Intel has finally admitted that it will evaluate PC133 SDRam memory for use in mainstream PCs, despite claiming it would never do so.
The chip giant had originally stated that it would move straight from PC100, to Direct Rambus technology (PC Dealer, 9 June).
According to industry observers, problems with Rambus relating to its design, manufacturing costs, royalties, and production, had left many partners calling for Intel to adopt the PC133.
The manufacturer indicated a its change in plans recently when Craig Barrett, president and chief executive of Intel, said: "It would be foolish for us not to have a contingency plan if Rambus is not economically successful."
Peter MacWilliams, director of platform architecture at Intel, added the company was looking at PC133 - a 33 per cent increase on memory technology speed - as an interim product until production on Rambus was fully up to speed. He said the sluggish the market was the reason behind the change.
The move by Intel should mean the widespread adoption of the standard, which will provide a cheaper, easier transition for assemblers and resellers.
Sukh Rayat, general manager at Flashpoint, said: "The switch to PC133 will prove less of an impact on the channel infrastructure. It's more transitional and a more obvious choice than switching straight to Rambus. In essence, the industry has been given a breather."
Intel is already playing catch up. Last week, Via released the first PC133 compatible chipset, despite a lawsuit from Intel intended to stop it from doing so. Via claimed it has found a loophole in its purchase of Cyrix, which had cross-licensing agreements with Intel.
Mass adoption of PC133 is likely to spell trouble for Rambus technology developers.
Following the announcement, shares in Rambus fell nearly $18 to just over $95. They have since recovered to $97.38.
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