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SanDisk Files Lawsuit Against SK Hynix for Theft of Trade Secrets

SanDisk Corporation, a global leader in flash storage solutions, today announced that it has filed a civil lawsuit against Korea's SK Hynix, Inc., SK Hynix America and related entities in Santa Clara Superior Court. The lawsuit seeks damages, an injunction and other remedies against Hynix for trade secret misappropriation under California's Uniform Trade Secret Act. Additionally, SanDisk has submitted a criminal complaint with the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department against a former employee.

These actions relate to the theft of trade secrets related to NAND flash technology by a former engineer of SanDisk who left the company in 2008 to work for SK Hynix. This engineer is alleged to have illegally taken SanDisk's proprietary technical information and to have subsequently provided it to SK Hynix. Tokyo Metropolitan Police today announced the arrest of the former employee, who worked at SanDisk's joint venture manufacturing facility in Yokkaichi, Japan. SanDisk has been and continues to cooperate with law enforcement in their investigation.

DRAM Price Fixing Case: Get a Piece of the $310 Million Settlement Pie

Did you buy computers or other consumer electronics with DRAM chips in it between 1998 and 2002? Chances are, that you've been done over by organized price-fixing by DRAM manufacturers that made computers and consumer electronics costlier than they should have been. An online claim portal sprung up in accordance with the ruling in the DRAM Indirect Purchaser Antitrust Litigation, which lets the general public (you) file a claim, seeking compensation from DRAM manufacturers.

A typical successful claim should entitle you to a compensation of $10, but in certain cases, the compensation can go as high as $1,000. Documentation (proof of purchase) is not required, but the site advises you to hold on to any documentation that you have, apart from the equipment itself. The litigation covers "indirect purchasers" only, which includes people who purchased pre-built PCs, laptops, mobile phones, game consoles, and graphics cards. People who directly purchased DRAM from DRAM makers (such as aftermarket DRAM modules), aren't eligible. However, you could argue in your claim that even while you purchased your modules from, say, OCZ, that company sourced DRAM chips from, say, Hyundai (Hynix) or Samsung, making it an "indirect purchase." Be imaginative. Get the online claims form, along with other FAQs here.
A video presentation follows.

PowerColor Radeon R9 290X PCS+ Unveiled

PowerColor may have been the first AMD add-in board vendor to launch a custom-design Radeon R9 290X graphics card with its R9 290X LCS, which is basically an AMD reference PCB with a factory-fitted EKWB FC-R9-290X water-block; but its air-cooled non-reference cards have been nowhere in sight, until now. PowerColor posted these pictures of the Radeon R9 290X PCS+, its premium factory-overclocked and air-cooled graphics card based on AMD's flagship GPU. The company's Radeon R9 290 (non-X) PCS+ is expected to look identical.

Pictures reveal the card's PCB to be largely based on AMD's reference design, perhaps with variations on the choice of components. PowerColor has a knack of splurging on expensive, high-quality components on its PCBs (think International Rectifier and Coilworks VRM components, Samsung and SK Hynix memory chips, etc.), and we expect a similar treatment for the R9 290X PCS+. The two-slot cooling solution featured on this card is making its debut with it. It features a network of aluminium fin stacks to which heat is fed by copper heat pipes, and which are ventilated by a trio of 80 mm fans. PowerColor didn't reveal clock speeds, launch date, or pricing.

MSI Radeon R9 290 Series Gaming PCB Pictured

Here's the first picture of the PCB under the hood of MSI's Radeon R9 290X Gaming OC graphics card, which was unveiled in Japan, over the weekend, and which was detailed in a slightly older article. It turns out that MSI will use the same board design (including the back-plate) on both the R9 290X Gaming OC and the R9 290 Gaming OC, both of which have been put up for pre-order by Canadian e-tailer NCIX. The R9 290X Gaming OC is priced at $699 CAD including taxes (US $660); while the R9 290 Gaming OC is priced at $529.99 CAD including taxes (US $500).

