JUNE 29th, 2005
Elpida Memory, Inc. has announced the development of a 2 Gigabit
DDR2 SDRAM device based on its 80 nanometer process technology. The development, which is a high water mark for DRAM
memory density, is expected to be in volume production by the end of Elpida’s fiscal year. Yukio Sakamoto, CEO
of Elpida Memory, commented on the development and its applications, "Elpida always remains focused on its ability to
deliver high-performance DRAM products that utilize advanced process technology. 2 Gigabit DDR2 SDRAM is the highest density
DRAM device available in the industry, and our ability to establish its development at 80 nm demonstrates our readiness to
support high-speed products, such as DDR2-800, that are required by the high-performance computing market."
The company noted that the chip will utilize the same operating
current as a 1 Gigabit DDR2 SDRAM, eliminating the concern to redesign power supplies for increased power consumption
levels. increase in power requirements.
MAY 24th, 2005
Samsung's 90-nanometer 512Mb DRAM Memory to Be Used in PLAYSTATION
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. with the announcement that it has just produced production samples
of 90 nanometer 512 Mbit XRD DRAMS, reports that it already has its first multimedia customer. Sony Computer Entertainment
will use the product in its next version of its popular game console, PLAYSTATION 3. Rambus will also benefit. Samsung Semiconductor's
XRD DRAM is based on Rambus' memory interface technology.
It apparently was no accident that Samsung selected the DRAM. According
to Yeong Ho Kang, Vice President, Memory Marketing, Samsung Semiconductor, "We have worked closely with Sony Computer Entertainment
to assure that the next generation computer entertainment system had what Sony Computer Entertainment wanted for the launch
of PLAYSTATION 3: the fastest system memory with optimal thermal performance."
MAY 10th, 2005
STMicroelectronics and Hynix Begin Construction of Joint 300 mm Wafer Fab
in China - to Produce Memory Chips
Hynix ST Semiconductor Ltd., the new name of the China based joint wafer fab venture between Hynix Semiconductor and
STMicroelectronics, is under construction and is scheduled to begin production in 2006. The facility will eventually include
two fabs, one 8 inch and one 12 inch, for the manufacture of DRAMs and NAND flash memory. The 8 inch DRAM facility will be
the first to come on line, in first half of 2006, followed by the 12 inch NAND flash fab in the second half of 2006. The total
initial investment in the operation comes with a price tag of $2 billion. Hynix will own 67 percent of the facility and STMicroelectronics
Unsubstantiated reports indicate that the DRAM facility will initially produce 20,000 8-inch wafers per
month and the NAND flash facility will produce 17,000 wafers per month. Packaging and test are also to be conducted at the
MAY 9th, 2005
Hynix Semiconductor Inc. for its first quarter of 2005, ended March
31, 2005 reported revenue of 1,270 billion won, a decrease of 12% from the prior quarter's revenue of 1,450 billion won. Conversely,
Hynix stated that income increased 53% to 321 billion won compared to 209 billion won in its last quarter. The company attributed
the decline in revenue to a strong decline in DRAM prices despite bit growth and a weak US dollar. At the same time Hynix
says that NAND flash memory sales increased significantly because of factory capacity considerations and a more favorable
NAND flash market.
On a parent basis, Hynix reported that sequential revenue only declined
4 percent and net income increased 70 percent.
MARCH 30th, 2005
Ramtron, which has seen sales of its 128Kbit and 64Kbit ferroelectric RAMs
rise considerably, has opened another segment of the memory market with the introduction of a 1 MBit device, called the FM20L08
. The 1 MBit device, because it is used to replace DRAMs, SRAMs and Flash EEPROMs, has triple the market power of a standard
memory chip. This device, which is SRAM socket compatible has a 128K x 8 nonvolatile structure, an access time of 60 ns, high-speed
page mode rated at 33 MHz bus speed for a 4-byte burst and a cycle time of 150 ns. In a 32-pin TSOP the part is priced at
$13.65 in quantities of 10,000.
At Ramtron, Mike Alwais, Vice President, FRAM Products stated, ""The new
ATD scheme greatly improves the ease of use for design engineers when using our parallel FRAM products. This product drops
directly into an SRAM design, allowing the easy replacement of undesirable battery-backed SRAM solutions. The FM20L08 has
a diverse target market, and we have seen significant customer interest in samples from end applications such as automotive
telematics, set-top boxes, industrial controls, and utility metering."
MARCH 30th, 2005
Freescale is one of the few companies that have developed a capacitor less
DRAM cell based on a SOI substrate. The patent,. entitled, "One transistor DRAM cell structure and method for forming," U.S.
Patent Number, 6,861,689, references a number of technical papers. These papers, presented at the Custom Integrated
Circuits Conference, the SPIE Conference, the ISSCC, and the IEEE International SOI Conference, were published between 1997
and 2002. The papers reference several authors, Fazan et al, Okhonin et al and Nishiyama et al.
MARCH 7th, 2005
Nanya Technology Reports Sequential Increase in
DRAM Sales For February
Nanya Technology, one of Taiwan's
and the world’s major DRAM chip manufacturers, reported a slight increase in sequential month to month sales in February.
For February 2005 revenues were $NT 3.73 billion versus $NT 3.56 billion in January 2005. This was despite a 13 percent drop
of the average selling price. Nanya reported a 20 percent increase in unit shipments and a 2 percent negative impact from
currency exchange rates.
