Friday, December 4th 2020

1 Hour Power Outage at Micron Manufacturing Plant Could Mean Increased DRAM Prices Throughout 2021

Semiconductor manufacturing is a risky business. Not only is it heavily capital-intensive, which means that even some state-backed would-be players can fail in pooling together the required resources for an industry break-in; but the entire nature of the manufacturing process is a delicate balance of materials, nearly-endless fabrication, cleanup, and QA testing. Wafer manufacturing can take months between the initial fabrication stages through to the final packaging process; and this means that power outages or material contamination can jeopardize an outrageous number of in-fabrication semiconductors.

Recent news as covered by DigiTimes place one of Micron's fabrication plants in Taiwan as being hit with a 1-hour long power outage, which can potentially affect 10% of the entire predictable DRAM supply for the coming months (a power outage affects every step of the manufacturing process). Considering the increased demand for DRAM components due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated demand for DRAM-inside products such as PCs, DIY DRAM, laptops, and tablets, industry players are now expecting a price hike for DRAM throughout 2021 until this sudden supply constraint is dealt with. As we know, DRAM manufacturers and resellers are a fickle bunch when it comes to increasing prices in even the slightest, dream-like hint of reduced supply. It remains to be seen how much of this 10% DRAM supply is actually salvageable, but projecting from past experience, a price hike seems to be all but guaranteed.
Sources: DigiTimes, via reddit
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86 Comments on 1 Hour Power Outage at Micron Manufacturing Plant Could Mean Increased DRAM Prices Throughout 2021

#2
ZoneDymo
scalpers flipped the switch!
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#3
ratirt
This is ridiculous. They are not even trying to look for decent excuse.
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#4
Calmmo
lmao, like clockwork.
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#5
pjl321
When these companies are so big and we are talking about such massive amounts of money when things go wrong (which they seem to regularly too), why on earth don't they have a giant Tesla Powerwall like the Hornsdale Power Reserve in South Australia? It would cost next to nothing compared to these losses and could run them for a good few hours if it needs to.
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#6
puma99dk|
This sucks and not RTX 30 series cards will properly increase more in price :banghead:
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#7
renz496
muahahaha.....

2020: worse year to build a new PC despite all exciting new hardware
2021: hold my beer....
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#8
randomUser
I'm pretty sure they saved all their work before flipping the switch.

First of all, DRAM prices would have never gone so low if demand was as high as article implies.
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#9
windwhirl
pjl321When these companies are so big and we are talking about such massive amounts of money when things go wrong (which they seem to regularly too), why on earth don't they have a giant Tesla Powerwall like the Hornsdale Power Reserve in South Australia? It would cost next to nothing compared to these losses and could run them for a good few hours if it needs to.
I've been wondering this myself.
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#10
bonehead123
ratirtThis is ridiculous. They are not even trying to look for decent excuse.
Maybe even say that an employee flicked a lit cig into the shrubs over near the smoking area, or some eco-terrorist set off a mini-C4 bomb near the power mains or some other silly sh^t like that....

Even these things would be somewhat believable, but a 1 hour outage wreaking havoc on the entire plant..... haven't any of these mfgr's ever heard of back-up power supplies/UPS/ATS, I mean WTF ????
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#11
Chomiq
Nvidia: "Shortages Partly Caused by Insufficient Wafer, Substrate and Component Supply"
Micron: *FLIP*
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#12
Caring1
Could mean a price increase, or it could mean a slight drop in profits.
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#14
hurakura
Using the same story/lie again. They couldn't come up with something new and original.
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#16
_JP_
Early celebrations of the Earth Hour is a stupid excuse to raise prices...
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#17
Dammeron
Well, I guess nature was not kind enough to cause flood, or fire, so they resorted to dirty human work.

Whatever the reason, it's the result that counts.
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#18
Chrispy_
Regular DDR4 DRAM is dirt-cheap at the moment.

And I'm not sure where the shortages are coming from because laptop manufacturers are still being exceptionally rubbish in providing the option to even buy anything with more than 8GB. So many laptops claim to have a 16GB option but that's limited to a few regions, and tends to be spec-locked to specific models of storage and CPU choice that makes it a terrible value - eg, you can buy a i5/8GB/256GB model for $700 but if you want 16GB you are forced to spend $1200 for an i7 you don't need or want and usually battery-killing pointless extras like a 4K screen.

Where is all this commodity DRAM going if it's not into laptops? Phones can't be the only answer and additionally, COVID hasn't changed the demand for phones at all.
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#19
TechLurker
pjl321When these companies are so big and we are talking about such massive amounts of money when things go wrong (which they seem to regularly too), why on earth don't they have a giant Tesla Powerwall like the Hornsdale Power Reserve in South Australia? It would cost next to nothing compared to these losses and could run them for a good few hours if it needs to.
Because then they won't even have the excuse to explain why they decided to just increase their pricing for a year. 1 accidental or deliberate brownout every few years is enough to temporarily raise pricing. Spending that sum on a battery or fossil-fuel backup just isn't worth the free price increase with every brownout.
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#20
Legacy-ZA
pjl321When these companies are so big and we are talking about such massive amounts of money when things go wrong (which they seem to regularly too), why on earth don't they have a giant Tesla Powerwall like the Hornsdale Power Reserve in South Australia? It would cost next to nothing compared to these losses and could run them for a good few hours if it needs to.
Exactly.

But now you know; they are planned to raise prices, as if people can just keep paying more forever, what a bunch of idiots really.
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#21
Bones
hurakuraUsing the same story/lie again. They couldn't come up with something new and original.
Uhhh...... Lunch break anyone?
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#23
mechtech
Hmmmm. I could have sworn reading nand and dram demand dropping for late 2020-2021 and prices dropping. Perhaps buy now and sit on it until other parts are cheaper and available??
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#24
XL-R8R
If one hour can wreck your entire business model, its probably time to rethink being in business to begin with?
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#25
_JP_
XL-R8RIf one hour can wreck your entire business model, its probably time to rethink being in business to begin with?
Being profit-driven, I'd say it's really well thought-out since they can get away with stuff like this.
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