On Tuesday the HMC Consortium (that’s short for “Hybrid Memory Cube”) announced that members have agreed upon a specification. The consortium has been moving rapidly, meeting its targets despite the revolutionary nature of the interface.
As a reminder, this technology stacks multiple DRAMs in a single package with a logic chip at the base of the stack that performs all the signalling to the rest of the system. Signals between the DRAMs and logic chip use through-silicon vias (TSVs) as interconnections. This allows the technology to deliver 15 times the performance of DDR3 at only 30% of the power consumption. The Memory Guy first posted about the HMC in late 2011.
The consortium explains that the HMC interface already has 100 adopters, and that a few Continue reading “Hybrid Memory Cube Making Progress”
Every so often I run into someone who asks about the discrepancy between various analysts’ NAND market share rankings and SanDisk’s shipments. After all, SanDisk is a leading producer of flash memory and has captive manufacture through its joint venture with Toshiba. Yet, most market share rankings leave SanDisk out.
What’s going on here?
Owing to a long-standing convention SanDisk’s NAND chips aren’t counted since they are sold as “Systems” (with a controller.) The World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) set that rule up, and most analysts Continue reading “Why Most NAND Rankings Ignore SanDisk”
The trade press has recently carried reports of a NAND shortage which The Memory Guy finds to be very premature. True, NAND prices are not at their lowest point – today NAND can be found for 38 cents per gigabyte, up from a low of 31 cents in July. But does this constitute a shortage? No, not really.
One of the key indicators of a shortage is a crossover between spot and contract pricing – during an oversupply spot pricing is lower than contract pricing since OEMs and suppliers both place excess product on the market and compete on price. During a shortage the opposite is true – suppliers don’t have any Continue reading “Is there a NAND Shortage? Not quite.”
DRAM manufacturers often refer to “The Windows Bump” – a phenomenon that is believed to occur after every release of a new version of the Windows operating system. According to this theory DRAM demand increases for a period following an introduction.
An example: in a recent article Kingston VP Scott Chen said that an increase in sales for Windows 8 might help raise DRAM demand, leading to more stable prices.
Demand is expected to pick up on the upcoming launch of Windows 8 tablets and Ultrabook PCs later in the second half of 2012.
Does the Windows Bump really exist? The Memory Guy thought Continue reading “Does the ‘Windows Bump’ Really Exist?”
NAND prices have increased since July, and that appears to have helped Samsung to increase its memory revenues in the past quarter. That comes as a welcome change!
As this post’s graphic illustrates the company has has seen downward-trending memory revenues for five of the past six quarters, but Q2 revenues increased by ten percent. Interestingly enough, the last quarter-to-quarter increase was a miniscule 0.3% one in Q2 of 2011. It looks as if growth tends to regularly occur in Samsung’s second quarter.
Last quarter’s revenue growth helps to debunk rumors that Samsung was Continue reading “Samsung Revenues Reflect NAND Price Increase”
Lane Mason of Objective Analysis recently shared with The Memory Guy an article he wrote for the 4 April 2007 Denali Memory Report covering Phase Change Memory (PCM or PRAM.) It looked like something big was about to happen with the technology: PCM looked nearly ready to enter production.
The article included an excerpt of an EE Times interview with Micron’s CEO, the late Steve Appleton, in which Appleton stated that PCM advocates threatened to take over the memory market in 2000.
Here it is 2012, and PCM represents little more than a drop in the bucket when it comes to memory sales, although Continue reading “Alternative Memory Technologies Patiently Wait For Market to Explode”
In a surprise announcement Toshiba has said that it will immediately cut NAND flash production by approximately 30%. The company explains that this is being done “to reduce inventory in the market and improve the overall balance between supply and demand.” Toshiba’s release implies that this move is expected to improve prices, which have dropped as low as $0.31/GB recently.
By common measures of market share, which typically leave out SanDisk (for reasons too complex to discuss here) Toshiba holds a share of roughly 30% of the NAND flash market. By cutting its output by 30% Toshiba would be reducing overall NAND supply by 10%. If we were to include SanDisk, then that percentage would decrease to about 7.5%. Either one of these is significantly more than Continue reading “Toshiba to Cut NAND Production by 30%”
After years of prototyping Micron Technology claims to be the first to introduce production volumes of Phase-Change Memory, or PCM. This memory, also known as PRAM, has long been positioned as a contender to replace flash once flash reaches its scaling limit. Rather than use electrons to store a bit, PCM uses a type of glass that is conductive when in a crystalline state and resistive when amorphous, two states that are relatively easy to control. The size of the bits can shrink to a very small dimensions, allowing PCM to scale into the single-digit number of nanometers, which most folks today believe to be beyond the realm of flash.
This product began its life at Intel, then followed the Numonyx spin-off, and was taken over by Micron when it acquired Numonyx. In fact, Intel got into PCM very early on – this post’s graphic is the cover of an Electronics Magazine from September 1970 with an Intel story, written by Gordon Moore, telling about a 128-bit PCM research chip.
So far only three companies have produced samples Continue reading “Micron PCM Enters Mass Production”
Last January at the Storage Visions Conference in Las Vegas (held every year just prior to CES) I asked the audience what they would do when NAND flash reached a price of 35¢ per gigabyte. My projection (the dotted red line on the chart at left) was that prices would reach that level by the end of the year.
My audience was shocked to hear such a low price!
Price declines open up new markets. It was time to think creatively, I said, because that’s where pricing would be by the end of 2012.
Well, I was wrong – according to Continue reading “NAND Flash at 35 Cents per Gigabyte”
It seems that DRAM makers are still unaware of the impact NAND flash will have on DRAM revenues. Even though many are paying a lot of attention to the impact of the Tablet PC on Notebook PC shipments, few understand that even a healthy notebook market will start to place a decreasing focus on the system DRAM in the near future.
The reason why is simple, and it’s explained in great detail in a report: How PC NAND will Undermine DRAM. In a nutshell, once a basic minimum DRAM requirement has been met, NAND flash yields a greater performance return per dollar than does DRAM. This is illustrated in the graphic to the left.
Forget about the fact that NAND flash is nonvolatile, and that it offers Continue reading “Why DRAM Bit Growth will Suffer”