Kingmax Hardcore Memory: Tiny BGA Reaches For Top Speedby Wesley Fink on March 9, 2004 11:12 AM EST
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In the days of SDRAM 133 and 150 when Samsung chips were King-of-the-Hill, a Taiwanese manufacturer named Kingmax made quite a splash with what they called their "tiny BGA" memory modules. BGA stands for "Ball Grid Array" and it describes a memory chip much smaller than the traditional memory chips available from other memory manufacturers. It also describes an attachment technology that promises higher performance. The promise, of course, was smaller DIMMs that run cooler and faster than traditional DIMMs.
Those early Kingmax SDRAM were some of the best memory that you could buy, and Kingmax later joined a small group of memory manufacturers in being the first to bring DDR333 memory to market using the same "tiny BGA" technology. However, the transition to DDR was not as smooth as Kingmax had hoped. The company suffered from large variations in the performance of their tiny BGA memory, with some modules setting new performance records and others falling far short in the performance arena.
Kingmax has continued making performance memory with their "Super RAM" series based on the same TSOP technology used by everyone else, but they basically disappeared from the US screen for a while, at least as far as visibility to the computer enthusiast is concerned. Their DDR433 TSOP memory was competitive, but brought nothing really new to the memory market. With companies like Corsair, Kingston, Mushkin, and OCZ dominating Enthusiast Memory sales, Kingmax was competent, but had nothing to make it stand out from the crowd.
This is not to say that Kingmax disappeared. Readers in the US may not be that familiar with Kingmax, but our readers in Asia will likely know the company well. Kingmax is a very large Asian memory provider, and in Asia, they have the same kind of presence that Micron, for example, has in the US. Kingmax has continued providing memory of all types to their market, but with the new DDR500 and DDR466 memory, Kingmax is back in the Computer Enthusiast picture again. Instead of extending memory speeds to DDR466 and DDR500 with standard "me-too" TSOP memory, Kingmax has gone back to their trademark BGA memory to bring their "Hardcore Series" memory to market. With the promise of a very small size, cool operation, and breakthrough performance, we were anxious to take the new Kingmax Hardcore for a spin.