The PCB itself is a slight variation of MSI on AMD's reference design. The layout is identical, but there are subtle differences in component choices MSI made. For example, it ditches Coiltronics-made chokes for MagicTech. Appears to use SK Hynix made memory chips (instead of Elpida on a vast majority of retail R9 290 series boards), etc. It also appears to retain dual-BIOS. According to NCIX, both cards will feature untouched memory clock speeds of 5.00 GHz, yielding memory bandwidth of 320 GB/s, but feature 5-7 percent overclocks on the GPU. The R9 290 Gaming OC features GPU clock speeds (possibly PowerTune boost) of up to 1000 MHz (vs. 948 MHz reference), while the R9 290X Gaming OC features 1040 MHz.

Massive Fire at SK Hynix Facility in Wuxi, China

A massive fire broke out this afternoon (local time), at a SK Hynix production facility in Wuxi, China. At this moment, pictures and videos of the fire are swarming through local social networks, and there are no official announcements by either the local authorities, or the company itself. Incidentally, this isn't the first fire accident at an SK Hynix manufacturing facility, a Korea-based fab suffered one in February 2008. The facility hit by fire is rumored to be one that handles packaging (placing bumped dies inside ceramic or plastic shells, and labeling them). If the extant of damage to the facility is high, it might affect NAND flash prices more than DRAM, since the company recently prioritized NAND flash over DRAM for the facility.

Source: ChipHell Forums

Galaxy GeForce GTX 760 HOF Pictured

Following up on launches of its GTX 780 HOF and GTX 770 HOF high-end graphics cards, Galaxy is giving final touches to its next addition to the HOF (hall of fame) series, this one based on the performance-segment GeForce GTX 760 GPU. Pictured below, the GTX 760 HOF is, for all intents and purposes, GTX 770 HOF with a different GPU and memory chips, the pin-compatible GTX 760, and slightly slower 6 GT/s rated memory chips.

The GTX 760 HOF features the same milky, almost edible-looking white PCB characteristic of HOF series, which draws power from a pair of 8-pin PCIe power connectors, and conditions it using an 8-phase VRM, which uses CPL-made chokes, and IR DirectFETs. An NEC-Tokin Proadlizer (multi-phase capacitor) keeps power delivery to the GPU clean. The card ships with factory overclocked speeds of 1111 MHz core, 1176 MHz GPU Boost, and 6.00 GHz memory. It features 2 GB of GDDR5 memory across a 256-bit wide memory interface. Galaxy didn't reveal launch details. Find more pictures at the source.


Source: Expreview

SK Hynix Memory Solutions Announces Dr. Khandker Nazrul Quader as CEO

SK hynix memory solutions (SKHMS) is pleased to announce that Dr. Khandker Nazrul Quader has joined SKHMS as President and CEO effective June 21, 2013. "It has been nearly one year since SK hynix acquired controller expertise through the acquisition of Link-A-Media Devices, now SK hynix memory solutions (SKHMS)," stated Dr. Park, President and CEO of SK hynix and Chairman of the Board of SKHMS. "The addition of Dr. Quader's leadership with his extensive background in NAND technology and design, Advanced Non-volatile memories and DRAM storage technologies and his extensive experience and expertise in Multi-level Flash memory management systems will further leverage the value of the SKHMS team, especially at this time of significant market growth in the areas of Flash memory based storage solutions. It is my pleasure to welcome Dr. Quader as part of SK family."

"I'm very excited to join and lead the SKHMS (formerly Link-A-Media) team at a time when the flash memory industry is poised for phenomenal growth in SSD and mobile markets," said Dr. Quader. "The integration of the controller solution know-how of SKHMS combined with the Advanced Non-volatile memories and DRAM technologies and the manufacturing capabilities of SK hynix is producing leading-edge products across multiple market segments. Full vertical integration of controller hardware, advanced flash memory systems architecture, firmware, NAND, other forms of non-volatile memory, and DRAM coupled with high volume memory manufacturing capability is quite rare in the industry and allows our customers to have a one-stop storage solution provider with the capacity, support and expertise the industry demands. The combined focus of SK hynix and SKHMS provides excellent opportunity to become a market leader in Enterprise, Client and Mobile storage."

