Rambus Inc. has begun marketing double-data-rate memory interfaces to potential licensees, the same technology Rambus is prosecuting in court.
The interfaces also contain an "optional controller mode" which will allow licensees to connect to XDR DRAM, the next-generation memory technology Rambus is developing.
Since the late 1990s, Rambus has developed and attempted to enforce patents surrounding DDR memory, the memory technology used in virtually all of todays PCs. Rambus has provided IP licenses to companies like Elpida Memory and Toshiba Ltd., while filing patent infringement suits against companies like Micron Technology.
While the suits and license efforts concentrated on the DRAM that drove Rambus revenues, the company has also sought to license its IP to providers of memory controllers, the logic that actually controls the memory chips. Makers of graphics chips, which use highly parallel logic units to manipulate memory registers at blazing speeds, are an ideal licensee, said Rich Warmke, director of marketing for the memory interface division at Rambus. However, those designers often concentrate on the core design, and leave the memory interface as a secondary priority, he said.
"Designing DDR interfaces is becoming harder and harder to do," Warmke aid. "Its just natural for us to extend into products and services tap into the market for the growing need to outsource these interfaces."
Rambus will provide "drop-in" memory interfaces that support mainstream DDR1 and DDR2 memories, as well as GDDR-1, GDDR-2, and GDDR-3 memories, DDR derivatives designed specifically for graphics. The drop-in cells need only a small amount of configuration which will significantly cut design times, Warmke said.
Rambus has designed a GDDR-1 cell designed for TSMCs 0.13-micron process, and will make available a 90-nm GDDR-1/GDDR-3 in the third quarter, the company said.
Customers will also have the option to license the XDR technology that Rambus developed.A single, 2-byte wide, 3.2 GHz XDR DRAM component provides up to 6.4 GB/sec of bandwidth.