Lies, Damned Lies, and a Different Perspective


Sander Sassen

New Member
Hello everyone,

Rambus Direct RDRAM, need I say more? On Monday May 8, 2000 I've posted my follow up to the original 'Lies, Damned Lies and a Different Perspective' article, covering in great detail the workings of RDRAM, problems with SDRAM and other memory architecture misconceptions. My objective was to provide a 'Different Perspective', as RDRAM has been taking quite some negative press lately, and there is only one other article I was aware of that actually provided some in-depth information about its workings.

Hence I set off to counter most of the bad press and misconceptions that floated around the net, not to please Rambus or Intel, but in an attempt to educate the reader and to provide a broader perspective, which provided room for further discussion as well as a more solid ground to base one's conclusions on.

I was surprised to find out that most readers took disgust at my approach and slated the article as being 'Rambus/Intel Propaganda', which was never my intention from the onset. More disturbing however is the fact that these people have a take on the Rambus/Intel issue that almost borders on paranoia. Every good word being written about it must have come from the Rambus/Intel propaganda machine, every benchmark conducted has been doctored to make the Rambus/Intel come out on top, every benchmark used was especially written and used to make sure Rambus/Intel would do best, and so on. Needless to say this is all nonsense as I made sure all parties validated the benchmark applications and all configurations were well documented to provide enough information for those that might be willing to reproduce my results.

If those were isolated individuals I would not have worried so much, what does worry me though is the fact that there's herds of them all flocking together to 'kill' any pro-Rambus/Intel information from the start. It is not so much the anti-Rambus/Intel part that I'm worried about, but it is the motives of their actions. Anybody in the right state of mind would welcome an article covering some aspect of a technology not yet presented before; it broadens the view and provides more room for discussion. I'm not biased towards either technology, SDRAM or RDRAM, it is not my job, nor my task to have a bias, I'm just providing information based on research I did, benchmarks I've run and arguments and misconceptions I wanted to address. Neither am I asking anyone to agree with my conclusions, they are presented after an evaluation of the data at hand and provide a write up of my findings and a verdict of what I feel is an accurate representation of facts, not fantasy.

As with all things everyone's entitled to their own opinion, that's one of the most precious of all human rights. But if you feel Rambus is bad from the roots up and isn't worth the penny in your pocket, why read the article in the first place? We all know that the general public feels Rambus Direct RDRAM might not be the next best thing, I'm not stating it is. I am however providing valid arguments, supported by real world benchmarks that it isn't all bad, and that the current RDRAMs might not perform as well as we'd expected them to. As the performance we've come to expect was based on all of the marketing mambo-jambo surrounding its release, but it does offer a good concept, high bandwidth and good scalability, although price still remains an issue.

What I see happening here is what happened to Betamax, VCR-2000, DCC and all of those other concepts that did have potential, but never made it big time. All those concepts have quietly gone away due to the fact that negative press was blown out of proportion and completely did away with any positive press. The people that actually made those headlines usually weren't the ones who had the technical know-how to fully back their arguments, but they did have somewhat of an established authority in the industry, combined with a receptive audience, they could have made people believe that your 8086 would run Windows2000 when you patched it with product X.

Point being it is always easy to criticize or debunk a product, an article or even an individual, but providing arguments based on facts and logic, adding to the discussion instead of tearing it down is something many aren't capable of. If the general consensus is that something is bad then it is easy to come up with all the disadvantages, but you'll be hard pressed to find any advantages, as the negative press will have gradually filtered those out. What I tried to do is 'reboot' the system and provide some insight into what initially motivated Intel to adopt Rambus as a memory architecture and what those advantages were. What you do with that information is up to you, but don't shoot the messenger.

Thanks and best regards,

Sander Sassen
Siteleader at HardwareCentral
Email: [email protected]
Visit us at :


New Member
In all the arguments about performance, why is it that nobody has noted that you could install 1GB of SDRAM in a system for about the same price as 128MB of PC800 RDRAM?

Even if RDRAM dropped to "merely" double the price of SDRAM, that still means you could put in 256MB instead of 128...

What would you rather have?


New Member
You want to compare RDRAM to Betamax?

I had both Betamax and VHS recorders for a long time and you could visually see the difference in quality between the two. If you can sit me down at two comparable systems and I can easily see the visual difference in speed between the two, then I'll stand behind you 100%. Otherwise don't make such an outrageous comparison. Betamax was (and is) better, but it lost because of price, not performance or quality. That is why Betamax is still the standard in the film industry even after all these years.

You say that it is easy to debunk something. It is not easy to debunk it with benchmarks, as I have seen done. You say everyone is being negative about RDRAM, well I don't remember this kind of bad press for SDRAM. Sure everyone was skeptical of it, but it tested better virtually every time. It did well, the benchmarks proved it's performance levels, and it was never half as expensive as RDRAM. That's not counting the fact that SDRAM came about when smaller sizes of memory were the norm.

I have been going to Tom's Hardware for three years for good information. He does not just pooh on everything as you seem to imply. He and his staff thoroughly test every opinion they offer with extensive benchmarking, and let the benchmarks do the talking. If the product performs, it is praised. If it does not, then it is chastised. I realize that Tom does not have your computer science degree, but his staff on the other hand is quite educated. Anyone who can give complete electrical specs for building your own Athlon overclocking card, and EXPLAIN those specs, obviously has a LOT of technical know-how. I hope you are not saying that Tom and his staff have no technical expertise. Tom's site publishes a book on computer hardware for crying out loud. Show me your book.

