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Intel To Drop RAMBUS In Favor of DDR RAM 152

El Pollo Loco writes: "Anandtech has this news article. Basically, Intel has decided to drop expensive rambus memory and instead to go with cheaper DDR memory."
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Intel To Drop RAMBUS In Favor of DDR RAM

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  • Finally (Score:1, Troll)

    by Yavi ( 538405 )
    They see the light, and its at two passes per clock.
    • About time. I always wondered why they hung on for so long to RAMBUS. Maybe their contract finally expired?
  • Rambus (Score:1, Funny)

    by ruisantos ( 316753 )
    Very soon Rambus will disapear from our memories!
    • One of the advantages that Rambus memory had was that it was a higher speed serial connection (sort of) to the CPU. Someday, this same type of architecture may be needed if they want the CPU to communicate to the memory through some type of optical channel. Right now, memory has at least a 64bit data connection thus requiring 64 lines (and susceptible to interference). Maybe it's just that rambus' technology isn't ready yet.
  • Oh, hell... (Score:3, Funny)

    by general_re ( 8883 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2002 @09:22AM (#3076924) Homepage
    Watch the RAMBUS litigation machine swing into overdrive, now that they can't even pretend to make things...
    • Watch the RAMBUS litigation machine swing into overdrive, now that they can't even pretend to make things...

      Fortunately, given the results of their lawsuit with Infineon, and the disclosure of the Rambus internal memo that gave evidence of Rambus not disclosing information the the JEDEC, the standards committee they were supposed to be participating in, they don't have much of a litigious leg to stand on anymore.

      And they do actually make things, they just happen to suck(arguably). PC2400 (266MHz) DDR absolutely smokes 800MHz RDRAM, and it's cheap, too.

      • And they do actually make things...

        Nah. Rambus has exactly three divisions - the research department, the licensing department, and the extortion...err, legal department... ;)

    • PlayStation 2 is built with RDRAM, where the higher bandwidth makes perfect sense.
      • Nintendo 64 had RDRAM as well.
        I was always amazed at how little RAM the consoles had when they came out, and when I found out it was RDRAM I understood why. The expansion module was another 4MB of RDRAM.
        It provided the best memory bandwidth at the time IIRC.
      • It might be possible to get around bandwidth constraints using a different method. If I'm not mistaken, Microsoft's XBOX uses dual-channel DDR memory based on Nvidia's nForce board to get two times the theoretical bandwidth. (Though, based on Tom Hardware's recent review [tomshardware.com] of the board, dual-channel doesn't seem to have as great a real-world performance as one might hope.)
  • I wonder how much of this switch was due to the recent scandals - are Intel worried about the pockets of their customers? have they decided to stick with less, ahem, notorious technologies? are they truly concerned with the performance? I notice they haven't mentioned comparitive benchmarks in the article though... not a good sign.

    If their competitors follow suit, we'll see what happens.

    • For years companies which no longer exist pushed the middle or high end of markets, often with high ideals and flowery speech. The low end, as evidenced by heavily discounted CPU's has made AMD a lot of inroads, the performance of their Athlon and Duron CPU's doesn't hurt either. Intel's acknowledging this, after who knows how much revenue they let slip along with market share.

      Rambus [yahoo.com] stock Price about 7.42 a share, watch it drop when the bell sounds. While they aen't dead, check the stories of their other technologies below, they'll certainly be hurt with a lack of confidence on the part of investors. I wonder how all those stockholder suits are doing...

    • It must be the bottom dollar. This seems to me like another sony betamax all over again.
      Anyone who has seen beta and vhs side by side would pick beta hands down. All the tv stations use it. It is better technology. It was more expensive. People bought vhs, beta disapeared.
      Rambus comes out, if you put a pIV with rambus next to a pIV with ddr and run them with the same apps the one with rambus will almost always win, more bus bandwith, the latency is usually less.
      Rambus is more expensive. People bitch and buy ddr, now rambus will start supplying memory only in high end machines and we will only be able to buy the inferior ddr.

      just my 2 cents..
  • wha? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Tinfoil ( 109794 )
    This is a bit of a shock, really. RDRAM *is* a half decent solution for some high end boxes. That article from the windbags over at Tom's Hardware showed (kinda) sucessfully that there is a great deal of potential in RDRAM. I am an AMD / DDR user, but I have to admit that the P4 with a 133x4 bus is damn nice.
    • Re:wha? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by jsmyth ( 517568 )
      The answer to "why?" is either political, i.e. they don't want the splatters as the RAMBUS s**t hits the fan, or simply financial - the pennies saved on supporting chipsets might be worth it for the less serious customers, forced to choose between price and performance.

