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An excerpt from the Rambus ruling in April
Rambus may still receive $133M USD opposed to the $307M originally agreed upon, but the company is far from done fighting lawsuits

Earlier this year Rambus won a staggering $307M USD civil award against Hynix claiming the company infringed on its intellectual property.  Specifically, Rambus claimed that Hynix used techniques for producing memory that were proprietary to Rambus.  On Friday morning, Judge Ronald Whyte of Northern District of California overturned this award (PDF).

The latest statement from the court claimed "For the reasons set forth below, plaintiffs' motion for a new trial on the issue of damages is GRANTED unless Rambus files notice with the court within thirty (30) days of this order accepting remittitur of the jury award to $133,584,129 for damages through December 31, 2005."

The focal point for this overturn is due to discrepancies of the actual amount of DRAM sales during the time period Hynix infringed on Rambus IP.  Rambus at this point may either accept the lesser award of $133.6M USD or begin a new trial against Hynix.

Despite the interconnections between Hynix and Rambus, this slew of IP lawsuits are not related to the price fixing sentencing from earlier this year where four Hynix executives were given jail time. Within the past year every major DRAM manufacturer has faced litigation from Rambus, with the exception of the company's primary manufacturing partner Samsung.  Rambus has also filed suits claiming that all of the major DRAM providers artificially manipulated pricing on DRAM to hurt RDRAM sales -- with fairly damning evidence on the company website (PDF) -- again with the exception of Samsung.  On Friday 34 states filed anti-trust suits against most  major DRAM providers claiming the companies colluded to artificially inflate memory pricing, which is illegal in the US. Once again, Samsung was absent from this volley of litigation as well.

More can be seen from the official Rambus Litigation Update page.  The company currently has twelve outstanding major cases to follow.

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By dgingeri on 7/18/2006 12:56:14 PM , Rating: 2
Finally, I'd like to point out that RDRAM latency is dependent on the number of sticks installed. Even by 2002, it was impossible to find RDRAMs in sticks larger than 512MB, whereas DDR was available in sticks of 1GB and even 2GB. There were signalling and termination issues with the larger sizes chips.

One thing to note here: RDRAM, and the new XDR, have increasing latency per device attached, not just per stick. It works somewhat like Token Ring, and in fact is based off that idea. Each device has a dedicated addressing processor to decide where to store the data. the memory controller addresses each device in sequence to access the data. The memory controller has no ability to pre-fetch or pre-address a particular device, making the latency unavoidable. On top of that, each device has a 32 cycle response time. This far outstrips SDRAM's latency, no matter if it's SDR, DDR, or DDR2. IT does transfer faster once the device is found and it is all transferred, but if the memory is fragmented or the retrieval is small, it introduces much higher latency. The advantage of RDRAM and XDR is in single devices and large transfers, as in the Sony PS2. For document work and PC games, it sucks.

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