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Rambus, TI in technology deal

Texas Instruments plans to use the company?s memory technology in its own processor designs.

Texas Instruments has purchased a broad license for Rambus's (RMBS) high-speed memory, as an increasing number of major computer companies adopt its technology.

The license will allow TI to incorporate the "Direct Rambus" memory access technology into its own processor designs. The Rambus memory design allows computers to transfer more data at higher speeds. As fast systems built around the Pentium II and DVD drives begin to appear later this year and next year, Rambus's technology will become increasingly important.

A number of large electronics companies already support Rambus's design, including Intel, NEC, and Samsung, guaranteeing wide adoption of the technology in computing products.

Initial uses planned by TI for the licensed design include digital signal processors (DSPs), communications ASIC chips, and dynamic random access memories (DRAMs). ASICs, or application-specific integrated circuit chips, are used in such products as cellular phones, video game consoles, and graphics chipsets. DSPs can be used in a number of communications and imaging applications.

DRAM applications will include the use of the Rambus's Direct Rambus technology in TI?s 64-megabit DRAMs and future DRAM devices.

Initial TI products containing Rambus-developed technology are scheduled for trials early next year.

Rambus is one of a growing number of processor developers who license their designs to other firms rather than actually manufacturing the chips themselves. The firms licensing the technology from Rambus can then incorporate the designs into their own specialized processors for final manufacture.

A similar strategy is employed by Chromatic Research, which developed the Mpact multimedia processor technology now being used in some DVD systems.