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Rambus and Nanya Sign Patent License Agreement

Rambus Inc., the innovative technology solutions company, and Nanya Technology Corporation, the industry leading pure-play consumer memory company, today announced they have signed a broad five-year patent license agreement. This agreement allows for the use of certain high-performance, low-power patented innovations developed by Rambus in Nanya DRAM products and enables future technology collaboration.

Under this agreement, Rambus and Nanya have settled all outstanding claims, providing Nanya with access to certain memory-related Rambus innovations through the second quarter of 2018. Other terms of the agreement are confidential.

KingSpec 2.5 GB/s PCIe SSD Detailed

In the swarming SSD market, what better way to blast your way from obscurity to worldwide attention, than launching a ludicrously fast SSD? KingSpec unveiled the MC2J677M1T, a PCI-Express SSD that's tested to be capable of sequential speeds as high as 2.5 GB/s (gigabytes per second). Pictured below, the drive is an almost full-height add-on card with PCI-Express 2.0 x8 bus interface. The card seats a high performance SATA 6 Gb/s RAID controller by LSI (under that fan-heatsink), which is wired to eight mSATA 6 Gb/s ports, holding the eight sub-units.

The eight mSATA SSD sub-units on the MC2J677M1T each hold 120 GB of data (totaling 960 GB). Each sub-unit runs a JMicron-made controller, Intel-made MLC NAND flash, and Nanya-made DRAM cache. The LSI RAID controller is designed to be plug-and-play, i.e., the drive is bootable, and you won't need an F6 driver during Windows installation to detect the drive. A quick ATTO benchmark run by TheSSDReview, which has one of these drives, yielded sequential read speeds well past 2,500 MB/s.


Source: TheSSDReview

Lite-On Develops Strange New mSATA SSD Design for Acer

On taking apart the Acer S7 Ultrabook, The SSD Review discovered a strange new SSD form-factor, which bears the label of Lite-On, and carrying the model number "CMT-256L3M." This is perhaps the first mSATA SSD with two independent SSD subunits, one on each side. The mSATA interface itself is modified to have two SSD ports. The drive registers on the system BIOS as two individual drives, which is then run as a 256 GB (physical) RAID 0 volume by the BIOS and operating-system.

Each of the CMT-256L3M's two subunits feature a Marvell 88S9175 controller, which supports SATA 6 Gb/s interface, two 64 GB dual-channel 24 nm toggle NAND flash memory chips by Toshiba, and a Nanya-made DRAM cache chip. Putting the drive through sequential-friendly benchmarks such as CrystalDiskMark shows a sequential read speed of the drive (combined with its two subunits) to be around 877 MB/s, with sequential writes up to 672 MB/s. Multi-subunit SSDs aren't new, most high-end consumer SSDs from the pre-TRIM, pre-SandForce era used to be dual- to quad-subunit drives. The CMT-256L3M is the first one in the super-compact mSATA form-factor, and its performance numbers could impress more Ultrabook designers.


Source: The SSD Review

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.

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.

Micron Announces Its First Fully Functional DDR4 DRAM Module

Micron Technology, Inc., one of the world's leading providers of advanced semiconductor solutions, today announced development of its first fully functional DDR4 DRAM module. The company has begun sampling and has received feedback from major customers to support quick implementation for applications in 2013.

It is expected that the enterprise and micro-server markets will take full advantage of the new features and specifications designed into DDR4, accelerating early adoption of the technology. In addition, the fast-growing ultrathin client and tablet markets will also benefit from new opportunities enabled by the power savings and performance features of Micron's DDR4.

DRAM Makers Cautiously Step Up Production

2011 was a bloodbath for the DRAM industry, as overproduction led to sharp drop in prices across the board, killing profit margins, and creating huge losses for DRAM makers. In Q4 2011, Elpida and Nanya cut back their production to prevent further drops in DRAM prices. As prices are now slowly stabilizing, DRAM makers are considering stepping up production cautiously, till "normalcy" in DRAM prices can be achieved.

DRAM makers cumulatively increased production by 100,000 wafers in Q1 2012, according to sources. These companies are walking a tight rope between ensuring they don't dampen demand, while ensuring they don't face further losses. This month, DRAM contact prices have gone up as PC OEMs placed fresh orders to replenish their memory inventories. The prices have reportedly gone up by 6% so far in this month. Meanwhile, the global supply of DRAM is expected to grow by 30% in 2012.

Source: DigiTimes, Image Courtesy: Tom's Hardware

Micron to Buy US $500M Worth Elpida Shares

Idaho-based Micron Technology is reportedly going to spend at least US $500 million in purchasing a stake in its Japanese rival, Elpida, according to a Economic Daily News report. This development closely follows reports of an equity tie-up between the two companies, with a decision emerging in February.

Taiwanese Nanya Technology and Inotera Memories stated in recent reports that DRAM makers should consider uniting their operations as such moves could contribute to the industry's sustainable development. Elpida refused to comment on this latest report. What does this mean to the consumer? The year 2011 has been a bloodbath for DRAM makers as overproduction led to drastic drops in PC memory prices, and a watershed for PC consumers as a result. These latest developments could contribute to the inevitable rebound of DRAM prices in 2012.Source: DigiTimes

Micron, Elpida and Nanya Reportedly Having Merger Talks

According to a Japanese newspaper (Yomiuri), the country's last DRAM manufacturer, Elpida Memory, is fishing for a merger with two other memory companies, US-based Micron Technology and Taiwan's own Nanya Technology.