      Of course this still says nothing about the benchmarking process, should be fun seeing unbiassed reports as they trickle out.

    • This is a bit of a shock, really. RDRAM *is* a half decent solution for some high end boxes. That article from the windbags over at Tom's Hardware showed (kinda) sucessfully that there is a great deal of potential in RDRAM. I am an AMD / DDR user, but I have to admit that the P4 with a 133x4 bus is damn nice.

      Tell me on thing. The setup Tom tested (P4) - would you consider it to be a server machine, or a workstation machine? The 'line' between what gets to be desktop strength machine, and what gets to be server strength machine is fading away, and to me it looks silly that Tom tests Sandra and office suite on such a monster.

      I think he should've tested Oracle (and other 'heavy' stuff) on it, and show us the performance gain then. I don't really think people will be buying such P4 config just to get few hundred frames in Q3...
    • Rambus got a bad rap over the years, the PR part was deserved, but the performance part was not. See, Rambus really didn't provide any real benefit for the extra cost on a P3 platform (which the Athlon/Tbird is also based on.) However, on P4 based systems, Rambus performs wonderfully (much better than DDR,) as these machines are designed to use more memory bus speed than bus width. Where DDR pushes 2-32 bit chunks at 133 mHz, Rambus pushes 16 bit chunks at 400 or 533 mHz. Neither technology alone is "better" (though many people favor DDR/SDRAM for obvious licensing and cost reasons) but paired with the right CPU and chipset, they can be just as fast. Toms Hardware has an excellent comparison between the platforms here. [tomshardware.com]

      Note that I personally use an Athlon XP with DDR. It's just that I hate to see misconceptions running around. In the past, yes, DDR was faster than Rambus, but that's not really the case anymore.
  • by WIAKywbfatw ( 307557 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2002 @09:33AM (#3076965) Journal
    Obviously, this is bad news for Intel but great great news for the industry in general.

    Intel tried to push RAMBUS heavily. In fact, it tried to ram it down people's throats (no pun intended). For various reasons, not least of all cost, not too many people were happy with this state of affairs.

    I can recall when Intel were pushing RAMBUS as the best thing since sliced bread and were denouncing DDR RAM as a pile of pants but now the company's been forced to perform a complete volte face.

    Why does this matter? It matters because Intel, despite it's near total dominance of the desktop market, has been shifted from leading the herd to being forced to run with it. It just goes to prove, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink it.

    Of course, all this doesn't change the fact that Intel is a major player, and will get its own way in lots of other areas but it's nice to see that it can't win 'em all.

    Additionally, one fewer memory standard should help drive down the long-term cost of DDR RAM further (right now it's a twice what it was in November 2001 but still at least a third cheaper than March 2001).

    Good news all round. Score one for the other guys.
  • Hmm...

    After hours trading opened at 6.24 (drop of about 14%), but it seems to have recovered to 7.10. This is after rising 20% yesterday because of a "design" breakthrough (the RIMM 4200)

    RMBS [yahoo.com]
  • "Hello, Intel, how may I direct your call?"

    "This is the market calling, we want fast and cheap RAM."

    "Oh, yes, we finally listened. I was concerned you might be Rambus Attorney's trying to sue us over breach of contract."

    "Nope, not us, we don't care, but wait until their stock gets two about 20 a share, anyone who still cares about Intel getting into bed with the devil might!"

  • I believe that in the end Rambus may be the better product but it's the way Rambus (Co) ran it's busisness that makes this happy news for me. Are the voices of the geeks who pay attention to this partly to blame for Rambus going out? -- I'd like to think we played a part in it. :)
  • by Domini ( 103836 ) <lailoken@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 27, 2002 @09:38AM (#3076985) Journal
    Since this move will only be one toward the end of the year, that will mean that the P4 will still be heavily based on RAMBUS memory.

    Even though there are several other P4 motherboards out there supporting DDR RAM for the P4, the point is that Intel will have to support DDR and RAMBUS for their P4 fully.

