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Intel still believes in Rambus

Barrett still backing pricey standard

Intel remains committed to introducing its forthcoming Pentium 4 processor with Rambus's high-speed memory interface technology, which the processor manufacturer believes is the right choice for high-end desktop PCs. So says Intel's president and CEO Craig Barrett.

The introduction of the Pentium 4, which will be launched in about a month's time at clock-speeds of 1.4GHz and 1.5GHz, will use RDRAM (Rambus Dynamic Random Access Memory) as main memory, Barrett said this morning in a question and answer session.

"We still are a believer in RDRAM for high-performance desktop applications," he said.

Barrett made his comments in response to a question regarding a widely-cited recent article in the Financial Times newspaper that quoted him as saying that Intel's bet on Rambus "did not work out."

"Let's de-sensationalise the quote," said Barrett, adding that his comment was specific to Intel's decision to select RDRAM for use as main memory in PCs based on a highly-integrated processor code named Timna.

Intel recently decided to kill Timna before its planned launch, which following several delays had been scheduled for next year's second half.

When Intel selected RDRAM for the planned Timna processor, which was to be used in low-cost PCs, the company was expecting RDRAM to be a cost-efficient volume product by the time the processor was ready to ship, Barrett added.

RDRAM chips, however, continue to carry a significant price-premium over mainstream SDRAM (Synchronous DRAM) chips, and Intel has also announced plans to introduce in 2001 a chip set for use in Pentium 4 systems with SDRAM support. Chip sets are key circuitry that allow a processor to communicate with the rest of the system.

In related news, Barrett said that Intel has already licensed other companies to make chip sets for Pentium 4 systems, but declined to name any of the licensees. "That's up to you guys to figure out," said Barrett, addressing a room full of reporters.


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