Rambus to design DDR memory controllers

Rambus to design DDR memory controllers

Rambus will provide double data rate (DDR) and graphics DDR (GDDR) memory controller interface designs that will reduce the amount of time needed by chipset manufacturers to design DDR memory controllers of their own.

Memory controller interfaces are needed to regulate data travelling between a PC or graphics processor and the memory modules in a system.

Rambus already sells interface designs for its own Rambus dynamic RAM (RDRAM) and extreme data rate (XDR) standards, but is now embracing DDR and GDDR products made by companies that Rambus has seen in court on a regular basis over the past three years.

Rambus develops designs for memory chips that other companies license to build products. The company has had a limited degree of success thus far with RDRAM and its newest XDR DRAM standard, a situation Rambus blamed in an anti-trust lawsuit filed last week on collaborative efforts among DRAM vendors to cripple RDRAM.

Rambus also claims that DDR memory infringes on several of its patents, and has sued several DRAM companies that did not license its technology in hopes of collecting royalties on all DDR memory chips.

The DRAM vendors argue that Rambus improperly deceived the DDR standards-setting organisation into adopting technology for which Rambus held patents, as a way of ensuring future revenue. Those companies, such as Infineon, Micron and Hynix Semiconductor, claim RDRAM failed to take off due to its high cost and complexity.

Despite the legal drama, Rambus’ move acknowledged that DDR memory was here to stay as a dominant standard, and that Rambus could market its strengths in memory design to companies that wanted to use DDR chips in their products, director of product marketing at Rambus, Rich Warmke, said.

“This represents a slight shift in strategy for the company,” he said. “We’ll have RDRAM and XDR DRAM, but we’ll also have controllers that allow (PC and graphics chips) to connect to industry-standard DDR and GDDR.”

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