    I can see complications brewing... this should test Intel's mettle.

    Otherwise, they may decide to leave the current P4 chips with RAMBUS for now, in which case the customers who bought into it are screwed.

    I'm an AMD fan (see me twirl!), but RAMBUS have screwed Intel for the last time with overpriced and underperforming memory.

    • Intel already supports DDR for the P4.

      "I can see complications brewing... this should test Intel's mettle."

      Wow, remind me not to read /. for industry analysis.
      • Perhaps it does, but for every different permutation of setup configuration for a PC there are reliability studies to be done. Intel has been fortunate in the past, people had lotsa money, and could afford Intel (hence them not caring to use RAMBUS). They will start to suffer from the same unreliabilty problems as AMD, since people can now go for non-intel motherboards, and intel has to (for a change) start testing motherboards outside their narrow scope.

        Also, as you may know, Intel are much better supported under Microsoft, since their limited hardware configurations make it easy to test and acquire stability.

        As a AMD user, I have had severe trouble under Windows 2000 with my AMD machines, but the Intel ones are solid.

        Which comes to the point I was trying to make: Intel will have to work hard from now on to keep customers happy, who will start to blame motherboard/OS problems on the chip.

        As a Windows evangelist you should understand these things. Duh!
  • good! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Ender Ryan ( 79406 ) <[ ] ['' in gap]> on Wednesday February 27, 2002 @09:38AM (#3076988) Journal
    Why did they ever choose a law firm as their ram manufacturer anyway?

    • More to the point, why would they adopt a technology that carries a licensing fee when they're trying to compete in a commodity market.

      The answer, probably, is that a couple of years ago when the decision was made, they wanted to avoid being in a commodity market. But AMD has been successful enough with DDR that they've prevented Intel from differentiating themselves this way. If there were still only one viable CPU supplier, this strategy could have improved Intel's bottom line. But with the Athlon/DDR as competition, all that Rambus is accomplishing is keeping Intel system prices high.

      Look at P4 systems in BestBuy or CompUSA... hardly any use Rambus, most just use regular SDRAM. Consumers buy CPU cycles, not memory bandwidth. Your Grandma (or your VP of Sales) knows that a 2GHz machine is usually better than a 1GHz machine, but their eyes glaze over when you talk about serial memory access.
      • why would they adopt a technology that carries a licensing fee when they're trying to compete in a commodity market

        Same reason you buy anything - price/benefit ratio.
        If it had been faster and/or smaller price difference, it could have succeded.

  • RMBS is down (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pedrito ( 94783 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2002 @09:39AM (#3076990)
    It's only 8:37 and Rambus stock is already down 6%. I imagine it will drop some more. They made an announcement yesterday that they're going to start making cheaper memory, and it boosted their stock a lot. I think they'll completely lose that gain. Personally, I'd like to see them go out of business just because of their crappy attitude in the industry towards consumers and competitors.
  • DDR cheaper? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Doesn't DDR SDRAM cost about as much as RAMBUS memory?
    • Re:DDR cheaper? (Score:3, Informative)

      by JiffyPop ( 318506 )
      Ah, from the mouths of babes (cowards)...

      if you check pricewatch RDRAM and DDR have almost identical costs. if someone is charging more for RDRAM then they are just lagging behind the market...

      • Ah, from the mouths of babes (cowards)...

        if you check pricewatch RDRAM and DDR have almost identical costs. if someone is charging more for RDRAM then they are just lagging behind the market...

        I'm not sure, but I think it might have something to do with Rambus charging higher royalties from it's patents on DDR technology.

        Rambus makes money no matter which memory Intel chooses. It just might make more off of RD-RAM. Rambus isn't going belly-up any time soon.
  • Is this decision entirely from the goodnless of their hearts, or is there something else afoot with this. I mean we all agree that RAMBUS was poisoning the well with all their crazy licensing and (fradulent) patent demands, but does Intel know something about the future of chip-supply that we don't? From all indications, Rambus has profitability in it's sights, but with Intel freeing themselves from that yoke with the i845 (?) chipset, perhaps Rambus is going to find themselves pushed to niche markets (servers, high-speed clusters, etc...) I mean SiS has a chipset that supports it going forward (correct me if I'm wrong), but who's going to keep on the bandwagon now that Tulloch has been deep 6'ed and some of the original arguements for RAMBUS are getting weak. Is there anyone who has any concrete reasons for shopping mobo's with that feature or are we looking at tech that's going to get leapfroged in the next 6-12 months?
    hmmm, food for thought from someone who's shopping for a new mobo... (hmmm, Soyo or ABIT?)
  • Did we not hear of this a long time ago...like last spring?
  • It must be frustrating being Intel- I see tons of "cheap" P4 systems using SDRAM...

