Winding up the discussion of the memory prices, I would like to say the following. The remarkable thing is that in the end of the month Hynix officially admitted that they participated in the agreement between all the major memory market participants aimed at locking the memory prices at a certain level. In fact, if you have been following our memory reports, you should remember that Hynix has been accused of this for quite a while, which has almost led to bankruptcy. The other “plotters” were: Micron, Samsung, Infineon… Samsung seems to remain the only one right now who hasn’t yet suffered any financial losses because of that case, although last year they have already reserved about 100 million dollars for this matter. All other companies have already been fined. And in April Hynix had to pay 185 million: they were pronounced guilty.
But why should we keep talking about the sad stuff? Hynix also had some good news to share. To begin with, they finally started putting into life the plans that have been in discussion since the early 2004: they started the construction of a 200/300mm fab for DRAM and flash memory manufacturing in China, a joint venture of Hynix and STMicroelectronics. The Koreans will own 2/3 of this business. And since Hynix likes dumping and does it really well, next year they will acquire one more powerful instrument for that.
By the way, another alliance has also shaped up by now: the Japanese Elpida and the Taiwanese Powerchip. The Japanese got presence in the Powerchip’s board of directors and at the same time increased their share in this company. Hopefully, this thing will not end up in scandals like the cooperation of the Infineon and ProMOS. By the way, since we came to speak about Infineon. In April the company announced the production of 512Mbit 800MHz GDDR3 samples with the intention to start their mass production in H2 2005.
The Germans continued doing one of their favorite things this month: fitting as many chips onto a single PCB as possible. This time they were experimenting with the memory modules for notebooks. Infineon demonstrated 2GB SO-DIMM and 1GB MicroDIMM modules. In fact, this is a great approach from the power saving point of view, especially, since using only one PCB for all memory chips allows saving a lot of power consumed by the memory subsystem. According to Infineon, they could save up to 30%! And we all know that any type of “saving” is a much more important thing for notebooks than performance.