Rambus and SK Hynix Sign Patent License Agreement

Rambus Inc., the innovative technology solutions company, and SK Hynix, the world's top tier memory semiconductor supplier, today announced they have signed a five-year patent license agreement for the use of Rambus memory-related patented innovations in SK Hynix semiconductor products and have also settled all outstanding claims. The agreement includes a license to certain DRAM products for payments of $12 million per quarter for the next five years. Other terms of the agreement are confidential.

"This is a milestone agreement for both companies that puts years of legal disputes behind us and gives us the opportunity for collaboration," said Dr. Ron Black, president and chief executive officer at Rambus. "With this agreement, we can focus more on engaging with the industry as we work on future challenges where we can bring invention and value to the market with superior solutions and products."

SK Hynix Develops the World's First High Density 8 Gb LPDDR3

SK Hynix Inc. announced that it has developed the world's first 8 Gb(Gigabit) LPDDR3 (Low Power DDR3) using its advanced 20nm class process technology. This product is a top-performance mobile memory solution which features high density, ultrahigh speed and low power consumption.

The new products can be stacked up and realize a high density of maximum 4 GB(Gigabytes, 32 Gb) solution in a single package. In addition, the height of this package becomes dramatically thinner than the existing 4 Gb-based one. In terms of its high density and competitive package height, it is suitable for the newest trend of the mobile applications.

Colorful Announces GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost iGame

Possibly the most well-equipped GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost, Colorful's iGame graphics card combines the mid-range GPU, otherwise meant for 1080p gaming on a shoestring budget, with its signature paraphernalia. To begin with, the company cools the 140W TDP chip with its most powerful iGame VGA cooler, which uses a combination of three aluminum fin stacks, to which heat from the GPU is fed by five 8 mm-thick nickel-plated copper heat pipes; and which are ventilated by a pair of 80 mm fans. Since the card has memory chips on both sides, Colorful dropped in a brushed aluminum back-plate as well.

Colorful's iGame GTX 650 Ti Boost uses a custom-design PCB, with a 4+1 phase VRM, and hand-binned Hynix-made memory chips for high memory overclock. The PCB features two independent EEPROM chips, giving you dual-BIOS support. It ships with a failsafe BIOS that falls back to NVIDIA-reference clock speeds of 980 MHz core, 1033 MHz GPU Boost, and 6.00 GHz memory; while a factory-OC "Turbo" BIOS ups the GPU Boost to 1058 MHz. The card draws power from two 6-pin PCIe power connectors, to ensure your overclock doesn't fall short of power; display outputs include two dual-link DVI, and one each of HDMI and DisplayPort. Colorful didn't announce price, but plans to launch the card in the Greater China region, and the EU. Another "go big or go home" product from Colorful.

Tessera and Hynix Enter Into Eight-Year Patent Licensing Agreements

Tessera Technologies, Inc. announced today that its Tessera, Inc. and Invensas Corporation subsidiaries each entered into new eight-year patent license agreements with SK hynix Inc.

"We are delighted that these new and broader agreements build on our long-standing and positive relationship with SK hynix, which has become the first DRAM manufacturer to reach agreements that give it access to both our Tessera, Inc. and our Invensas Corporation patent portfolios," said Robert A. Young, chief executive officer and president, Tessera Technologies, Inc. "Multi-year agreements like these benefit our customers with secure pricing and provide us with running royalties that fund new innovations."