    It seems the public is very fickle- they want a "fast" processor without looking at overall system performance

    Meanwhile, AMD is getting away with selling Athlon 1800+ chips, which many people actually think run at 1800+ mhz.

    Regardless of price, I'm convinced most ordinary people want ONE NUMBER for which to compare PCs.... not 17 different variables... they want one single number to sum it all up- and that seems to be mhz.

    Meanwhile, until the economy "straightens out"- businesses seem to still be buying P3 systems, or at least shying away from the bleeding edge. At least both job sites I work at have been very conservative in their purchasing...
  • Over reacting (Score:1, Informative)

    by ruisantos ( 316753 )
    The change is actually restricted to four tiny little Intel products .. all desktops, workstations, servers and notebooks.

    Read the article carefully. The change is on 1 product line only.
  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2002 @09:45AM (#3077015) Homepage

    First, this is an EBM [ebnews.com] story. Why link to a 2nd hand report that has a link to the primary source right on the page?

    Second, it's spurious: "An Intel workstation roadmap secured by EBN" strongly implies that this is not an official Intel announcement.

    Third, while it's not such a huge deal for Intel, it's a huge furry deal for Rambus Inc., the well known firm of lawyers. Rambus Inc. is a public company, and as such has an obligation to announce significant events effecting future earnings. "A spokeswoman for Rambus Inc. said she couldn't comment on new Intel workstation chipsets supporting DDR, and referred all questions to Intel" simply doesn't cut it. Rambus Inc. might be greedy lying parasites, but they're surely not stupid enough to sit on information that they must - must - have known about prior to this (alleged) policy change.

    Given that Rambus Inc. share price rose 22% yesterday [theinquirer.net] based on the news that Intel had adopted the 533Mhz FSB to support RDRAM, the SEC will no doubt be having a good, long look at their disclosures and these "yes we will/no we won't" announcements, and asking who exactly is releasing them, and who is benefitting from the share fluctuations.

    Let's hold fire on this until it's been confirmed by both Intel and Rambus Inc. Please. Pretty please.

    • Also, DDR and RDRAM have pretty much reached a price parity, you're not paying more for one or the other anymore really. With the massive amount of bandwidth that the Pentium 4 loves and needs to perform, especially as we've seen from some of the previews of the chip, I think it might be safe to say you're on the money with the thought that this is just rumor. I can't see Intel cutting off Rambus now that prices are nearly the same and performance is shown to be there.
    • Right on. I don't believe this news report.

      There has been no news on the financial wires indicating INTC dropping RMBS. I guarantee that at soon as that hit the wires, RMBS would probably drop 50%. When I see an announcement straight out of RMBS or INTC, I'll believe it.

    • As the Register points out in their discussion of the story [theregus.com], this change only applies to the Placer and Granite Bay chipsets being developed for single- or dual-processor Xeon workstations. The existing RDRAM-based chipsets (the 850 and 860) will be refreshed with support for the 533MHz FSB but will otherwise remain unchanged.

  • this is what i've been waiting to hear, I design system computer packages for a local computer store and it was becomming a pain in the ass to try and tell what motherboard (socket 423 or 478) using either SDRAM or DDR RAM or RDRAM. Some of the sales people didn't know how to tell the difference eitehr, so they would sell a system with a socket 478 motherboard using SDRAM with a socket 423 processor and RDRAM.

    At least this will finally make my job a little easier and I won't have to double check all the new computer sales as much anymore.
  • No! (Score:5, Funny)

    by k98sven ( 324383 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2002 @09:47AM (#3077018) Journal
    They should boycott DDR ram memory in protest
    against the terrible human rights situation in
    communist East Germany.

