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Rambus Hikes Memory Speed

And it's not just about the games. Rambus updated its high-bandwidth XDR memory interface technology to speed up 3D graphics, video imaging and network routing and switching applications.

Rambus, a leading developer of chip interfaces, which it licenses to manufacturers, announced the details of the new XDR2 memory interface this week at a developer's forum in Tokyo.

The XDR2 memory interface uses a micro-threaded DRAM core and circuit enhancements that enable data rates starting at 8GHz, which Rambus said makes it five times faster than today's best-in-class GDDR graphics DRAM products.

"We are continually pushing interface technology forward to develop compelling and innovative solutions that meet our customers needs," said Laura Stark, vice president of the platform solutions group at Rambus, in a statement. "XDR2 is our latest iteration of the XDR DRAM architecture and will help 3D games and graphics-intensive applications realize the high-performance potential that users demand."

Among the advances in XDR2 are micro-threading to increase memory system efficiency and adaptive timing to compensate for process, voltage and temperature variations during real-time operation.

The interface also includes transmit equalization, which minimizes the adverse system effects of reflections and attenuation that affect the speed of DRAM systems, and DRSL signaling, which provides common mode noise rejection and has an on-chip terminated point-to-point topology that minimizes reflections and reduced signal transition times associated with device loading and PCB trace stubs.

Rambus said its new XDR2 could be available in systems by 2007. Availability depends on how quickly Rambus customers choose to adopt XDR2 based on their own testing and needs assessment.

The company's current high-speed memory interface, XDR, is slated to be used in Sony's PlayStation 3 game system due next spring. At its core, the PS3 uses the newly designed high-performance Cell processor, jointly developed by IBM, Sony and Toshiba, as well as the RSX graphics processor (RSX) co-developed by NVIDIA and SCEI.

It also adopts BD-ROM (Blu-ray Disc ROM) with a maximum storage capacity of 54 GB (dual layer) , enabling delivery of entertainment content in full high-definition (HD) quality.