is the easier way for us to (get) into the PC”. But this is not the first time when Rambus’ XDR is associated with graphics cards.
“Graphics seems to be one of the important initial targets for XDR, as graphics applications today have nearly unlimited need for bandwidth out of a single DRAM. Networking is another important market as networking cards need high bandwidth but low capacity,” a source close to Rambus and GPU makers told X-bit labs back in 2004.
But not everybody in the industry is optimistic about Rambus abilities to return to the PC space. Jon Kang, senior vice president for the technical marketing group at Samsung Semiconductor, believes that XDR will remain mostly a niche product.
“XDR has been delayed [due to delays at Sony],” Kang said during a presentation at SEMI’s recent Strategic Business Conference here, EETimes reports. “I don’t see any applications for XDR beyond Sony. It’s a niche product.”