    Buying DDR RAM is supporting the communists!
    • Hehe, been asleep the last 14 years or so? :)
    • Re:No! (Score:3, Funny)

      by Dr. Spork ( 142693 )
      Screw you, capitalist satan pig-dog! Not only will I proudly use DDR memory, but I insist my Athlon processor be made in the Dresden fab.

      Long live the People's Revolution!

  • I didn't see any references here, so here it is:

    http://www.ebnews.com/story/OEG20020226S0040 [ebnews.com]
  • by RebornData ( 25811 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2002 @09:51AM (#3077036)
    If you just read the headline above and the linked *clipping* of a story, you'd think Intel is dropping RAMBUS completely. That is not the case. Here's the original story [ebnews.com] that the clipping came from. Intel is dropping *exclusive* support for RDRAM. Here's a relevant quote:

    Also, although not new products, the next iterations of its 850 and 860 chipsets, supporting a 533MHz front-side, will support RDRAM when they arrive, probably in the second half of this year.

    This ties in perfectly with Tom's Hardware review of a new, pre-release 533MHz RDRAM chipset and the Anandtech review of the new Intel DDR-based chipset linked to by /. earlier this week [slashdot.org].
    • by Xoro ( 201854 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2002 @10:15AM (#3077192)

      Hmmm. Did you read your own link?

      Intel Corp. in the second half of this year will drop its final Direct Rambus DRAMs support in new computer products

      The 850 and 860 will continue to support RDRAM as planned. But following those on the roadmap are Placer and Granite Bay, both DDR only. Your quote only indicates a phase-out. Maybe if there was some huge upsurge in demand for the 133 MHz releases of the 8[56]0 they'd change their minds, but for now, RDRAM is off Intel's map.

    • Not only that, but the implication that RDRAM is expensive is wrong as well. RDRAM is almost the same price ( within 5-10 bucks ) of the same size DDR ram. At least on pricewatch it is.
  • I think the reason why Intel may be supporting more DDR-SDRAM installations for desktop platforms is the fact that the latest DDR-SDRAM variants already equal the speed of RDRAM for large data blocks but substantially cost way less than RDRAM on a per 128 MB basis. I believe also that motherboard manufacturing costs are lower for DDR-SDRAM than RDRAM, too.
    • Check Pricewatch before claiming DDR costs less. Really, it's about the same price as RDRAM. If Rambus weren't such a lame and litigious company, I'd be sad at hearing this announcement. I think the technology is good. I hope their engineers, who have done a decent job, get really pissed off that their stupid marketing/legal departments stunk up the company so badly that even Intel couldn't stay in bed with them. If I were a start techie at Rambus, I'd put up my resume today!
  • for servers (Score:2, Informative)

    by AA0 ( 458703 )
    Intels decision to drop rambus in favour of DDR, DDRII, and dual channel versions of it isn't because of the desktop market at all. Which is what is misleading here.

    Intel has always known that RAMBUS is not the best thing for servers, since servers need large amounts of memory. The serial configuration RAMBUS must be put it, along with its higher latency, leads to poor performance when in large amounts. This isn't acceptable, and doesn't happen with DDR, its the primary reason they are switching.

    That and RAMBUS runs hotter then the P4 CPUs
    • You're mostly right. Most /.'ers went on an anti-Rambus rant and assumed Intel was dropping RDRAM across the entire line.

      The EBN article clearly says that the new chipsets are for workstations (graphics, software engineerings, MCAD, etc.). Folks, these are machines that have at least 512MB of RAM. They are not mainstream desktops...

      For now, Intel is still pushing RDRAM for mainstream desktops...
  • I'm no RAM expert, but couldn't this be some sort of trick by Intel? I've got an AMD myself and I like their style, but I think companies will always keep in mind what their competitors are doing. When Intel drops the support on RAMBUS, could it be possible AMD will adapt their research strategies because of this and focus on DDR or something like that? Intel dropping support doesn't mean their dropping the technology as a whole. Maybe they're still researching cheaper/better implementations for Rambus and when they find them, milk out DDR some more, before going full blast with Rambus and leaving AMD behind. Is any of this possible or is it better for me to quit watching the X-files?
  • If you read the article, it only talks about Xeon.

    So, just curious, maybe they will go on making P4 RDRAM chipsets. There are real, honest advantages to serial bus and serious problems to paraller bus when the clock rate goes up.

