Elpida Shows Interest for Graphics Memory Assets of Qimonda

Elpida Also Interested in Taking Over GDDR Technologies from Qimonda

by Anton Shilov
08/04/2009 | 10:13 PM

Elpida Memory, the only maker of dynamic random access memory in Japan, has reportedly shown its interest in acquiring graphics memory business from insolvent Qimonda. The company and the insolvency administrators can ink the deal already in August, but in addition to Elpida, DRAM maker Winbond is also interested in taking over Qimonda’s GDDR assets.

 

A Reuters' report claims that has been in “repeated talks with Qimonda's administrator and creditors about taking over the collapsed chipmaker's graphics operations”. For Elpida it is rather logical to start making premium GDDR memory since the company already produces high-speed RDRAM as well as XDR DRAM developed by Rambus and has experience in making complex memory that operates at very high frequencies.

A news-story by Trading Markets reads that officials cited by Jiji Press indicated that Elpida was looking to purchase rights to use Qimonda's intellectual property and also planned to set up a new design office in Munich and re-employ Qimonda's engineers to work there. No deal has been signed so far, however, an Elpida spokesman is reported to have said.

Back in April ’08 Elpida and Qimonda signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for a technology partnership on joint development of memory chips (DRAMs) and process technologies for their manufacturing. In the planned cooperation, Qimonda would provide its know-how with the innovative buried wordline technology (which is usually called “trench technology” in DRAM world) and Elpida its advanced stack capacitor technology (which is normally called “stack technology” in DRAM industry). Elpida and Qimonda planned to introduce the jointly developed innovative 4F² cell concept in the 40nm generation in calendar year 2010 and to subsequently scale it to the 30nm generation.

At present only Hynix Semiconductor and Samsung Electronics produce GDDR3, GDDR4 and GDDR5 memory. Qimonda, which used to make GDDR3 and GDDR5, stopped production in Spring 2009.

Earlier on Tuesday it transpired that Winbond, a relatively small Taiwan-based company that produces commodity DRAM, was interested in acquiring GDDR assets from Qimonda. Even though Winbond’s board of directors has approved the plan, no deal has been inked yet.

Dynamic random access memory (DRAM) designed for usage with graphics processors is used both to make graphics cards as well as inside video game consoles. Considering the fact that only a a handful of companies are able to produce GDDR in volume, graphics memory business is rather lucrative and prices of such chips does not depend on supply/demand ratio as heavily as the pricing of commodity DRAMs.