| SAN JOSE, Calif. — Japan's Elpida Memory Inc. and Toshiba Corp. on Wednesday (March 30) separately claimed to have rolled out the world's fastest DRAMs, based on the XDR memory interface technology from Rambus Inc. |
The 512-megabit XDR DRAM devices from the companies each operate at 3.2-GHz, providing what they claim is an industry-leading data transfer rate of 6.4-gigabytes-per-second.
XDR DRAM is geared for high-end applications, such as digital televisions and home servers. It is based on the XDR memory interface technology developed by Rambus (Los Altos, Calif.)
In 2003, Rambus rolled out XDR, formerly known as Yellowstone. XDR, which stands for extreme data rate, will be initially targeted for consumer electronics and graphics applications. Rambus hopes to also position the technology for PC main memory, competing with industry-standard double-data-rate architectures.
Many observers doubt that the technology will succeed for main PC memory, but there appears to be some niche markets for XDR. And Elpida and Toshiba are racing each other to the market.
"Toshiba has been playing a leadership role in realizing XDR DRAM technology," said Shozo Saito, vice president of memory division at Toshiba (Tokyo), in a statement. "We were first in the world to sample first generation XDR DRAM in December 2003. We plan to mass-produce our second generation 512-megabit XDR DRAMs in the second half of 2005 to secure our leading position in this business area."
Toshiba is sampling the product right now. The 1.8-Volt device comes in a 4-megabit word x 8-bank x 16-bit configuration. Housed in a 1.27- x 0.8-mm pitch BGA package, the device has a maximum data rate of 4.8-GHz and a minimum cycle time of 40-ns.
Like Toshiba, Elpida sees a big market for XDR. "Industry demand for memory bandwidth in next-generation digital consumer electronics such as high-definition digital television and 3-D graphics applications is growing rapidly as more content becomes available and as processor performance becomes more robust," said Jun Kitano, director of technical marketing for Elpida Memory (USA), in a statement.
"Elpida believes that XDR memory has tremendous potential in a wide variety of multimedia applications," he said.
Elpida's part is similar to that of Toshiba. Its new devices are manufactured using Elpida's 0.10-micron process technology and are available in 104-pin FBGA packages. Elpida's 512-Mbitt XDR DRAM device is currently sampling to customers. Volume production is expected in the second half of 2005.