TAIPEI -- Acer Laboratories Inc. here has introduced its first double-data-rate (DDR) SDRAM-enabled chip sets that support microprocessors made by Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc.
ALI of Taiwan joins a pack of third-party chip set makers with announced DDR logic controllers which are expected to begin shipping in the fourth quarter. The DDR chip sets are designed for desktop and mobile PCs using Intel's Slot 1/Socket 370 family of CPUs, including Pentium III, Pentium II, and Celeron, as well as AMD's Athlon and Duron chips, according to ALI.
While it is unable to make its own DDR-enabled chip sets becauseof a contractual obligation to Direct Rambus DRAM developer
Rambus Inc. in Mountain View, Calif., Intel has approved third-party
DDR chip sets to boost the performance of its existing processors
-- which sources believe will extend to a new 0.13-micron version
of the Pentium III to come to market early next year.
ALI executives have indicated they would be ready to provide DDR
chip sets to support Intel's upcoming Pentium 4, too, but haven't
been as aggressive as rival Via Technologies Inc., which said
recently it will ship DDR chip sets for the P4 with or without a
license from Intel.
The DDR SDRAM market is projected to grow from 3% of the total
DRAM market in 2000 to 50% in 2004, according to ALI, which
cited Sherry Garber, an analyst at Semico Research Corp. in Phoenix. With DDR widely expected to become the mainstream memory technology in the second half of next year, many
motherboard makers and manufacturers of desktop and notebook
PC are bullish about its prospect.
"We've received endorsement from almost each of the world's top
10 OEMs," said ALI president Chin Wu. Other endorsements have
come from Taiwanese companies such as Asustek Computer Inc.
-- Intel's biggest motherboard house -- Gigabyte Technology Inc.,
Acer Inc., Compal Electronics Inc., and Arima Computer Corp.,
In addition to ALI's devices, DDR chip sets have been announced
by Via, Silicon Integrated Systems Inc., Micron Technology Inc.,
and AMD. The chip sets are being validated, and OEMs expect to
have prototype desktop and mobile models to show in November
at Fall Comdex in Las Vegas.
ALI's Intel-based desktop DDR chip sets, the Aladdin Pro 5, is $33
in 20,000-unit lots, while the Aladdin Pro 5M for mobile PCs is $38
each in like quantities. Both prices are considerably lower than
Intel's initial $42 tag for its 815 series single-data-rate PC133
SDRAM chip set.
The DDR chip set for AMD desktop processors, the ALIMagik 1, is
$31 in 20,000-unit lots. The notebook-PC version, the MobileMagik
1, is $36.
Both DDR chip sets for Intel and AMD processors include a new
M1535D+ Southbridge for desktop PCs and the M1535+ Mobile
Southbridge for notebooks. Desktop and notebook versions of the
new Southbridge will be available separately for $14 and $19,
ALI will use the foundry facilities of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC) and United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC), both of which are based in Hsinchu, Taiwan.