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As expected, Samsung Electronics announced on Thursday it had begun making DDR chips using its 90nm process technology for DRAM. The move indicates the dawn of Samsung’s transition to more advanced fabrication process and may imply on the company’s ability to ramp DDR2 chips at these nodes in months

Samsung said it now produces 512Mb DDR SDRAM on 300mm base wafers using 90nm fabrication process. The 90nm 512Mb DDR SDRAMs with voltage rates of 2.5V are available at both 400 and 333MHz being already verified by leading chipset companies. The migration from 0.10 micron to 90nm boosts production by 40% and offers higher production efficiencies at the same time, according to Samsung’s estimations.

“The key to successful production in 90nm process technology are; short wave length Argon Fluoride (ArF) light source that realizes the finer circuitry, high dielectric Alumina Hafnium Oxide (AHO) applied within the capacitor to enhance data storage characteristics, and Samsung's unique three dimensional transistor circuitry, Recessed Channel Array Transistor (RCAT), implemented to reinforce the capacitors’ data retaining features enhancing the refresh cycles,” Samsung said in the statement.

In early August, 2004, some sources indicated that Samsung was about to begin transition to 90nm process technology. The report suggested that initially the company would produce 512Mb DDR2 devices at 400MHz, 533MHz and 667MHz speed-bins. DDR production at 90nm nodes may indicate the company’s first attempts to ramp memory production using advanced process tech.

High-speed dynamic random access memory chips are cheaper to produce using thinner manufacturing technology. 90nm and 100nm and more advanced processes are likely to enable more cost-effective DDR2 products at speeds of 533MHz and 667MHz, which is likely to speed up the transition to DDR2. Other leading memory makers, such as Elpida and Hynix, tend to produce high-performance DDR2 products using 0.10 micron technology.

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