During Micron’s May 12 Investor Day Conference the company presented a number of new memory technologies and one compelling new business strategy that The Memory Guy thought were worth sharing. The audience learned of yet-another planar DRAM process node, Micron’s layer count for its next-generation NAND, how a portion of its proprietary SSD controller has been absorbed into the NAND chips, and finally Continue reading “Micron Investor Day: Big Plans for Tomorrow”
Every so often a new idea comes into an established industry from an unexpected direction and creates a dramatic change to the way that the industry operates. In today’s post The Memory Guy will explain a radical new chip production process will rapidly change the nature and cost structure of the entire semiconductor industry, DRAM and NAND flash first, slashing costs and waste while phenomenally increasing output.
This revolutionary approach stems from Continue reading “Tectonic Change Coming to Chip Production”
This week’s set covers a very diverse range, from the dissolution of a joint venture, through semiconductor cycles and business strategy, to Continue reading “More New “Brief” White Papers Published This Week”
Although the company increased its estimate of the loss from 6.5 exabytes to 7 exabytes, this number is still in the realm of 3.5% of WDC’s annual NAND flash shipments. It represents about two Continue reading “WDC Issues Contamination Update”
Both Western Digital (WDC) and Kioxia have announced a contamination issue at the companies’ two Flash Ventures wafer fabrication plants in Yokkaichi and Kitakami. Let’s have a look at what’s been said so far as The Memory Guy gauges how important it will be for these companies and for the industry.
WDC was the first to announce the issue, with a brief but Continue reading “Contamination at WDC/Kioxia JV Fabs”
It’s earnings call season, and we have heard of a slowing DRAM market and NAND flash price declines from Micron, SK hynix, Intel, and now Samsung. DRAM prices have stopped increasing, and that can be viewed as a precursor to a price decline.
Samsung’s 31 October, 2018 3Q18 earnings call vindicated Objective Analysis‘ forecast for a 2H18 downturn in memories that will take the rest of the semiconductor market with it.
Those familiar with our forecast know that for a few years we have been predicting a downturn in the second half of this year as NAND flash prices fall, followed by a DRAM price collapse. After the DRAM collapse the rest of the semiconductor market will undergo a downturn.
We’ve been calling for this downturn for some time. Dan Hutcheson at VLSI Research has been videotaping our forecast every December for the past Continue reading “Memory Market Falling, as Predicted”
The Memory Guy doesn’t pretend to have any understanding of the raw wafer business, so I decided to consult Mark Thirsk, managing partner of Linx Consulting. Mark has been in this industry for quite a while and has a very good understanding of the ongoing status of the semiconductor materials supply chain.
Mark and I were on a panel together at SEMICON Korea in February, and he presented an interesting chart to compare the costs of different technologies. I asked him about this chart as well.
Here’s what Mark had to say:
“Our information is that major Continue reading “Wafer Shortages and DRAM/NAND”
The Memory Guy has been getting calls lately asking how to tell that a shortage is developing. My answer is always the same: It’s hard to tell.
One indicator is that spot prices which were below contract prices rise above contract prices. This doesn’t happen for all components or densities of DRAM or NAND flash at the same time. Some of these transitions are temporary as well. It takes patience to see if it was a momentary change or if it was the onset of a shortage.
DRAM spot prices have generally been below contract prices since August 2014, but this month they raised above contract prices. NAND flash spot prices also fell below contract prices in mid-2014 but today NAND’s spot price remains lower than contract prices.
Lead times represent another indicator. If the lead time for a number of components increases then those chips are moving into a shortage. Lead times have recently been rising for both NAND flash and DRAM.
A third indication occurs when suppliers start to Continue reading “When a Shortage Looms”
According to a Business Korea article Samsung announced, during a June 14 investor event, plans to reduce its DRAM capital spending and shift its focus to 3D NAND.
The Memory Guy sees this as an unsurprising move. This post’s chart is an estimate of DRAM wafer production from 1991 through 2014. There is a definite downtrend over the past few years. The peak was reached in 2008 at an annual production of slightly below 15 million wafers, with a subsequent dip in 2009 thanks to the global financial collapse at the end of 2008. After a slight recovery in 2010 the industry entered a period of steady decline.
The industry already has more than enough DRAM wafer capacity for the foreseeable future.
Why is this happening? The answer is relatively simple: the gigabytes per wafer on a DRAM wafer are growing faster than the market’s demand for gigabytes.
Let’s dive into that in more detail. The number of gigabytes on a DRAM wafer increases according Continue reading “Understanding Samsung’s DRAM CapEx Cut”
For almost two years there has been a lot of worry about DRAM spot prices. This post’s graphic plots the lowest weekly spot price per gigabyte for the cheapest DRAM, regardless of density, on a semi-logarithmic scale. (Remember that on a semi-logarithmic scale constant growth appears as a straight line.)
The downward-sloping red line on right side of the chart shows that DRAM prices have been sliding at a 45% annual rate since October 2014. This has a lot of people worried for the health of the industry.
What most fail to remember, though, is that DRAM spot prices hit their lowest point twice in 2011, at $2.40 in August, and then $2.20 in November. Today’s lowest DRAM spot prices have only recently dipped below the $2.52 point hit in October of 2014.
The black dotted line in the chart is intended to focus readers’ attention on DRAM costs, which decrease at a 30% average Continue reading “Putting DRAM Prices in Perspective”