OCMemory Launches Hynix-Based DDR3-2400 MHz Memory that Stays Cool without Heatsinks

Japanese PC memory maker OCMemory launched a new line of high-speed PC memory that stays cool without need fancy heatsinks or heatspreaders. The OCM2400CL10D-8GBN, launched in the series, takes advantage of Hynix high-density CFR DRAM chips to achieve DDR3-2400 MHz speeds, with timings of 10-12-12-31, and 1.65V, without needing any additional cooling components. In addition to a JEDEC-approved DDR3-1600 MHz fallback SPD profile, it includes an XMP profile to use its advertised speeds. The sticks use 8-layer black PCBs to improve signaling efficiency. The kit includes two 4 GB modules, and is priced at 6,000¥ ($72).

Source: Hermitage Akihabara

DRAM Spot Prices Increase in November

According to DRAMeXchange, a division of global research firm TrendForce, as forecast in a previous report, DRAM contract price showed signs of stabilization in November; the previous US$1 to $2 monthly decline is narrowing, and DDR3 4 GB contract price is holding at the US$15 mark. TrendForce expects the contract price trend will only show a slight decrease in December, and may even stay flat for the month.

As spot market prices fluctuate more than contract prices, the spot market is often a good indicator of future DRAM prices. This week the spot market is seeing increased activity; DDR2 and 2 Gb eTT and DDR2 prices have increased by 1.24% and 1.09%, respectively. Top-tier memory makers began quietly building inventory in October, and spot market buyers seem to be following suit, providing an opportunity for a price rebound. TrendForce believes the DRAM spot price uptrend is due prior capacity cuts taking effect as well as strong entry-level tablet, or "Mobile Internet Device", shipments in China.

DRAM Price Decline Results in 8.5% QoQ Decrease in DRAM Industry Value

According to DRAMeXchange, a research division of TrendForce, as PC shipments are continually adjusted downwards and yearly growth has decreased by 5% YoY, demand for the peak season is not as strong as expected and the oversupply situation continues to worsen. As a result, contract price for 2 Gb chips fell by 22.5% in the third quarter, from US$1.11 in July to US$0.86 in September. Server and mobile DRAM are also showing falling price trends, resulting in an 8.5% drop in the value of the DRAM industry compared to the previous quarter; DRAM suppliers' revenues are falling across the board. However, looking at third quarter demand, with strong shipments for mobile devices like smartphones and tablet PCs, mobile DRAM accounted for 25% of total DRAM output, a significant increase from less than 20% in the second quarter. Consequently, market share is on the rise for memory makers with higher mobile DRAM ratios, like Samsung and Elpida. For the DRAM industry, improving core competitiveness lies in proper product adjustment, the key to profitability with such bleak market conditions.

NAND Flash Shipments Valued at $4.626 Billion, Samsung Leads in Shipments

Market research firm TrendForce released NAND flash shipment figures for 3Q 2012. The global NAND flash market is valued at US $4.626 billion, a healthy 6.6% growth over the previous quarter. A TrendForce DRAMeXchange report provided a break-down of shipments of NAND flash by manufacturers. Leading the pack is Samsung, with 41.2% market-share, registering a 1.8% QoQ growth. Trailing behind is Toshiba, with 24.7% market share, and a significant 12.9% QoQ growth. In September, Toshiba cut prices and scaled up production, which may have contributed to the growth. Micron holds 14.4% of the market with 2.8% growth, SK Hynix 11.6% with 6.4% growth (the company began mass-production of SSD-grade NAND flash this quarter), and Intel with 7.6% of the market-share, growing at 19.7%. Bear in mind, these numbers represent NAND flash components used not only in SSDs, but also USB flash drives, memory cards, etc.

Source: TrendForce

DRAM Production Cuts Take Effect, Likely to Lead to a Rebound for DRAM Prices

According to DRAMeXchange, a research division of TrendForce, given the persistent oversupply situation in the global DRAM market, along with the -5% YoY shipment growth for PCs, October contract prices have dropped below $16 USD, and are continuing to approach the $15 USD mark. The trends pose as yet another test to the cost structures of DRAM makers. With prices approaching or dropping below cash cost, manufacturers are faced with the option of either undergoing production cuts or shifting their focus towards non-DRAM products.

