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2/26/2008
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Startup MetaRAM Offers Low-Cost Server Memory

Servers and workstations with the technology are scheduled for release by the end of March from Appro, Colfax, Rackable, and Verari.

Hardware manufacturer MetaRAM this week launched a memory technology that the company says can dramatically boost the memory of a computer system while reducing its overall cost.

The San Jose, Calif., company unveiled its DDR2 MetaSDRAM product Monday, saying that a four-processor server, with 16 cores and 250 GB of memory, using MetaRAM technology could start at about $50,000, roughly 90% less than a system using only DRAM.

MetaSDRAM, which doesn't require any system modifications, is designed for Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron-based and Intel Xeon-based systems. The memory is available in R-DIMMS from Hynix Semiconductor and Smart Modular Technologies. Servers and workstations with MetaSDRAM are scheduled for release by the end of March from Appro, Colfax International, Rackable Systems, and Verari Systems.

Fred Weber, chief executive and co-founder of MetaRAM and former chief technology officer for AMD, said the company set out to address the problem of the high cost of memory in computer systems that process large workloads. MetaSDRAM is essentially a "drop-in" product that closes the gap between processor computing power doubling every 18 months and DRAM capacity doubling only every 36 months.

The MetaSDRAM chipset sits between the memory controller and the DRAM in a system, effectively enabling up to four times more mainstream DRAMs to be integrated into existing DIMMS, the company said. The chipset makes the DRAMs look like larger-capacity modules to the memory controller. "The result is stealth high-capacity memory that circumvents the normal limitations set by the memory controller," the company said.

Depending on capacity, MetaSDRAM chipsets sell for either $200 or $450 each in quantities of 1,000. MetaRAM investors include Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, Khosla Ventures, Storm Ventures, and Intel Capital.

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