Rambus invades with 1066MHz memory

Controversial intellectual property company says new chip is fastest available RDRAM

US chip technology developer and intellectual property company Rambus this week announced what it claims are the world's fastest memory chips.

Running at 1066MHz, or just over 1GHz, the company claims the chip is 33 percent faster than the fastest DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory) available.

The new Rambus DRAM (RDRAM) is initially aimed at high-end consumer and networking equipment such as video consoles, HDTVs, set-top boxes, digital video recorders and so-called "information appliances", a type of easy-to-use PC or server. The memory could eventually be used in high-end PCs.

The new RDRAMs are to be manufactured by such partners as Samsung Semiconductor, Hyundai Electronics, Toshiba, NEC Electronics and Infineon Technologies. "Hyundai remains committed to supplying RDRAMs to meet the increasing demand from networking customers," said Farhad Tabrizi, vice president of strategic marketing, Hyundai Electronics, in a statement.

Rambus has, however, embroiled itself in several controversies surrounding fast, next-generation memory products. Intel initially endorsed RDRAM as its exclusive memory for upcoming advanced chips such as the Pentium 4, despite allegations by industry analysts that the memory speed does not justify its high price. Recently Intel changed its stance, agreeing to manufacture chipsets for Pentium 4 that use non-Rambus memory.

The company has also recently settled patent disputes with Hitachi and Toshiba which could mean that all makers of standard, low-cost SDRAM (Synchronous Dynamic RAM) must pay Rambus a licence fee.

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