    Just why do you think there's only Nvidia's dual DDR P4 chipset? Which no-one seems to be using too much? One DDR module has 184 pins, dual that to 368 and I start seeing black spots just thinking about routing that in PCB..

    In any case, I don't like Rambus any more than stereotypical /. software libre radicals. Maybe memory manufacturers could buy the miserable company and do a proper JEDEC serial ram standard.
    • "Maybe memory manufacturers could buy the miserable company and do a proper JEDEC serial ram standard."

      Hey, I like this idea, but let's not float it too soon. I think they should let Rabmus go bankrupt first and buy up the IP at the liquidation auction. There is no hurry, and if this announcement is right (and applies to all lines of future Intel chips) we won't have to wait long anyway. You can bet that Rambus people will be trying agressively to sell their IP pretty soon. I hope they get stonewalled.

  • Hadn't it already become obvious Intel had made a mistake and was going to drop Rambus anyway? I mean the first step in the grave for Rambus was Intel doing ANYTHING with DDR, once they saw DDR was better it was over. Then Rambus shooting themselves in the foot (A LA we want to sue everyone because we are anal retentive!) I thought this was the consensus about 6 months ago. But for once (since the last of the socket 7 CPU's) GOOD FOR INTEL! At least they are willing to admit a mistake and change it..... maybe theres hope for them yet!...... naw nevermind AMD is better anyway.
  • Intel's support of Rambus over DDR SDRAM in high-end systems is just beginning to be justified, if you've seen the latest benchmarks on tomshardware. DDR SDRAM is a bit more unstable at higher clock speeds and Rambus seems to be able to scale nicely. I don't like Rambus as a company one bit, but until I see more info from other news sites, I'm going to remain a little skeptical about this claim.
  • ... is playing catchup technology wise with AMD. First Intel is considering making their own 64bit x86 CPU if the Hammer family takes off. Now they're jumping on the DDR bandwagon. Which is not to mention them having to play catchup in the P3 vs. Athlon game that went on for a few months. AMD may not have the economic lead, but technologically they've got Intel beat several times over. I wonder when we'll get leaks about what the K9 family will offer because it's doubtful Intel will come up with anything superior before then worth looking at :)
  • Very odd... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Controlio ( 78666 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2002 @10:25AM (#3077243)
    This is a really odd announcement, especially considering this article [tomshardware.com] released by Tom's Hardware Guide [tomshardware.com] yesterday. Basically, the article tested the upcoming P4 chips at 2666mhz and 2533mhz, and stated many times that the performance gained by using both a 133mhz FSB and 533mhz memory clock would show enormous gains over any current Intel or AMD processor. Some of the performance numbers on THG's graphs were rather impressive.

    So I see one of two things here. Either this report is wildly inaccurate or misinterpreted, or Intel sure is shooting themselves in the foot yet again. As soon as they create technology that can utilize Rambus' enormous memory bandwidth, they can the technology? Something about that doesn't sound right. Intel may be dumb, but they're stubborn too. If this is true, they sure picked a hell of a time to seriously rethink their relationship with Rambus.
    • Re:Very odd... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RelliK ( 4466 )
      Yeah, in that article a 2666/533MHz Pentium 4 manages to outperform Athlon XP 2000+ (which actually runs at 1666/266MHz). What a great achievement! How do you think Athlon XP 2666+ would change the picture? Notice that 2000+ consistently shows very strong performance relative to 2000MHz and even 2200MHz P4.
      • Re:Very odd... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by John_Booty ( 149925 )
        Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. The 2666mhz P4 manages to outperform the 16666mhz Athlon! Wow, what an engineering feat. :)

        On the other hand though, Intel is really pulling away in raw clock speed. Obviously AMD wipes the floor with Intel at the same clock speed, but that fact is AMD looks to be nowhere close to getting over the 2GHZ mark.

        The AMD vs. Intel debate is starting to sound a exactly like the Mac vs. PC clock speed debates, where G4s clobbered P2's and P3's at equivalant clock speeds, but the Intel chips were available at SUCH higher MHZ that the issue was moot.
        • Actually, AMD is supposed to release Thoroughbred in Q3, AFAIK. It's basically the Palomino core shrunk to .13 micron. This will allow AMD to get much higher clock speeds. Also, Clawhammer will come out by the end of the year. It's certainly going to be interesting to watch.

