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DRAMeXchange Compuforum 2010 : The Revival of Memory – Next Opportunity

3 June 2010 Semiconductors

June 1st , 2010 ---- on 1’st June, 2010 DRAMeXchange held its annual seminar, Compuforum 2010 and gathered industry leaders from around the world to share their knowledge in the production, market trend and technical aspects of the memory industry.

According to Joyce Yang, Vice President of DRAMeXchange Research Division of TrendForce Corporation, 2010 PC growth estimated at 16% YoY, which will have impact on component and DRAM shortage. NAND Flash rebounded from the bottom of 2009. Given the dynamics of iPad launch from Apple, the strong smartphone growth momentum, 3xnm/2xnm migration and rising TLC portion. Joyce Yang states after loss was recorded in three consecutive years, DRAM vendors cut the capacity drastically in 4Q08. With the 8” fab phase out, total DRAM capacity had reduced 20% and DRAM vendors finally returned to the positive profit in 2009 with rebounding price.

DRAM vendors initiated the 4nm migration in 2010. However, 2010 DRAM supply growth still lies in uncertainty due to the difficulty in technology migration and immersion scanner shortage. Triggered by the recovering global economy and PC replacement effect, PC-OEMS shows the aggressive shipment perspective.
Dr. Antonio Mesquida Küsters, Director of Market Intelligence of ASML, states that the memory industry is now recovering fast, driven by better than expected end-user demand for PCs and smart-phones paired with supply shortages, as a result of significant 200 mm capacity retirements during the last 2 years. Thus, both DRAM and NAND prices are high and expected to keep stable for the coming quarters, driven by expected supply shortages. At the same time, all memory makers are putting their current efforts in transferring their existing technology generations into the next node by buying leading-edge lithography systems from ASML.

Alex Wang, President of Powerchip Semiconductor Corp., says after experiencing disastrous ten consecutive quarters of loss, the DRAM industry is back on track and returning to its glory days. Looking into the future and reviewing the past, DRAM vendors will focus on profitability rather than market share.
According to Joe Chen, General Manager of Zentel Electronics Corp., DRAM is very widely used in various applications including not only computers but also digital consumer and communication devices. Ranging from 16Mb through 1Gb, the DRAM for consumer applications typically have lower density but higher bandwidth than those for computers. SDR (Single data rate) and DDR (double data rate) are the most popular architectures, with DDR-2 emerging very quickly for the high performance video applications.

Doreet Oren ,Marketing Director of SanDisk, states that SSD’s multiple benefits enable a growing variety of Client PC devices. SSD manufactures must carefully tailor the specific needs for each usage model to best support the end user. SSDs need to meet different specs of performance, power consumption, and reliability and an assortment of form factors to address diverse needs.
Error Correction Code (ECC) is typically used to correct errors and retain reliability in NAND-based products and systems. However, the shrink in process geometries, and the migration from SLC to MLC, and from 2-bit MLC to 3- and 4-bits-per-cell, result in a dramatic increase in NAND’s physical impairments. These include cross-coupling, read and program disturbs, data retention and endurance impairments. A new technology termed Memory Signal Processing (MSP™) is presented, which integrates advanced ECC with proprietary signal processing algorithms that compensate for NAND’s physical limitations. The result provides NAND-based products and systems ranging from UFDs and SD cards to enterprise class SSDs with significantly improved reliability and performance says Yoav Kasorla, Program Manager of Anobit.
Jet Huang ,Chief Operation Officer of JMicron Technology Corp., reveals the next ten years will be an era of Cloud Computing. Everything will be computed in the Cloud. Therefore, Cloud needs more powerful servers and more quickly accessible storages. The characteristics of SSD and NAND Flash is high access rate and thin volume, which fits the need of Cloud Computing .
eTT (Effectively Tested) DRAM is being adopted in large volume by DRAM module manufacturers and computer system integraters for the benefits of price and availability. However there are concerns on eTT parts for shortcomings in quality and reliability due to its shortened or omitted test screening conditions. Ukyo Jeng, Senior Director of A-DATA examines the difference in test conditions between eTT parts and fully finished parts, and demonstrates ways to achieve equivalent quality level of finished DRAM module using eTT parts.

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