Winbond Electronics Corp. is ramping up production of Direct Rambus DRAM, targeting performance desktop PCs and workstations.
Winbond said it is sampling 128 and 256Mbit RDRAMs to meet OEM demand for the memory, which is used to support Intel Corp.'s Pentium 4 processors. Winbond is one of only a few manufacturers to have announced a wholesale ramp of the Rambus chips and joins Toshiba Corp. and Direct RDRAM volume leader Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. in the market.
"As a leading DRAM supplier in Taiwan, Winbond will add local production capacity, which is important to support the ramp of Pentium 4/ RDRAM-based systems," said Dave Mooring, president of Rambus Inc., Los Altos, Calif., in a statement.
Winbond already makes DRAM on behalf of Toshiba, and the RDRAM will be shipped to Toshiba for use in Sony Corp.'s PlayStation 2 game consoles, said Connor Liu, an analyst at SG Securities in Taipei. The Hsinchu-based manufacturer didn't reveal shipment details.
"Rambus DRAMs will be a strategic part of our product offerings this year," said C.C. Chang, Winbond's president. "Winbond is committed to meeting the PC industry's need for higher memory bandwidth, and we intend to be an important RDRAM supplier to PC companies."
Winbond's move escalates the market battle between Rambus and double-data-rate SDRAM, both of which are vying to become the PC industry's next memory standard. Rambus is lagging in Taiwan, the world's largest PC manufacturing center, because DRAM makers here such as Nanya Technology Inc. and Mosel Vitelic Inc. prefer DDR devices.
"It won't be easy for Rambus to outpace DDR in terms of pricing," said SG Securities' Liu, adding that a 128Mbit DDR module costs $20, while a similar Rambus module is about $70.
Indeed, Winbond said it is eager to introduce new products precisely because the selling prices of its main DRAM have fallen to below $2, which is less than production costs. OR