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Memory Market Overview: February 2005

Date: 2005-2-12

   We’re resuming our traditional monthly reports about the well-being of the PC memory market. Since this coverage will deal with the results of the first month of the year, I will a...

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That’s enough about plaintiffs and defendants, let’s better talk about the real creators of real new technologies. For example, the same Samsung has unveiled its 90nm 512Mb mobile DRAM chips for smart-phones and PDAs. It’s not a revolution, of course ?just an ordinary product from the well-known generation of mobile memory, but the capacity is unusual. Samsung remains an unrivalled leader in this field. The company is going to begin the production of such chips in the second half of this year.

A good confirmation of the fact that mobile chips aren’t any news at all is Elpida’s starting to ship samples of their 110nm 256Mb DDR chips manufactured with Super Self Refresh technology that allows to reduce the DRAM refresh current in twenty times and thus to considerably reduce the power consumption of the chip, other factors being the same. Such chips are expected to come in mass quantities in March. Elpida will also glue two 256Mb chips together in a Double Density Package to ship the result as a 512Mb chip.

Memory Market Overview: February 2005

That’s all about the announcements from the chip makers as they were mostly busy preparing for the hard times ahead. First of all, Hynix and ProMOS have finally formed their alliance so the former will gain a preferable access to the extensive production facilities of the Taiwanese who in their turn will implement Hynix’s advanced 90nm tech process and then they both will collaborate on 65nm technology. Since the second half of the next year the production of chips under the Hynix brand will expand in China ?ProMOS is going to start producing mobile DRAM chips at its Chinese fab by that time.

Powerchip seems to have enough troubles and opportunities in Taiwan. In January they reshuffled the board of directors: people from Elpida came to replace the Renesas team. That’s not much of a change, though, since Renesas belongs to the same companies as founded Elpida.

Anyway, considering the Taiwan government is going to give permission for business to only three DRAM makers there, Powerchip intends to become one of the three and thus have its patch on the continental territory, but they are seemingly not going to really manufacture memory there in near future: the company (with TSMC and Vanguard) should get additional 34 hectares of land in the Hsinchu industrial park and build their next 300mm fab there.

They will solve the money problem somehow. For example, Winbond got $250 million to build its first 300m fab. Powerchip is the more likely to have investments. Nanya is also ruminating plans on building its own 300mm fab, outside the Inotera project.

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