Other than ProMOS, which chose to quit the DRAM market due to financial woes, manufacturers like Elpida and Rexchip have taken the initiative to lower their output levels in August. Powerchip, beginning September, took a similar initiative by adjusting P3 wafer levels, whereas in the following month, Nanya and Inotera made the official announcement to implement 20% production cuts. For the South Korean DRAM manufacturers, whose cost structures appear to be superior to those of other competitors, no production cuts have been announced nor taken, although efforts to control output ratios have been intensified. At the same time that production of commodity DRAM is being lowered, an increasing amount of emphasis is being placed on the production of the more profitable mobile and server DRAMs.

Samsung and SK Hynix Ramp Up 20 nm DRAM Node Development

Korean DRAM makers Samsung and SK Hynix have each stepped up efforts to scale up production on the new 20 nanometer silicon fabrication process, to make in the mainstream DRAM manufacturing process in 2013. The two have already begun volume production of DRAM on the 20 nm process in 2012, however, 30 nm remains as the mainstream DRAM production process. By 2H-2012, the 20 nm process could take its place. The two companies will gradually shift their focus from PC DRAM to enterprise and mobile DRAM, as PC DRAM continues to reel with oversupply.

Source: DigiTimes

Exceleram Announces New Memory Modules and 8GB Dual Kits with Hynix CFR Chips

Exceleram announced some new memory modules and 8 GB dual channel kits with Hynix CFR chips. "Our new "X Series" is now ready," said Mr. Kent Lee, Marketing Director, Exceleram. Following is the Overview of the X Series with the Hynix CFR Chips:
  • E30106X 2GB (1x2GB) 1333MHz, CL9, 1.5V, w/o Heatsink
  • E30112X 4GB (1x4GB) 1333MHz, CL9, 1.5V, w/o Heatsink
  • E30149X 4GB (1x4GB) 1600MHz, CL11, 1.5V, w/o Heatsink
  • E30146X 4GB (1x4GB) 1600MHz, CL9, 1.5V, w/o Heatsink
  • E30150X 4GB (1x4GB) 1866MHz, CL9, 1.65V, w/o Heatsink
  • E30138X 8GB (2x4GB) 1866MHz, CL9. 1.65V, Black Sark Heatsink

Intellectual Ventures Resolves Patent Disputes with SK Hynix and Elpida

Intellectual Ventures (IV) announced today that it has reached settlement agreements with SK hynix Inc. and Elpida Memory, Inc. and resolved all pending patent infringement litigation with both companies.

"Intellectual Ventures has reached amicable settlements with both SK hynix and Elpida in the three patent infringement actions we filed against the companies over the past two years," said Melissa Finocchio, vice president and chief litigation counsel for Intellectual Ventures. "IV has built a world-class portfolio of semiconductor patents, and our preference is to sign license agreements and form productive, long-standing relationships with innovative companies rather than to litigate."

Rambus Receives Decision in SK Hynix Case

Rambus Inc., one of the world's premier technology licensing companies, today announced that the judge for the Northern District of California (NDCA) has issued his decision in the matter with SK Hynix. The Honorable Ronald M. Whyte has found that the Rambus patents in this case are valid and infringed by SK Hynix and Rambus is entitled to receive royalty payments for past infringement based on reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) rates.

"This is a positive result as it is consistent with what we've been seeking all along - reasonable compensation for the use of our patented inventions," said Thomas Lavelle, senior vice president and general counsel at Rambus. "We appreciate the Court's extensive efforts in working through years of complex arguments. While this decision does not provide SK Hynix with a going-forward license, we are hopeful it will lead to putting this matter behind us completely and allow us to reach reasonable agreements."

SK Hynix Introduces DDR3L-Reduced Standby for Mobile Solutions

SK Hynix announced that it has introduced DDR3L-RS (Reduced Standby) DRAM for mobile solutions using its 20nm class technology. This product significantly reduces the standby power consumption.

By using cutting-edge 20nm class technology and efficiently managing standby current, this DDR3L-RS product reduces 70% of standby power compared to existing DDR3L DRAM while it maintains DDR3L performance. DDR3L DRAM which has recently gone mainstream works at 1.35V, while DDR3 DRAM does at 1.5V.

