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Intel backs Rambus as MTH is dropped

By Paul Kunert Intel will discontinue its use of the defective memory translator hub (MTH) which allowed PC manufacturers to...

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By Paul Kunert Intel will discontinue its use of the defective memory translator hub (MTH) which allowed PC manufacturers to integrate a Pentium III and its 820 chipset with a standard memory product.

The announcement follows several months of problems for the chip giant after it was able to pinpoint an error with the technology. MTH was being used as an alternative to Rambus memory, which is highly priced and barely available. A spokesman for Intel claimed the company wanted to use Rambus technology in the 820 chipset from its inception: “We have no doubt that Rambus was, and is, the right technology for desktop PCs.” But he argued that the use of MTH was a viable option at the time. “The MTH was an adjunct to the 820 market to allow customers to benefit from the improvement of the 820,” he continued, “but to realise the true performance of the chipset, you really need to use Rambus”. He conceded that the MTH had been “more technologically challenging than we expected”. The spokesman added that as Rambus memory was being adopted by multiple vendors, the price was beginning to fall: “As manufacturing of the product continues to ramp, availability will increase and prices will continue to come down.” He admitted that the use of MTH had been a costly exercise but insisted it had not damaged Intel’s reputation. “Intel has followed through to deliver quality parts and we have decided to rectify the situation and stand behind what people expect of us,” the spokesman maintained. Rana Mainee, European market analysis and planning manager at AMD, pointed out that Intel had a tendency to forget about other reliant members of the industry. “The channel and component suppliers which rely on platform suppliers look for some elements of cohesion and stability in strategy. Over the last couple of years, there has been too much discontinuity,” he claimed. Meanwhile, memory manufacturer Samsung has shipped its ten millionth Rambus chip this quarter and has claimed that processors based on Rambus technology will grow ten-fold over the next two years. see finance, page 18

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