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Industry rallies around cheaper standard

Double Data Rate SDRAM pushes out Rambus

Leading memory makers support for a rival a rival memory standard has left Intel facing an uphill struggle in its quest to push the industry towards adopting costly Rambus as the technology of choice for next-generation devices.

Representatives for some of the world's largest memory chip makers, including Hyundai, Micron Technology and Samsung have all voiced their support for DDR (Double Data Rate) SDRAM (Double Data Rate Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory) at this week’s Computex extravaganza in Taiwan.

Many industry experts now believe DDR will provide the next step from the single data rate SDRAM memory chips found in most of today's computers.

Adopting DDR SDRAM is a natural progression for both memory chip suppliers and system vendors, as it requires minimal changes in manufacturing infrastructure at only a minimal price premium.

It also delivers bandwith of up to 2.1Gb per second, or roughly double that of today's devices, said Farhad Tabrizi, vice president of strategic marketing and product planning at Hyundai, one of South Korea's leading memory makers.

Initially, DDR SDRAMs are expected to be about three percent more expensive than today's SDRAMs. Motherboard makers will also need to add about £4 worth of additional components, such as voltage regulators, but in other areas, including module manufacturing and testing, there will be virtually no cost increases.

The Rambus technology, meanwhile, requires entirely new testing equipment and module infrastructure, officials noted.

In addition, the memory makers have to pay technology licensing fees to Rambus, which owns the patents to the technology but does not make any chips itself.

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