          Interestingly, Tom says that the overclocked P4s he tested are not supposed to be released until Q3! That means we'll probably see the 2666MHz P4 and Athlon 2666+ released around the same time. I guess Intel is waiting for the Rambus and/or motherboard support.
    • Basically, the article tested the upcoming P4 chips at 2666mhz and 2533mhz, and stated many times that the performance gained by using both a 133mhz FSB and 533mhz memory clock would show enormous gains over any current Intel or AMD processor

      People don't buy x86 for speed. They buy x86 (whether it's Intel or AMD) because it's very cheap and has decent performance for its price. If you want speed and price isn't a big factor, then you don't buy x86. You don't buy RAMBUS because your CPU isn't from Intel; your CPU is from IBM or DEC (RIP) or someone else, and you use whatever type of RAM they tell you to.

      Having fast expensive memory systems for x86 chips defies that principle. There is no market for it.

  • Yes. All the rage with disgraced businessmen in Japan, cordless bungee jumping has become the "in" thing at RAMBUS.

    In other news, bookmakers have opened wagers on what augers in first at RAMBUS. Their business leaders, their lawyers, or their stock prices.
  • by delphin42 ( 556929 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2002 @10:32AM (#3077291) Homepage
    Rambus was just starting to become affordable (on par with DDR), there are a ton of new benchmarks showing that in several applications, the P4 at high clock speeds actually benefits tremendously from Rambus. Just when it actually starts to look good, they decide to drop it?

    Check out:

    Tom's Hardware [tomshardware.com]

    "This is because the Pentium 4 has a problem: the increase in clock speed (e.g. P4/2533 or P4/2666) will be rendered useless by the slow DDR SDRAM memory bus of the 845 platform. In the mass market, the 845 chipset dominates by nearly 100% - and this will remain the case for the next six months. But only 533 MHz RDRAM enables the processor to attain high performance. Eventually, the dual-channel DDR solution will receive some sort of technological boost, however there's still no sign of development in this area."

    I guess there's only one thing left to say: GO AMD!!!
  • by ToLu the Happy Furby ( 63586 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2002 @10:59AM (#3077460)
    Note, first of all, that it is in fact quite true that Intel is (planning on) dropping all new RDRAM-based designs from their x86 chipset lineup soon. The last "new" RDRAM chipset Intel releases will be the upcoming 850E, which is just the 850 but speed bumped to work with the upcoming 533MHz FSB P4s (due in April), and to match them with PC1066 RDRAM. Of course, this is very old news, known from Intel roapmaps obtained by everyone and their mom back in October or November.

    But that's not what the article [ebnews.com] says. It's talking only about chipsets for servers and workstations, where, indeed, the 860 is being replaced by the just introducted dual-channel DDR E-7500 (Plumas) and the upcoming dual-channel DDR Placer (as well as a just-introduced chipset from Broadcom), and where the 850 will be replaced by the dual-channel DDR Granite Bay chipset, due in Q3 or so.

    Thing is, dual-channel DDR for the *desktop* won't arrive from Intel until sometime in 2003, with the Springdale chipset. (Dual-channel DDRII, in fact.) VIA and SiS are both trying to get their dual-channel DDR chipsets out in time for the 533 FSB P4s (doubtful, but they should be in full swing by Q3), but, again, if you want the very highest-performing P4 desktop, and you want an Intel chipset, you'll either need to ridiculously overpay for a Granite Bay (workstation oriented) motherboard, or you'll have to use the 850E with PC1066 RDRAM, or you'll have to wait until Springdale in 2003.

    So, to reiterate:

    1) Yes, RDRAM is gone from all future Intel chipset introductions save the 850E, which is just a speed bump, not a new chipset.

    2) But that's not what this article is talking about; it's only talking about servers and workstations.

    3) RDRAM won't be completely gone until there is a dual-channel DDR chipset to replace it on the desktop; soon from VIA and SiS, not until 2003 from Intel.
  • I don't know about the rest of the world, but where I live (Denmark), the prices for DDR-RAM and RD-RAM are nearly the same.