Strontium Technology Announces Hawk SSD Series

Strontium Technology has announced a new series of high-performance solid state drives (SSDs) named HAWK. These Hynix-built solid state drives with Strontium branding are based on SandForce’s SF2281 controller and SK Hynix Flash. These drives are said to be a good upgrade option featuring 500MB/s of read and write performance and also claim to offer faster performance for PCs and Macs. Needless to say, SSDs feature enhanced durability, shock-proof, silent operation and are more reliable as compared to traditional hard drives.

The 2.5-inch HAWK drive is available in 120GB and 240GB storage capacities. The sequential (256KB, MAX) read speed is 510 MB/s and write speed is 470 MB/s. The random (4KB, MAX) performance is 50,000 IOPS read and 38,000 IOPS write. It comes with support for SATA I/ II/ III interface, TRIM Support (O/S support required) and has a Mean Time between Failures (MBTF) of 1.2M. Strontium HAWK SSD has been designed to offer quicker boot up and shorter lead time in the loading of applications to enhance productivity.

SK Hynix to Launch Client-side SSD in the US

SK Hynix announced its launch of client SSD (Solid State Drive). The SSD features faster speed and low power consumption than HDD (Hard Disk Drive) so it is expected to replace the HDD as another type of storage for PCs and other applications.

The first ever SK Hynix’s client 2.5” SSD consists of ONFI synchronous NAND Flash memory using 20nm class process and densities of 128GB (Gigabyte) and 256GB are available. It significantly improves the speed and reliability by adopting SATA III interface with data transmissions at 6Gb/s (Gigabits per second). This high performance SSD generates sequential read speeds of 510MB/s (Megabytes per second) and sequential write speeds of 470MB/s. It is three or four times faster than the traditional HDD.

SSD Prices in Free-Fall: The Next DRAM?

Hard drive prices refuse to budge after last year's floods that struck manufacturing facilities in Thailand, even as manufacturers turn record profit. The solid-state drive market, on the other hand, is finally rolling with competition, high volume production, and advancements in NAND flash technologies. With memory majors such as Hynix adding new NAND flash manufacturing facilities to their infrastructure, SSD is expected to finally get its big break in the mainstream market.

SSD prices, according to price aggregators, are on a free-fall. Models which once held relative pricing as high as $2 per gigabyte, and going deep within the $1 mark. For example, Crucial's widely-praised M4 256 GB SSD has a price per GB of 'just' $0.82, and a market price around $200, something unheard of, for a 256 GB SSD with transfer rates of over 500 MB/s. With SSD major OCZ Technology releasing new generations of drives under the Vertex 4 and Agility 4 series that use Indilinx processors, older Vertex 3 and Agility 3 models are being phased out, some of these are seeing sub $1/GB prices. Intel is also responding to market trends, with prices of its SSD 520 series dropping sharply. Find a boat-load of stats at the source.

Source: The TechReport

SK Hynix to Acquire Link_A_Media Devices

SK hynix Inc. (‘SK hynix’ or ‘the Company’) announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire California-based storage solution company Link_A_Media Devices Corporation (‘LAMD’). LAMD, founded in 2004, is a leader in the development of semiconductor system-on-chip (SoC) solutions for the data storage market. These SoC solutions, also called controllers, interface with processors to significantly increase the speed and reliability of Flash memory. Upon completion of the acquisition, LAMD will join SK hynix as a business unit focused on customized NAND based solutions.

As various mobile applications such as smartphones and tablet PCs are being rapidly adopted and cloud computing grows in popularity, the NAND Flash market has been evolving from raw NAND memory solutions for USB and memory cards to value-added products equipped with controllers. The role of the NAND controller in premium products such as e-MMC (embedded Multi Media Card) and SSDs (Solid State Drives) has become increasingly important to meet the high memory densities and improved interface speeds required by end users.
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