Are Memory Chips Commodities? (Part 1)

Photo of an old financial document bearing the title Commodity ExchangeThis post is the first of a two-part series explaining commodities, and especially how they relate to memory chips.  Part 1 defines a commodity and explains its attributes.  Part 2 explains the commodity cycle.


Often in my presentations The Memory Guy will refer to memory chips, particularly DRAM and NAND flash, as Continue reading “Are Memory Chips Commodities? (Part 1)”

This Week’s Round of Objective Analysis Briefs

Five briefs on top of each otherThis week’s newly-published Objective Analysis Briefs have just been released.  These five cover business strategies (Intel, WDC, and Everspin), policy issues, and quantum computing – quite a variety!  Each is derived from one of our most interesting and timeless “Insights” published on membership website Smartkarma.  Now Objective Analysis is making these studies available to Continue reading “This Week’s Round of Objective Analysis Briefs”

More New Objective Analysis Briefs Available

Five briefs on top of each otherThis week five more Objective Analysis Briefs have just become available.  This handful covers commonly held myths and the basic underpinnings of semiconductor market cycles.  All are drawn from the most interesting and timeless of the Insights that we have published on membership website Smartkarma.  Now Objective Analysis is providing them to our friends for a reasonable price.

The Brief is a very Continue reading “More New Objective Analysis Briefs Available”

Introducing New Objective Analysis Briefs

Five briefs on top of each otherAlthough Objective Analysis has published its “Brief” format white papers for some time, this line has never received the focus that it deserves.  To remedy that, we are taking the most interesting and timeless of the Insights that we have published on membership website Smartkarma and providing them to our friends for a reasonable price.

The Brief is a very short report format used to make a succinct Continue reading “Introducing New Objective Analysis Briefs”

Did Samsung Just Endorse YMTC’s Xtacking?

Closeup of Samsung graphic, showing illustration of wafer-bonded NANDDuring his December 15 IEDM keynote speech, Samsung Electronics Chairman Kinam Kim really surprised me.  He spoke favorably of the approach that YMTC is using to produce 3D NAND flash.

This approach, which YMTC named “Xtacking,” involves the use of two separate wafers to manufacture a 3D NAND chip.  The brief way to describe it is to say that Continue reading “Did Samsung Just Endorse YMTC’s Xtacking?”

New Report: Emerging Memories Take Off

Fighter Jets Doing Acrobatic Take-OffThe Memory Guy is pleased to announced the release of a new report by Objective Analysis and Coughlin Associates: Emerging Memories Take Off.

The report is the 2021 update of our popular 2020 emerging memories report, and includes detailed technology profiles of MRAM, ReRAM, FRAM, PCM/XPoint and other technologies, profiles of Continue reading “New Report: Emerging Memories Take Off”

SLC to MLC to TLC to QLC to PLC: Diminishing Returns

Chart shows asymptotically diminishing cost reductions achieved by migrating from SLC to MLC to TLC to QLC to PLCFrom time to time The Memory Guy is asked to explain why the NAND flash business doesn’t immediately convert to the next larger number of bits per cell once it becomes available.  Many people tend to think that a significant cost benefit will necessarily result from migrating to the next number of bits.  It surprises these folks to find that the cost advantage of moving from TLC to QLC is only half as great as the benefit of moving from SLC to MLC.

There is a diminishing Continue reading “SLC to MLC to TLC to QLC to PLC: Diminishing Returns”

Micron Bows Out of 3D XPoint Business

Photo of Micron's Lehi, Utah, wafer fabrication plantIn an investor conference call today Micron Technology announced that it would discontinue further development of the 3D XPoint memory that the company had developed in partnership with Intel, phasing out production and selling off the Lehi, Utah fab (pictured) that makes 3D XPoint.

Micron said that it has determined that the market for the product is too small to Continue reading “Micron Bows Out of 3D XPoint Business”

Microchip’s Answer to Emerging Memories

Press Photo of two 8-pin mini-DIPs with Microchip logoMicrochip Technology is now shipping a memory chip that has been designed to provide the most popular features of emerging memory chips without using any non-standard semiconductor technologies.  It’s as fast as an SRAM with the nonvolatility of an EEPROM.

Readers may recall that Tom Coughlin and I recently updated Continue reading “Microchip’s Answer to Emerging Memories”

SK hynix Acquires Intel’s NAND Business

Art Nouveau silhouette of dancing coupleSK hynix and Intel today announced that SK hynix will acquire Intel’s NAND flash business for $9 billion.  SK hynix gets Intel’s business, its manufacturing plant with two fabs in Dalian, China, and all of Intel’s designs and intellectual property.  The Memory Guy thinks this is a pretty good deal all around.

Intel doesn’t do well in Continue reading “SK hynix Acquires Intel’s NAND Business”