  • This comes as quite a shock to me, especially since Intel recently unveiled a chipset supporting Rambus 533. In fact I was under the impression based on reviews I have read that the Pentium 4 only performs to its potential when paired with a 133Mhz FSB and RDRAM 533 based on 1066 spec. Rambus 533 should Offer 4 GB/sec compared to DDR 266 with a 2.3 GB/sec bus. TomsHardware.com did a review of this setup and the Pentium 4 does exhibit a huge increase when paired with the faster Ram technology even compared to DDR 333 spec. A move like this really makes me wonder what is going on behind Intel's closed doors. Without RDRAM they would lose their speed advantage over AMD... time will tell I suppose.
  • by zerofoo ( 262795 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2002 @11:41AM (#3077678)
    I've never run into speed or compatiblity issues with Rambus; I can not say the same for DDR memory.

    I can't tell you how many chipsets i've dealt with in the past year that had issues with filling all the memory sockets; general timing and compatibility issues....damn....via even has speed issues regarding filling all the dimm sockets with ram on some of their chipsets! That's rediculous.

    How many Rambus issues have I had? Let's see....NONE.

    Granted, Rambus was expensive, but has anyone looked at DDR vs. Rambus lately? The pricing is almost equal.

    Hopefully Intel will release STABLE chipsets and possibly force DDR technology to be as cross-compatible as Rambus.

  • Did they really think people wanted to pay that much for memory? Why didn't they just engineer a nice DDR chipset in the first place? Seems like a no brainer to me. Uh gee, people like paying less per performance unit so...
    • It's easy: For the P4, Rambus DOES outperform DDR. Not by much, granted - and recently, DDR and Rambus have been about the same price. That would mean that Rambus actually made MORE sense for the P4.

      Now as to the future, that's a little unclear. There is now PC2700 DDR, but no official support for it - and Rambus was about to get bumped up in speed, too.

      My real guess is that what we REALLY want for the multi-gigahertz processors is QDR (DDR2) memory, especially if the motherboard manufacturers will be willing to interleave multiple banks, like the nForce does...

  • I waited until the prices dropped. When RAMBUS memory stated appearing in circuit city I was delighted. It appears that supply has finally caught up with demand and the prices appear to be as good as other RAM prices. I see not reason to give up on the speek offered by RAMBUS because of manufacturing delays.
  • RAMBUS (Score:3, Funny)

    by Wansu ( 846 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2002 @12:59PM (#3078217)

    I always thought RAMBUS sounded like a brand of condom.
  • It shows that Intel is a progressive company in that they are open to changes (better ways) and not stuck on proving themselves right. The last step in the engineering design process is "to perform post-implementation review and assessment," which this reflects. Intel also saw that their slot architecture wasn't good and switched back to sockets during the PIII's run. (What the benefits of either architectures are, I'm not sure) My question: will Intel's use of DDR bring prices up by decrease in supply?
  • But what about the recent article [slashdot.org] about Intel's newest architecture, using 533MHz RAMBUS DRAM? That article, and the comments associated with it, state that, price-wise, the RDRAM is no longer significantly higher than DDR SDRAM, and with the new faster FSB, will blow DDR right out of the proverbial water.

    Is Intel reneging on their statements of yesterday, or is Tom's Hardware or Anandtech just getting false information?

    If RDRAM is no longer more expensive and is in fact a better choice for a fast system, should the company be left out in the cold? Bear in mind that I don't like the way RAMBUS has been treating people, but I do believe that the best product should always be able to live on, and RDRAM has surely been making strides.
  • Anyone else bothered by the talk of a .09 micron process at the bottom of the article? I may have my numbers wrong but I thought that .1 microns was as small as it gets before quantum tunneling and other effects take over.
  • Last I check on pricewatch, they were the same price give or take three dollars dpending on the manufacturer.

    And didnt Intel just recently announce that they were going with a quad pumped 133mhz bus (I.E. Rambuss 1066) for their 2.5ghz chips?

    This is just so much fluffer.

  • okay, so intel are switching to ddr ram, yet rambus is the only ram that can deliver the bandwidth required, could somebody explain to me why this is a good businesss decision?
  • that's not a smart idea on intel's part, rdram is getting cheaper (although it still is more expensive than ddr) and the bandwidth it provides really helps it pull ahead of amd in bandwidth intensive programs... think unreal chamionship here kids, i won't be surprised if intel takes rdram back again when the cpu speeds go a lot faster

The absent ones are always at fault.