SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- During the first-ever JEDEX conference here today, a representative from JEDEC outlined the future roadmap for the "mainstream" DRAM market, disclosing that the organization "may or may not" ratify the 400-MHz version of the double-data-rate (DDR) SDRAM technology as a standard.
The disclosure is bound to upset Micron, Samsung and other DRAM makers, many of which are just rolling out their first engineering samples of DRAMs, based on the so-called DDR400 standard.
Meanwhile, DRAM manufacturers are currently making the swift transition from SDRAM to the 200- and 266-MHz versions of the DDR SDRAM standard for "mainstream memory" in PCs and other systems. The so-called DDR200 and DDR266 standards have data transfer rates at 1,600 and 2,100-megabytes-per-second, respectively.
Now, the 333-MHz version (DDR333) has been ratified by JEDEC and the technology will become the new and mainstream DRAM technology for mainstream PCs and other products, said Bill Gervasi, technology director at Santa Clara, Calif.-based Transmeta Corp. and representative of JEDEC.
"DDR266 will be very viable for a long time," Gervasi said. "We are in the introduction stage for DDR333," he said during a presentation at the JEDEX conference. The two-day conference is sponsored by JEDEC and other organizations.
The DDR333 is being pushing by several vendors, including a pair of chip set suppliers in Taiwan: Silicon Integrated Systems Corp. and Via Technologies Inc. The data transfer rates for DDR333 is said to be 2,700-megabytes-per-second.
But still, the DDR333 market will take some time to develop. The chip-set roll outs are still in the early stages, while systems manufacturers are somewhat reluctant to adopt the new memories in favor of the cheaper DDR266 parts, according to analysts.
Meanwhile, if or when the DDR333 standard takes off, there are two technologies vying for dominance in the next-generation DRAM race: DDR-II and the 400-MHz version of DDR SDRAM, or DDR400.
During the presentation, Gervasi implied that DDR-II would become the next DRAM standard after DDR333. "I don't see [DDR400] as a mainstream product," he said. "I see it as a boutique memory," he said, noting DDR400 would be geared for more specialized applications.
He said JEDEC "may or may not" ratify DDR400 as a standard. But the organization is well under way to develop the specifications for DDR-II, which will offer 3,200-megabyte-per-second data transfer rates.
DDR-II is not expected to be a mainstream technology until 2004, although engineering samples for parts are due out late-2002 or early-2003, he added.
The disclosure about DDR400 could upset several DRAM makers, including Micron, Samsung, and others. In recent weeks, the companies separately announced the industry's first engineering samples for parts based on the DDR400 technology.
A spokesman for Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. here declined to comment. Micron Technology Inc. could not be reached for comment.