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”

Emerging Memory Market to Hit $36 Billion by 2030

A compass dial overlaid on tp of a silicon wafer full of memory chipsThe Memory Guy is pleased to announce the release of a new report co-authored by Objective Analysis and Coughlin Associates named: Emerging Memories Find Their Direction.  In this report we show that emerging memories, MRAM, ReRAM, 3D XPoint, and other technologies are well on their way to reach $36 billion of combined revenues by 2030.

The report provides invaluable guidance to Continue reading “Emerging Memory Market to Hit $36 Billion by 2030”

Forecasting with Smith Charts

Example Smith ChartForecasting the memory market can be quite daunting unless you use the appropriate tools, then it becomes enormously simple.  Many of my clients ask The Memory Guy how it is that I am able to come up with such consistently-acurate forecasts in a seemingly-unpredictable market.  My answer is always that I use the Smith Chart.  This chart is a nomogram, presented in an angular/logarithmic format (as opposed to Continue reading “Forecasting with Smith Charts”

SPIE Advanced Litho Conference: Artificial Intelligence and a Lot of Chemistry

I attended a bit of the SPIE Advanced Lithography conference in San Jose this  week.  This  show is different from my normal fare, since The Memory Guy isn’t all that smart with process technology.  Still, there were certain aspects that I wanted to see.  Surprisingly, none of the presentations that I attended related directly to lithography: Two were about Continue reading “SPIE Advanced Litho Conference: Artificial Intelligence and a Lot of Chemistry”

Intel’s Optane DIMM Price Model

With Intel’s Cascade Lake rollout last month came with a co-introduction of 3D XPoint Memory in a DIMM form factor, the Optane DIMM that had been promised since the first introduction of 3D XPoint Memory in mid-2015.  A lot of benchmarks were provided to make the case for using Optane DIMMs (formally known as the Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory), but not much was said about the pricing, except for assertions that significant savings were possible when Optane was used to replace some of the DRAM in a large computing system.

So…  How much does it cost?  Well certain technical reports in resources like Anandtech probed sales channels to see what they could find, but The Memory Guy learned that the presentations Intel made to the press in advance of the Cascade Lake rollout contained not only prices for the three Optane DIMM densities (128, 256, & 512GB), but also provided the prices of the DRAM DIMMs that they were being compared against.  I’ll get to that in a moment, but first let’s wade through the fundamentals of Intel’s Optane pricing strategy to understand why Intel has needs to price it the way that it has.

In Objective Analysis’ report on 3D XPoint Memory, and in several presentations I have Continue reading “Intel’s Optane DIMM Price Model”

Forecast Videos Prove A History of Accuracy

ForecastsEvery year the folks at VLSI Research provide The Memory Guy with an opportunity to share the latest Objective Analysis forecast with the world.  They record a 20-minute video highlighting the forecast in a conversation between me and VLSI’s chairman, Dan Hutcheson.

There are now twelve videos on the site, one for each year from 2008 to 2019.  That’s quite a collection!

Over the course of each video I not only present the forecast, but also give an overview of the thinking behind it.  Typically I explain the impact of high or low capital spending in prior years, but in some forecasts I explain how other issues (in particular NAND flash’s excruciating conversion from planar to 3D) can create a shortage independent of capital spending patterns.

We also go over what went right or wrong with the prior year’s forecast.  Things that  go wrong are generally macroeconomic issues like the Continue reading “Forecast Videos Prove A History of Accuracy”

Where is Micron’s QuantX?

Micron Quantx LogoFor more than a year The Memory Guy has been fielding questions about Micron’s QuantX products.

First announced at the 2016 Flash Memory Summit, this brand name has been assigned to Micron SSDs and DIMMs that use the Intel/Micron 3D XPoint Memory.  Originally QuantX products were scheduled to ship in 2017, but Micron is currently projecting availability in 2019.  My clients wonder why there have been these delays, and why Micron is not more actively marketing this product.

The simple answer is that it doesn’t make financial sense for Micron to ship these products at this time.

Within two weeks of the first announcement of 3D XPoint Memory, at the 2015 Flash Memory Summit, I knew and explained that the technology would take two years or more to reach manufacturing cost parity with DRAM, even though Intel and Micron loudly proclaimed that it was ten times denser than DRAM.  This density advantage should eventually allow XPoint manufacturing costs to drop below DRAM costs, but any new technology, and even old technologies that are in low-volume production, suffer a decided scale disadvantage against DRAM, which sells close Continue reading “Where is Micron’s QuantX?”

Intel’s Losses Amid Others’ Gains

Intel's NSG profits vs the  competitionWhy has Intel’s NVM Solutions Group (NSG), the owner of the company’s NAND flash, SSD, and 3D XPoint businesses, been losing money during a time when all other manufacturers are more profitable than they have been in years?

This is a question that certain investors have put to The Memory Guy for the past year or so, and it deserves some explanation.

This post’s graphic compares Intel’s NSG net profit margins to the margins published by other memory companies.  (Click on it to see the whole chart.)  This isn’t a completely clean comparison since the data for Samsung, SK hynix, and Micron includes DRAM, and recent quarters are missing for Western Digital (SanDisk) and Toshiba since these companies have stopped sharing comparable financials, but it still serves as a relatively clear indication that Intel’s NSG (blue) is losing money while all other companies are quite profitable.

Something seems dreadfully Continue reading “Intel’s Losses Amid Others’ Gains”