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Wednesday, September 08, 2004
NEC Electronics Announces New Advanced Memory Buffer

Developed Through Collaboration with Intel to Deliver Increased Memory Performance to High-Performance Applications

NEC Electronics Corp. and its subsidiaries in the United States and Europe, NEC Electronics America, Inc. and NEC Electronics (Europe) GmbH, today announced the availability of samples for the company's new Advanced Memory Buffer (AMB) device for use in fully buffered dual-inline memory modules (FB-DIMMs). Developed in collaboration with Intel and fully compliant with the AMB standard ratified by JEDEC, the AMB is a key enabling technology behind the increased bandwidths and large memory capacities characteristic of emerging FB-DIMM products. The AMB device helps bring new levels of memory performance to demanding applications such as servers, routers and graphics controllers.

The AMB interface is responsible for handling FB-DIMM channel and memory requests to and from the local DIMM and for forwarding the requests to other DIMMs. Compared to existing registered DIMM technology, FB-DIMMs provide memory capacities up to 24 times higher-192 gigabytes (GB) vs. 8 GB-and bandwidth up to four times faster-40 gigabytes per second (GB/s) vs. 10 GB/s-when used with 1-gigabit x 4-bit DDRII-800 DRAM. FB-DIMM technology also uses low-signal pins and only 69 pins per channel, whereas existing DIMMs need 240 pins per channel. Accordingly, because FB-DIMMs require a high-performance memory buffer, the AMB's unique channel structure mitigates buffer latency issues typical in registered DIMM technology.

"The industry has seen that DRAM devices follow Moore's law and double in bit density every two years. DRAM data rates are also being driven by ever-increasing CPU and platform performance," said Jim Pappas, director of initiative marketing for Intel's Enterprise Platforms Group. "Emerging FB-DIMM products will deliver the high-performance memory required by tomorrow's high-speed communication and graphics applications, and having leading companies like NEC Electronics Corporation deliver Advanced Memory Buffer devices is vital to enabling this important server memory technology."

"The performance demands in application spaces such as servers and routers continue to grow," said Tetsuo Yoshino, vice president, 1st Systems Operations Unit, NEC Electronics Corporation. "NEC Electronics has been pleased to work with Intel to develop our AMB and help eliminate memory bottlenecks in FB-DIMM-powered systems."

The company will showcase its AMB technology in its booth (#710) in the Memory Community at Intel Developer Forum (IDF) Fall 2004, September 7 to 9, at the Moscone South Convention Center in San Francisco. The demonstration will feature a static memory interface and show the AMB waveform using an oscilloscope. It will also highlight basic AMB SerDes capabilities by moving data over a DIMM, connector and motherboard at up to 4.0 gigabits per second (Gbps). In addition, NEC Electronics America will present an overview of the technical specifications for its new AMB interface in the Memory Community Theater at IDF on September 7 at 6:55 p.m. and September 8 at 1:25 p.m.

Pricing and Availability

Samples for NEC Electronics' standalone AMB will be available in November 2004. Mass production is expected to begin in early 2005, with prices starting at US$25 each in 10,000-unit quantities. The AMB also is currently available as an IP core to NEC Electronics' ASIC customers. Pricing and availability are subject to change.

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