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The complicated case of the memory Rambus

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Juan Herrerķas Rey

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DFI WT70-EC: the Pentium 4 is done for the RDRAM

His publicity in CsH


The complicated case of the memory Rambus

Perhaps he believed that we had forgotten this? By no means. Let's see: the badge supports up to 2 GB of modules of memory RDRAM (Rambus-DRAM), PC800 or PC600, with or without correction of errors ECC, and of course in format RIMM. Photo of one of the "modules of continuity" CRIMM included with the DFI WT70-EC

Since it is habitual with the chipset i850, two channels are used, so that the entire band is neither more nor less than 3,2 GB/s (with memory PC800; nobody in his healthy judgment uses nowadays memory PC600, as we will see then). Also it is necessary that the modules settle of 2 in 2 identical ones between themselves and to use "modules of continuity" (CRIMMs) to fill the empty grooves. The DFI WT70-EC includes 2 of these modules CRIMM, which is much of being grateful.

The memory RDRAM has been much criticized in the last year and a half, and not without reason. Not only it is a question of a proprietary design (that is to say, that must be paid royalties for using it), but also it turns out to be expensive of making and his latency is high (that is to say, that is a "slow" memory). Modules of memory Rambus in format RIMM

Nevertheless, little by little his price has descended to reasonable heights, thank you especially to the giant surcoreano Samsung; at present there can be modules of 128 MB of RDRAM for approximately 60 $ (I have just seen in Mushkin some to 48 $), I boast that it goes down every month and that it will go down more with the new modules of 256 Mbits. Of course, it keeps on being at least the double of what costs the DDR-SDRAM.

As for his yield, although "in brute" it is worse than that of the DDR-SDRAM, he is lucky to have a chipset made by Intel, the whole expert of controlers of memory (almost always better than those of ROUTE); and on having used a design of double channel, his maximum band of 1,6 GB/s happens to be to 3,2 GB/s, while the DDR-SDRAM PC266 with the current chipsets of the only channel remains in "only 2,1 GB / century

The curious thing is that now when the memory Rambus-DRAM begins being a valid option, Intel already has a new chipset prepared for Pentium 4 (Intel 845 Brookdale) with support of memory SDRAM; eye, SDRAM (PC100/PC133), not DDR-SDRAM.

This will do of the Pentium 4 a much more accessible option, but it will sink his yield. Although the SDRAM PC133 allows better latencies, the band is going to lower only 1 GB/s (with the only channel), making it 25 % slower (and even worse!) that with RDRAM (according to trustworthy and independent tests realized by Tom's Hardware and AnandTech). Photo (without the spendthrift) of the MCH of the chipset Intel 850, for control of memory Rambus in the Pentium 4

Anyway, that we are afraid that once again the marketing and the price wars will triumph and raise to the Pentium 4 with SDRAM to the top of the lists of sales. "Well-informed" few ones will keep on buying basic badges with support of memory RDRAM (like this DFI), or mikes AMD Athlon, or they will wait for the chipsets for Pentium 4 with DDR-SDRAM support (like the ROUTE P4X266)... but they will be only few ones.

As for the proper existence of the memory RDRAM, it does not seem very threatened. Not only it is with the one that better there produces the Pentium 4 (after everything, it was designed for this class of memory), but it keeps on improving skill and economically (thanks to Rambus and Samsung) and it is used in enough electronic devices, including some servants.


Sticker - summary of the components, connectors, etc., of the DFI WT70-EC - Copyright of the image DFI Inc.

Presentation, manuals, overclocking...

The box illustrated with the photo of a virtuoso "touching" the WT70-EC as if it was a question of an any Stradivarius, contains the typical elements in a badge standard OEM: manual in role, CD - ROM and cables for disk drive and hard disk.

Additionally we find a sticker size sheet of paper with a graphic summary of the components, jumpers and connectors of the badge, which we will be able to give inside the casing. Very useful for integrators and for users with facility to lose manuals.

The question of the manuals is very similar to the case of the AK76-SN: the electronic manual in format PDF included in the CD - ROM is very good (better than the manual in role), although it comes only in English; the manual in role is sufficient to install the badge, if Englishman is known.

The remark comes to the case because it is not completely translated... and some parts of the translation suffer from serious mistakes, being the most curious the use of the word "fanned" instead of "fan" (fan). Curiously, the extensive paragraph dedicated to the use of memory RDRAM is translated much better.

And finally, the question of the overclocking: simply, not, NO. The WT70-EC is not a badge for overclockers, which happens in many other badges for Pentium 4. This is a consequence of diverse factors: the Pentium 4 is a mike with the multiplier blocked (not "liberable" as in case of the AMD Athlon), that warms up enough (almost so much like the Athlon, much more than the Duron) and at present destined for the market OEM, not for the enthusiast of the overclocking and the cacharreo.


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