Intel Corp.'s top executives said Tuesday that the company will likely grant licenses to third-party vendors to supply double-data-rate (DDR) chipsets for next-generation Pentium 4 processors.
"Intel has licensed third-party chipset suppliers for our architectures in the past, and we will continue to do so," Albert Yu, senior vice president for Intel's architecture group, said in response to questions at the Intel Developers Forum.When asked if this included Pentium 4 for which Intel has declined to license any chipsets yet, Yu repeated his statement that Intel isn't changing its policy to grant licenses for future architectures.
Analysts at the meeting said Yu could get off the hook because Intel is already working closely with partner ServerWorks Inc. to adapt its DDR chipset for next-generation Intel server MPUs to also work with Pentium 4. They said Taiwan's chipset vendors might not be included in Yu's answer.
However, an Intel spokesman said the company is considering Pentium 4 chipset licenses with companies like VIA Technologies, Acer Laboratories Inc., and Silicon Integrated Systems.
"Such licenses must make sense for Intel, and the details must be carefully worked out," he said. Reminded that Intel a year ago steadfastly claimed it would refuse to license the Pentium 4 interface to any third-party vendors, High responded, "market conditions change, and Intel will adjust to the market."
Craig Barrett, Intel president, sidestepped a question whether Intel's licensing agreement with Rambus precluded the company from developing its own DDR chipset. "We have always said we like Direct Rambus [memory] for the high-performance market. Memory solutions for other [PC] price points will depend on the market. Economics will dictate the memory choice, depending on price and availability of chips," he said. "
We are not interested in hamstringing the market by pricing [memory] outside of the pricing points the market wants."
Asked again if Intel would produce a DDR chipset of its own, Barrett reiterated his previous answer.