Articles: Memory

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The reduction of the memory chips production cost is a very acute topic, especially taking into account the results of Q2 2005 showing that the financial situation of most memory manufacturers got noticeably worse. Micron, for instance, lost 128 million dollars in Q2 this year. As a result, the company got negative balance for the first time during the last 1.5 years.

However, let’s return to the expansion of production capacities. The Taiwanese seem to remain traditionally active here. In summer both cut-throat competitors, ProMOS and Powerchip, announced putting in operation their second 300mm fabs. Even though with a little delay, but ProMOS started pilot production of the memory chips. So far the yields are only 60% for the 90nm process (although this is not that bad for the first pilot run, I should say), and it looks like it will take ProMOS until the end of the year to reach the 5K wafer per month production volume.

In the beginning of June, also a little later than it had been initially planned, Powerchip started pilot production on its Fab12B. I have to stress that from the technological prospective, Powerchipp is slightly behind its competitor, because they will start making 90nm chips only in the end of this year. However, even though they haven’t yet completely mastered the 90nm process licensed from Elpida, the company is already in the middle of negotiations about licensing the next-generation 80nm and 75nm production technologies.

And in the meanwhile, Inotera Memories made the following forecast: taking into account the number of wafers each fab produces and the chip yields the joint venture of Infineon and Nanya should manufacture more chips in August than Powerchip. Especially, since this efficient alliance is ahead of Powerchip already in terms of production technology, as they started mass production of 90nm chips from 300mm wafers in July already. Of course, this fact only allows them to outperform competitors: their chip yields for a wafer like that are even higher than the 100nm chip yields. By the way, Nanya is going to start building its own 300mm fab only in 2006, so it will be the last Taiwanese memory manufacturer to do it.

Well, little by little I came to the discussion of two classical topics, which I haven’t yet touched upon in this article: the memory modules and the memory prices. As for the modules, the situation is fairly simple here: OCZ rules here as always rolling out 2-3 new solutions a month. June and July were no exceptions. The remarkable thing for this period of time is that they didn’t set any new frequency records, moreover, the maximum working frequency of the new OCZ memory modules was the frequency of “only” 600MHz.

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