Rambus’ ‘Yellowstone’ Reborn as XDR DRAM

Chipmaker Rambus Thursday said it is close to launching its fastest memory processor, which it has re-branded as XDR DRAM.

The Los Altos, Calif.-based company said it is also working with Japanese vendors Toshiba and Elpida on a shipping schedule starting in 2004, ramping to volume production in 2005.

The chipmaker said the XDR infrastructure, such as DRAM models, controller IO cells, clock generators, data sheets and system design guides, are available today for semiconductor and system design.

The chip itself will run at 3.2GHz with a roadmap to 6.4GHz and beyond and uses interface technology, formerly code-named Yellowstone. Rambus said those speeds allow for memory system bandwidths up to 100GB/s making it eight-times faster than current DRAM . Rambus said it designed the XDR DRAM initially as a high-bandwidth performer for consumer, graphics, and networking applications. The hope is to eventually use it for PC main memory, server and mobile systems when these applications require higher levels of bandwidth.

“The XDR family provides a fresh approach to memory system design and will resolve bandwidth bottlenecks, enabling rich feature sets in next-generation broadband systems,” said Rambus vice president Laura Stark.

The company says XDR DRAM will be available in multiple speed bins, device densities, and device widths. Densities will range from 256Mb to 8Gb, and device widths ranging from x1 to x32, XDR DRAM. Rambus said its memory chip’s topology, “allows point-to-point differential data interconnects to scale to multi-GHz speeds, while the bussed address and command signals allow a scalable range of memory system capacity supporting from one to 36 DRAM devices.”

Rambus also said it is licensing the XDR memory interface to Sony Computer and its Entertainment division to allow future broadband applications for its PlayStation 2 video-game console and other Sony products.

In general, Rambus licenses its technology in the form of ASIC cells that are incorporated into high-performance memory and logic chips. The cells and system-level solutions are incorporated into hundreds of products by all of the top-name semiconductor manufacturers.

The company also said the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware has issued a stipulated order dismissing without prejudice the amended complaint in a consolidated derivative case against Rambus.

The decision is based on a case stemming from allegations concerning Rambus’ 1991 – 1995 attendance at a standard setting body called JEDEC. The plaintiffs in this case agreed to “stipulate to dismissal without prejudice” following rulings favoring Rambus from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

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