Micron Technology is ready to drop production plans for its Samurai DDR chipset, which has now morphed into at least two new embedded DRAM integrated graphics versions.
Officials said that the previously disclosed Mamba embedded DRAM technology will be used in a Northbridge chip using this name that has 8-megabytes of Level 3 cache on chip. Micron is also planning to add integrated graphics to Mamba, using its Rendition core, in a second version to be called Shogun.
Dean Klein, Micron vice president of the integrated products group, said that "it's very likely that the firm will introduce the Mamba Northbridge Q3 '01." It is targeted originally only for Advanced Micro Devices's Athlon family of processors, he said. PC OEMs can complete the chipset by adding a Southbridge chip from any of a number of third party vendors, he said.
Klein added that Micron might work with a third party supplier to offer Southbridge optimized for its embedded DRAM Northbridge for a complete chipset solution.
Separately, Micron chairman Steve Appleton said in an interview that Shogun is planned to add the firm's Rendition graphics core for an integrated graphics Northbndge. He couldn't set any timetable for introducing Shogun to the market.
Industry sources said Micron has yet a third Northbridge version using embedded DRAM, called Scimitar, that would be a mainstream PC version of the Mamba Northbridge. The Micron officials didn't comment on the Scimitar chip.
The new Northbridge embedded DRAM/graphics chips throws the fate of Micron's original Samurai full DDR chipset into doubt. Klein said Samurai has fulfilled its function "to stimulate the market" for double data rate memory. "Many third party chipset producers have now entered the market space that we were targeting for Samurai. There now will be an ample supply of DDR chipsets, and we are re-evaluating whether there is a need for Samurai."
At the same time, he said Micron sees a market opening up for logic and memory controllers, combining Samurai technology with the firm's embedded DRAM and graphics accelerator cores.
A Micron briefing at Comdex last week claimed the new Mamba Northbridge would allow sustained high performance data rate throughput of 9.6-gigabytes/second. Burst data rate from the embedded 8-Mbyte Level 3 DRAM cache would have a peak of more than 19-Gbytes/second.