SAN JOSE -- In a major boost for the double-data-rate (DDR) SDRAM standard, Taiwan's PC motherboard giants this week threw their weight behind this new, emerging memory technology.
At this week's Platform Conference here, A-Open, Asustek, Giga-byte, Micro Star, and other majorTaiwanese board makers separately rolled out new low-cost, DDR SDRAM-enabled products for OEMs and retailers. The new boards are optimized to support DDR SDRAM main memory subsystems using microprocessors from both Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Intel Corp.
The new boards follow a slew of recent announcements made by Taiwan's board giants in the competing camp for next-generation DRAM products--Rambus Inc.'s high-speed memory technology. In fact, many Taiwanese board vendors not only support DDR SDRAM, but they also sell separate products that are optimized for Intel's Pentium 4 microprocessor and Direct Rambus (RDRAM) chips.
But because there is no clear winner for the new-and competing next-generation memory technologies and processors in the market today, Taiwan's flexible, fast-moving board makers must hedge their bets and support a range of standards and products.
"We have no choice but to support both DDR and Rambus," said Fu-Min Mina Hsu, marketing manager for MSI Computer Corp, at the Platform Conference in San Jose. Fremont, Calif.-based MSI is the U.S. subsidiary of Micro Star International Co Ltd., one of Taiwan's largest board makers.
At the conference, however, MSI rolled out a slew of new boards that support DDR SDRAM-enabled processors from AMD. MSI also sells boards that support the Pentium 4 and RDRAMs, it was noted.
The ability to support a plethora of standards isn't new for Taiwan's board makers. For years, local companies have developed products that support competing processors from AMD, Intel, Via, and others.
Taiwan is a major cog in the worldwide supply chain for chip makers and OEMs alike. In total, the island is the world's largest supplier of PC motherboards, according to the Market Intelligence Center (MIC), a government-sponsored research firm in Taipei.
At the Platform Conference, meanwhile, Asustek Computer Inc. rolled out its latest board. Dubbed the CUV266, the product supports Intel's Pentium III processors and both SDRAM and DDR SDRAM.
Based on the VT8633 chip set from Via Technologies Inc., the CUV266 also supports up to 2-gigabytes of PC133-enabled SDRAM or up to 3-gigabytes of DDR SDRAM. Product shipments are slated for next month, said Cathy Yu, marketing director for Asus Computer International. Fremont-based Asus is the U.S. subsidiary of Taiwanese motherboard gaint Asustek.
Asus also sells DDR SDRAM-enabled boards for AMD's processors as well as Pentium 4-based products. "Demand is strong for our Pentium 4 boards," Yu said. "We also see strong demand for DDR."
Other Taiwan board makers were mainly pushing DDR SDRAM-enabled products for AMD's family of processors. "DDR is the trend," said Teresa Pan, marketing manager for G.B.T. Inc. USA, based in the City of Industry, Calif. G.B.T. is the U.S. subsidiary of Taiwan motherboard giant Giga-Byte Technology Co. Ltd.
Gigabyte rolled out the GA-6RX, a product based on Via's Pro266 chip set. The product supports up to 4-gigabytes of 200/266-MHz DDR SDRAM. It also supports AGP, AMR, and Universal Serial Bus (USB).