You seem to know a lot about what you're talking about, but time after time other sites and posters here debunk you with methodical explanations. How do you justify that?


New Member
Wow Sanderson I am impressed. With your lack of comprehension. It isn't that anyone is anti-Intel it is we are anti-lies. RDRAM has been proven to be an overpriced underperforming memory. PERIOD. I don't care one bit about theory as theory won't make Quake run faster or Exchange run smoother. And in case you haven't noticed Intel has pretty much decided they *@*&ed up since the 815 board is now being rushed to production. Also no one will buy an RDRAM server, no way you are going to justify to an accountant a 10k server when for 4k you could have the same thing and one using proven technology (and faster). Not too mention the heat issue which is a big deal in a server enviroment. Our server room here at work is about 85F, add a ton of RDRAM and I bet it would go up another few degrees shortening the lifespan of each system. Also to claim that benchmarks prove nothing is pure idiocy! What theories do? Benchmarks are the only way to see anything, if SDRAM runs Q3 faster than it is better, if it runs Word 2k it is better, etc... How can this not be so?! Like the car example above, so you tell me that you have RDRAM with 300hp and I have SDRAM with only 200hp. Then you say "my car is faster than yours since it has 100hp more" my reply "wanna race?" yours "no that wouldn't prove anything, trust me my 100hp is better". Then I wrangle you into a race and you lose, everyone says "see SDRAM is better and it was cheaper too!" and you say "ya but mine has 100 more hp". SO WHAT YOU LOST. Just like RDRAM in real life...


New Member
Looks like Sh#t
Smells like Sh#t
Feels like Sh#t
And I ain't gonna taste it just cause you say it's caviar

[This message has been edited by teve (edited 06-06-2000).]


New Member
"To answer this cacophony of angry readers, Hardware Central followed the initial article several weeks later with another piece - this time backed by benchmarks. Very sadly, these tests were excruciatingly slanted toward RDRAM, while handicapping SDRAM. The Rambus endowed system had the most expensive and rare variety of RDRAM, PC800, which is particularly onerous since most RDRAM systems come populated with slower and cheaper PC700 RDRAM. At the same time, the Via system was burdened with slow CL3 SDRAM, while the true contender, the Intel 440BX based system, was sabotaged by forcing it to run its SDRAM and processor bus at a much slower 100 MHz.

Even despite these machinations, the test results show effectively a performance wash-out, despite the extreme price premium for the RDRAM system. Somehow, in spite of the sagging (and, in actuality, invalid) results, the conclusion is resoundingly upbeat and attempts to paint their test findings as conclusive confirmation of RDRAM's great promise.

Perhaps as a testimonial to the character of Rambus Inc. itself, this dubious article appears several times as a link on Rambus's corporate site as a presumably relaible independent review of their technology.

Even our friend Anand Lal Shimpi of AnandTech wrote an uncharacteristically soapy eyed article on this technology recently that seemed to closely follow the Rambus company line. To his credit, however, Anand has followed this questionable article with a new one backed with benchmarks which largely substantiate the condemning results that Dr. Thomas Pabst derived months ago."

-TomsHardware ... get a real review at the following link.


New Member
Sander Sassen Quote
Just to satisfy your curiousity, I have a masters degree in computer science and a bachelors in micro-system technology; you can rest assured that I'm capable and on top of things.

Not meaning to be insulting or anything, heck I have done it plenty times myself too.. but reading that reminded me of a article I read yesterday.. check it out at..

A Day In The Life Of A PC Technician


New Member
First and formost let me state that I am NOT a hardware guru, at best I could hope to call myself is a power user.

<<But if you feel Rambus is bad from the roots up and isn't worth the penny in your pocket, why read the article in the first place?>>

It is for EXACTALY the reason I stated above. I am intrested in obtaining as much information as possable before I part with that penny. Ergo I suspose I am "in my right mind" according to your critera.

<<What I see happening here is what happened to Betamax, VCR-2000, DCC and all of those other concepts that did have potential, but never made it big time. All those concepts have quietly gone away due to the fact that negative press was blown out of proportion and completely did away with any positive press.>>

I think this is the main rub for psudeo technical folks like myself. It's one thing for a concept to have "potential" but it's quite another for that concept to be rushed to market and ask me to part with that penny for something that even you admit doesn't meet the hype of its potential. I have to bust my ass for my pennys and I highly resent "positive press" that tells me less than the whole story. It is not encumbent on myself to support a product via the market place until it reaches its potential. It's bad enough that buggy software is tolerated in the market but buggy hardware is inexcuseable. If this technology was not being sold yet then this discussion would have a compleatly diffrent flavor, however since it IS being sold and is being pushed as the next great preformance enhancer I find these comments are relavent and appropiate. To raise doubts as to the motives of individuals who point out issues that can help inform a potental consumer of performance problems makes me severly doubt your own motives in this, all your other claims aside. It's one thing to argue merits rather than point out flaws, but when money is on the line (especially the astronomical sums being considered here) I have no problem with "herds of them all flocking together to 'kill' any pro-Rambus/Intel information from the start." I believe it is encumbant upon the producers of the technology to rise above the bad press. If they can not do so via real world performance then it is my ferverant hope that the technology go the way of the dodo bird. Better to loose the promise of potential than be saddled with an inefficent, costly propritary standard simply because a powerful company made a loosing bet. A truly good idea will always win out in the end.