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Rambus looks beyond the PC

Looking at networks instead

Faced with uncertainty over the future use of its expensive, high speed, memory chips Rambus is hoping to carve a niche in networking hardware and expand its reach into the consumer electronics markets, a company executive said in an interview with PC Advisor’s sister company – the IDG News Service.

Within the next two years the company hopes to see around 30 percent of its revenue come from licensing fees related to chips used in networking hardware, around 20 percent from consumer electronics applications such as game consoles and high definition television, and the remaining 50 percent from the PC market, said Avo Kanadjian, vice president of worldwide marketing at Rambus.

Rambus' main source of revenue are the licensing fees paid by chip manufacturers, such as NEC and Samsung for use of the proprietary Rambus high-speed memory interface in DRAM (dynamic random access memory) chips. Rambus itself does not manufacture any chips.

Known as RDRAMs (Rambus DRAMs), the devices have been chosen by Intel for use in systems powered by its soon-to-be-released Pentium 4 processor. Recently, however, Intel has signalled that it will also introduce support for competing memory chip technologies.

According to Kanadjian, networking equipment vendors are looking to RDRAMs as a replacement for high-speed SRAM (static RAM) chips, production of which is now falling off. The vendors favour the Rambus technology, he said, because the high-speed memory interface means vast amounts of data can be transferred in and out of the memory chip faster - an important consideration in the high bandwidth world of networking.


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