SAN JOSE, CALIF.--Avo Kanadjian, vice president of worldwide marketing for Rambus Inc., said he isn't worried about Intel Corp. providing a Pentium 4 chipset this year as a rival to Direct Rambus DRAM. He said he believed it would be 2002 before Intel brought its own DDR chipset to market, "and by that time RDRAM would have ramped up so strongly for Pentium 4 that a DDR chipset won't be able to compete."
Interviewed at the Platform Conference here this week, Kanadjian said for most of this year the Pentium 4 will only be shipping with Direct RDRAM, providing it with a commanding lead. He said the production ramp will drive Rambus costs down, making the chip highly competitive against DDR by the time Intel unveils its double data rate version of its chipset, code-named Brookdale.
He said spot market prices of Direct RDRAM are already falling, citing listings of two 800-MHz 64-megbyte RIMMs at about $150. "On a $1800 to $2000 PC, an OEM traditionally allocates about $200 for memory. The dual 128-Mbyte RIMMs are already well below this threshold," he said.
A single 128-Mbyte RIMM is also about $150 for a single channel Pentium 4 PC, he added.
He said he believed the current collapse of SDRAM pricing "actually helps Rambus' competitive position" with memory makers. Although the plunging SDRAM prices make it harder for Rambus to cut its price differential with the rival memory type, "it means DRAM producers can get a more fair price return on Direct Rambus. Meanwhile SDRAM prices have dropped so low that they are approaching the production cost for even the most efficient producers."
Rambus introduced its latest roadmap at the conference showing the next generation 1066-MHz version being introduced at midyear for consumer and communication products. "It takes a few months for timing specs to be tightened for the computer market, which is expected to see 1066-MHz Direct RDRAMs by the end of the year."
A new quad Rambus Signaling Level - transferring 4 bits on each clock cycle - will be introduced in early 2001 for the consumer and communications markets. This will double the current 800-megabit/secdata rate for consumer Rambus chjps to 1.6-Gbit/second. The computer Direct RDRAM versions are already at 1.6-Gbit/second using a dual signaling level.