Assemblers face months of difficulties because of a conflict between synchronous Dram memory and motherboard, it has emerged.
According to Roy Taylor, managing director of the UK agency of Taiwanese memory manufacturer Vanguard, the Intel specifications between motherboard and memory were left so loose that many types of these devices, made by reputable companies, do not work with each other.
Now, he says, Intel has released a specification called PC 100 and recommended that memory manufacturers use Version 1.5 of the Synchronous Dram spec.
The PC 100 specification lays down rules based on the introduction of the 100MHz bus based on the BX chip set which Intel hopes to introduce early next year.
But, said Taylor, that would mean both a shortage of SDram in the short term, and the exit of smaller memory companies because of the level of investment required.
He said that using the 1.5 spec meant an investment of between $1 million and $3 million, and would also increase the cost of printed circuit boards (PCBs) because of more rigourous testing.
And that was not the end of the story, Taylor claimed. He said that while Synchronous Dram was important to the market in 1998, in 1999 the manufacturers had to cope with an entire new investment in the shape of Rambus memory modules.
That would add an additional $3 million to the bill of the smaller players. Large companies, like Kingston Technology, could easily cope with the hit, he said.
Further, Taylor said that the 1.5 specification for the new SDram modules would mean a shortage of an essential part which checked that the memory conformed. That was produced by the industrial components sector which would have to ramp up its production in order to conform.
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