Hynix is now SK-Hynix

Cover of Hynix Memory CatalogHynix Semiconductor has a new name.  Through SK Telecom’s November 2011 purchase of 21.1% of Hynix’ shares from its creditors mobile phone service provider SK has acquired controlling interest of the company and is re-branding Hynix as SK-Hynix.

The Memory Guy has not discussed this with either Hynix or SK Telecom so far, but it seems unusual that a 21.1% stake in a company would gain a controlling interest.

Suffice it to say that Hynix’ creditor banks, who have been trying to divest themselves of their ownership of Hynix for a few years, have finally found Continue reading “Hynix is now SK-Hynix”

New NAND Player: Macronix

Macronix NAND FlashMacronix, a company known for its leadership in mask ROMs and low-density NOR flash has just entered the NAND flash market.  This adds a new player to a very small pool of competitors: Samsung, Toshiba, SanDisk, Hynix, Intel, and Micron.

The company’s first NAND products are SLC chips of two densities: 512Mb and 1Gb.  Compare this to the offerings of the market’s other participants which range up to 256Gb.  Spot price tracker InSpectrum doesn’t even track pricing of densities below 4Gb!

There still seems to be a good market for these low-density parts: According to WSTS  Continue reading “New NAND Player: Macronix”

Rambus Acquires Unity Semiconductor

Unity SemiconductorRambus announced that the company has acquired privately-held Unity Semiconductor, an alternative memory technology company for $35 million. Unity employees have joined Rambus and will continue to develop  next-generation nonvolatile memory.

Unity has an interesting technology that has caught the eye of some leading memory firms, including Micron, who had an exclusive right to Unity’s technology.  The company’s CMOx is based on oxygen ions moving within a semiconducting material.  It’s one species of resistive RAM.

Although Unity has been trying for years to manufacture very high density nonvolatile memory chips, The Memory Guy is not aware that the company has yet produced the chips they have set out to make.

Continue reading “Rambus Acquires Unity Semiconductor”

Micron CEO Killed in Plane Crash

Micron CEO Steve AppletonToday Micron CEO Steve Appleton was killed in an airplane accident.  Objective Analysis has issued an alert to our clients and subscribers giving details of the wreck, Appleton’s contributions to the company, and some thoughts on the company’s succession.  The Alert can be viewed by visiting the Objective Analysis Reports page.

Most of all my thoughts and sympathies go to Appleton’s family and his former co-workers, all of whom are mourning his death.  Although we realize that Mr. Appleton will be missed, but we know that Micron will continue to follow the path set up by Appleton’s predecessor, Micron founder Jerry Parkinson, to maintain its position as one of the leading memory chip suppliers.

Elpida ReRAM Prototype

How a New Technology Usurps FlashElpida announced the development of a high-speed 64Mb non-volatile resistance memory (ReRAM) prototype using a 50nm process. The device was jointly developed with the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), a Japanese-funded public institution.

Elpida will conduct further ReRAM development with Sharp Corporation, the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST, another Japanese public institution) and the University of Tokyo.

It’s encouraging to see that Elpida still has its eye on projects into 2013 and beyond.  The company is rumored to be working feverishly to find ways to stay in business through this year.  Today’s DRAM market is a challenging one!

Continue reading “Elpida ReRAM Prototype”

Cypress vs. GSI Battle Following Rambus Lead

RAM FightThe current battle between Cypress Semiconductor and GSI Technology caught The Memory Guy’s eye recently.  Many readers may have missed this battle that commenced when Cypress filed a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) lawsuit in the US in which the company asked for GSI SRAMs to be barred from importation into the US because of a patent dispute.

GSI has issued a countersuit with a complaint of anticompetitive practices.

What garnered my interest is how similar the tactics in this lawsuit are to those used for some of the Rambus lawsuits that evolved over the years: Continue reading “Cypress vs. GSI Battle Following Rambus Lead”

DRAM Consolidation in 2012?

History of DRAM Market Share by Company2012 is likely to be a year in which the DRAM market consolidates a little bit more.

Consider this:

  • At its peak in the late 1980s the DRAM market sported 23 suppliers.
  • Today there are 6 suppliers of any note: Samsung, Hynix, Micron, Elpida, Nanya, and Powerchip
  • The already-depressed market is only going to worsen in 2012.  Capital spending in 2010 is seeing to that.  Although many believe that prices cannot get any lower, that is exactly what they will do in 2012. Continue reading “DRAM Consolidation in 2012?”

WIOMING: Another Spin on the Hybrid Memory Cube

ST-Ericsson & CEA-Leti WIOMING Multichip ModuleAt a Conference in San Francisco today (Tuesday December 13 ) ST-Ericsson and CEA-Leti presented a paper on something the companies called a: “Breakthrough 3DIC with Wide I/O Interface.”

This product appears to be a variation on the Hybrid Memory Cube, or HMC concept detailed in a prior post.

Remember that the HMC stacks a number of DRAM chips atop a logic chip.  The memories store data and communicate to the logic chip through thousands of through-silicon vias (TSVs) while the logic chip handles communications with the outside world. Continue reading “WIOMING: Another Spin on the Hybrid Memory Cube”

What is a Content-Addressable Memory (CAM)?

This is not the kind of CAM the post is about!What is a Content-Addressable Memory (CAM)?  The Memory Guy decided to post this after having recently run across a very strange web post HERE that erroneously inferred that CAM chips from NEC could be a threat to NAND-based SSDs.  The article was based on a press release from NEC and Tohoku University that can be read HERE.

It’s not at all surprising that the release was misunderstood – it’s very awkwardly written:

The new CAM utilizes the vertical magnetization of vertical domain wall elements in reaction to magnetic substances in order to enable data that is processing within the CAM to be stored on a circuit without using power.

Continue reading “What is a Content-Addressable Memory (CAM)?”

A Change to Computing Architecture?

Venray's TOMI Die LayoutI got a phone call yesterday from Russell Fish of Venray Technology. He wanted to talk about how and why computer architecture is destined for a change.

I will disclose right up front that he and I were college classmates.  Even so, I will do my best to give the unbiased viewpoint that my clients expect of me.

Russell is tormented by an affliction that troubles many of us in technology: We see the direction that technology is headed, then we consider what makes sense, and we can’t tolerate any conflicts between the two.

In Russell’s case, the problem is the memory/processor speed bottleneck.

Continue reading “A Change to Computing Architecture?”