Sales of the forthcoming Direct Rambus memory technology are hanging in the balance as manufacturers express favour for cheaper and more readily available chips.
Following continued delays to the availability of the Rambus chips and the substantially greater cost compared with standard DRam, motherboard vendors are endorsing the competing technology PC-133, which is based on current DRam but is 33 per cent faster.
Intel, which has been the strongest supporter of Direct Rambus and has always stated that it would not adopt PC-133, is now likely to provide a chipset for the technology as an interim until Direct Rambus takes off.
Direct Rambus was set to launch in September this year, when a suitable chipset was to be released, but its introduction looks unlikely to happen until the end of this year.
However, Rana Mainee, channel market manager at AMD, said Rambus is unlikely to make a significant impact until much later.
'We have always thought that Direct Rambus would have a slow entry into the market. We don't expect the technology to become a dominant force until about the second quarter of next year,' said Mainee.
'It wouldn't be a surprise if Intel goes with PC-133 - the market is asking for it and no one company can control the market.'
The Rambus share price fell 13 per cent during a troubled week, when it was reported that IBM was to drop support of the technology in favour of PC-133 for use in its personal computers. IBM has since denied the rumours, but admitted it would be using PC-133 in its lower end PCs.
Rambus memory costs $45 more than standard 64Mb memory. PC-133 memory is expected to cost about the same as current 100MHz DRam technology when it hits the market in September.
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