Greater demand for computer components, especially Rambus memory, has led to a reduction in computer shipments this quarter. Rambus DRAM is in particularly short supply because manufacturers have had to deal with legal as well as technical problems in their chip purchase forecasts. Workstation shipments were cut by 4 percent from first quarter numbers despite increased demand, according to a report by International Data Corp. NT-based system shipments fell 7 percent in Q2 despite backlogged orders. Though the percentage of workstations shipped with RDRAM increased from 38 percent in Q1 to 75 percent in Q2, there is still significant uncertainty about the role the memory will play in the future.
This uncertainty was reflected last week when Intel’s leaked memory roadmap, published on the InQuest Market Research Web site, showed that the upcoming “Northwood” Pentium 4 processor will be supported by the “Brookdale” SDRAM chip set as well as the “Tehama” chip set for Rambus DRAMs. This change in Intel policy gives its customers a choice of memories, an important change from the Rambus-only position the company supported only months ago.