If it will go through, the merger would create a company better positioned in the memory market, and more capable of fighting South Korean companies like Samsung Electronics and Hynix Semiconductor.

While the company didn't comment on the merger talks, Elpida's President Yukio Sakamoto is said to have made a trip to the US last week to further negotiations with Micron. It's still uncertain how advanced are the talks but a deal could be signed this year.Source: Reuters

EU Slaps Chip Vendors with Penalties for Price-Fixing

As many as nine major chip vendors were fined a total of 331 million Euros (US $404.2 million) for participating in illegal price-fixing activities, by the European Union authorities. These include Samsung, Hynix, Nanya, Elpida, Infineon, NEC, Toshiba, Hitachi, and Mitsubishi. A 10th company in this price-fixing cartel was Micron Technology, which escaped the fine for exposing the malpractice to the EU authorities. Of these Samsung was given the single biggest fine of 146 million Euros, followed by Infineon at 57 million Euros. The fines were reduced by 10% because all companies extended cooperation in the investigations.

The price-fixing cartel mostly involved bad trade of DRAM chips, and was active between 1998 and 2002, operating with a network of contacts which secretly exchanged pricing information. They colluded to fix prices of DRAM chips sold to major PC and server manufacturers. Investigations in the scam began in 2002 when Micron blew the whistle on the cartel. "By acknowledging their participation in a cartel the companies have allowed the Commission to bring this long-running investigation to a close and to free up resources to investigate other suspected cartels," said EU's Competition Commissioner, Joaquin Almunia. "As the procedure is applied to new cases it is expected to speed up investigations significantly," he added.Source: BBC News

Micron and Nanya Develop Low-Power DDR2 for Mobile Applications

Micron Technology and Nanya Technology Corporation, today announced that they have jointly developed low-power DDR2 (LPDDR2) DRAM technology for mobile and consumer applications with initial die densities up to 1Gb. Developed through the companies’ DRAM joint development program (JDP), the LPDDR2 is designed to operate at 1.2-volts, providing as much as a 50-percent power reduction when compared to LPDDR1.
“LPDDR2 DRAM is important for the design of today’s mobile applications, prolonging a device’s battery life with its low-power consumption and improvement of overall system performance compared to low-power DDR1,” said John Schreck, vice president of DRAM design at Micron. “Development of this high-performing LPDDR2 is credit to the swift progress in technology design that we have achieved through our JDP with Nanya. We look forward to growing our relationship with Nanya, continuing to bring industry-leading DRAM design to our customer base.”

Nanya Rolls Out 800MHz RDIMM to Support the new 45nm Quad-Core AMD Opteron Processors

Nanya Technology Corporation, one of the worldwide leading DRAM manufacturers, today announced it is shipping 800MHz DDR2 registered dual in-line memory module (RDIMM) designed specifically for the new Quad-Core AMD Opteron processor, to help optimize performance of high-end server systems and workstation applications.
“Nanya worked closely with AMD on the launch of the Quad-Core AMD Opteron processor (codenamed “Shanghai”) to ensure that Nanya DDR2 800 RDIMM would take advantage of the dramatic enhancements in energy efficiency and performance enabled by the new Quad-Core AMD Opteron processors,” said Dr. Pei Lin Pai, Vice President of Global Sales & Marketing and Spokesman of Nanya Technology Corporation.

Micron Strengthens its Partnership with Nanya, Acquires 35.6% of Inotera Memories

Micron Technology today announced that it is expanding its partnership with Nanya Technology Corporation and signing a definitive agreement to acquire Qimonda AG’s 35.6 percent ownership stake in Inotera Memories, a leading Taiwanese DRAM memory manufacturer, for $400 million in cash. To help fund the purchase price, Micron has obtained $285 million in term loan financing commitments from strategic sources at favorable terms.

Micron and Nanya Sign Agreement to Create Memory Technology Joint Venture

Micron Technology and Nanya Technology Corporation announced today that the two companies have signed an agreement to create MeiYa Technology Corporation, a new DRAM joint venture. The partnership will leverage both Micron and Nanya’s manufacturing technology, strengths and experience. As part of the joint venture, a 200 millimeter (mm) Nanya manufacturing facility in Taiwan will be upgraded to industry-leading 300mm technology starting this year, with the facility coming online for production in 2009. In addition to MeiYa, the parties will jointly develop and share future technology.

Micron and Nanya Sign Joint Development Partnership

Micron Technology, one of the world's leading providers of advanced semiconductor solutions, and Nanya Technology Corporation, a global leader in advanced memory semiconductors, jointly announced today that the two companies signed a memorandum of understanding to explore potential technology sharing, joint technology development and development of a new joint venture. A joint development program for DRAM development and design would be created and focus on sub-50 nanometer technologies. Definitive agreements are expected to be signed in the next few months.
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