The sales figure for February
represents a significant increase over sales for the same month last year, which were $NT 2.75 billion. For February 2005,
Nanya reported that it obtained 26 percent of its revenue from China, 31 percent from America, 19 percent from EMEA, 6 percent
from Japan, 15 percent from Taiwan and 3 percent from AP.
FEBRUARY 3, 2005
New Chip Memory Technologies Gain Further Acceptance
The reversible phase-change
memory process, a process that has already been commercialized in rewritable CD and DVD optical memory disks, has won the
interest of Elpida Memory, one of the largest memory chip companies in the world. Elpida will license the technology from
Ovonyx, Inc. Elpida plans to explore the potential of the technology in its DRAM
chips. Elpida is specifically interested in the technology to further DRAM acceptance in low-power high performance designs.
Ovonyx has licensed its technology to a number of other semiconductor companies including Intel Corp. The polymer based technology
vies to be the future replacement technology for non-volatile flash memory, along with its contenders, ferroelectric and magneto
resistive process technology (MRAM).
FEBRUARY 3, 2005
Elpida’s Memory Chip Sales Clock In
With reports of steep drops
in DRAM prices, Elpida Memory reports that it dramatically increased sales to 56.1 billion Yen for its latest quarter ended
December, 31, 2004. This compares to revenue of 26.8 billion Yen for the same period last year. Net profit also increased
to 3.4 billion Yen from a net loss of 9.7 billion last year. Hitachi, which owns a 25 percent stake in the venture, reported
a gain of 15 billion Yen from Elpida’s initial public offering
JANUARY 31, 2005
Infineon announced that all
of its operating unites, which include Automotive and Industrial, Wireline Communications, Secure Mobile Solutions and Memory
Products, all reported sequential quarterly revenue declines. The automotive unit declined 10 percent, the wireline unit 7
percent, the secure mobile unit 14 percent and the memory unit 5 percent from the prior quarter ended September 30, 2004. All in all, Infineon total revenues declined 9 percent from 1,993 million Euros to 1,816
For its next second quarter,
Infineon sees a slight increase in revenue at its automotive and industrial group. The wireline group is expected to remain
flat. The Secure Mobile Solutions Group, which depends on the mobile phone market
for sales, is expected to have a sales decline larger than the last quarter. In the
memory sector, Infineon sees DRAM price pressure in its second quarter, however the company expects produce more DRAMs, specifically
high performance DRAM chips. The higher production levels of more expensive high end chips could offset revenue and earnings
decline from a weaker DRAM market.
JANUARY 24th, 2005
Innovative Silicon Inc. May Disrupt Memory and Process Market
Innovative Silicon, based in Switzerland,
announced today that it has taped-out its Z-RAM embedded memory technology for embedded memory applications with a 90 nm process.
The technology may become the next memory standard. This is because Innovative's
memory cell requires one transistor and doesn’t require a capacitor - which results in a major reduction in memory
cell size and memory chip size.
One of the secrets to the technology, according
to the company, is that the design is based on the silicon-on-insulator (SOI) process technology. Specifically, the design takes advantage of a SOI parasitic effect related to the Floating Body or Body
Charging effect. The design uses a circuit to take advantage
of the Floating Body effect to read and write data – instead of a capacitor.
impact of the technology may be very great. The area required to implement embedded memory with the SOI capless cell
is about half of traditional designs. Another benefit, according to the company, is that the embedded SOI capless DRAM
process requires less mask steps than the standard embedded DRAM process. This would make embedded DRAM
SoCs as cost-effective as tradtional logic SoC chips. Becasue the process is the SOI process, DRAMs built with
SOI devices result in faster and lower power memory chips than those built with standard processes.
SOI wafer suppliers may
also see gold when they hear the news. The memory chip market is a major segment of the $200 billion IC market. Furthermore,
the SoC market, which requires low-cost, and area optimized embedded memory, is sizable and growing. Add to this IBM’s
and Advanced Micro Devices' SOI plans for their next generation microprocessors - and one might find a genuine SOI shortage.
DRAM NEWS COLUMN
Chip Offers Dramatic Decrease in Power Consumption
Elpida Memory claims its latest DRAM chips have a standby current about 95 percent less than traditional
DRAMs. DRAMs equipped with Elpida’s SSR power reduction technology have
a standby current rating in the order of 40 uA. This compares to other manufacturer’s DRAM chips that are rated at 2000
uA (2 mA). Elpida produces 256 Mbit and 512 Mbit DRAM chips based on the latest 0.11 micron process technology. Elpida Memory expects its low power DRAM chips to be available in March 2005. Posted Jan 14, 2005.
Samsung Ships Over 15 Million Graphic Memory Chips
Samsung shipped over 15 million of its Graphics DDR graphic memory chips in 2004. The GDDR3 chips are used in games and workstations.
The GDDR3 chips have a system bandwidth rating of 44.8 gbps. Posted Jan 13th 2005.
Elpida Memory Inc.
Etron Technology, Inc.
G-Link Technology Corp.
Inapac Technology, Inc.
Micron Technology, Inc.
Monolithic System Technology, Inc.
NanYa Technology Corp.
Powerchip Semiconductor Corp.
UniRam Technology, Inc.
Vanguard International Semiconductor