Building bridges with DRAM vendors

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 8th, 2015.

Analysts at IHS Electronics say Rambus’ change in strategy from intellectual property (IP) licensing house to chipmaker has been “well received” by its customers.

“Rambus has announced recently that it would begin developing server memory chipsets for the enterprise and data center server markets in a planned series of devices that are DDR4 JEDEC-compliant,” IHS Electronics stated in a recent Electronics360 news release. “These chipsets will serve to accelerate data-intensive applications such as real-time analytics, virtualization and in-memory computing.”

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As Mike Howard, director of memory and storage at HIS notes, Rambus’ new DDR4 product will require the company to work closely with engineers at big DRAM companies.

“The company needed a change in direction,” Howard explained. “It has taken several years to accomplish, but the hard work is starting to pay off.”

Indeed, as Ely Tsern, VP and chief technologist for the Rambus Memory and Interfaces division recently pointed out, the industry needs to work together on developing next generation DDR solutions – with the goal of doubling current speed with minimal changes.

“Potential DDR5 solution (or directions) include leveraging LRDIMM architecture to support higher frequencies and multiple memory types on the DDR channel; ASIC process scaling; less bus loading; advanced I/O techniques; new data bus topologies and the use of improved, lower swing, power efficient, single-ended signaling and revamped control buses in primary/secondary to remove bottlenecks,” said Tsern.

Rambus, confirms Tsern, already has a prototype running at 6.4Gbps (@2 DIMMs per channel), which is beyond DDR4 data rates.

“Memory is an exciting business that faces significant challenges ahead. We at Rambus now have a new focus in server memory with the launch of our R+ DDR4 server memory chipset – RB26 – for RDIMMs and LRDIMMs,” he added. “We’ve also stepped up industry collaboration by joining JEDEC JC-40 and continue to maintain close customer and ecosystem engagements. We plan on delivering high value, JEDEC-standard products for server and datacenter markets. We feel our new chip business extends existing business with a ‘blended’ business model that helps facilitate our engagement with customers and industry on future server solutions.”

As we’ve previously discussed on Rambus Press, the new Rambus RB26 DDR4 chipset offers industry-leading performance and margin, complying with the latest JEDEC spec at 2666 Megabit per second (Mbps) and offering built-in support for 2933Mbps. The chipset is currently sampling to key customers and critical ecosystem partners. In addition, the chipset includes a roadmap with value-added features to support further improvements to system performance and reliability.