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Raspberry Pi 4 Gets Upgraded to 8 GB, Priced at $75

Raspberry Pi 4 is almost a year old, and it's been a busy year. We've sold nearly 3 million units, shipped a couple of minor board revisions, and reduced the price of the 2 GB variant from $45 to $35. On the software side, we've done enormous amounts of work to reduce the idle and loaded power consumption of the device, passed OpenGL ES 3.1 conformance, started work on a Vulkan driver, and shipped PXE network boot mode and a prototype of USB mass storage boot mode - all this alongside the usual round of bug fixes, feature additions, and kernel version bumps.

While we launched with 1 GB, 2 GB and 4 GB variants, even at that point we had our eye on the possibility of an 8 GB Raspberry Pi 4. We were so enthusiastic about the idea that the non-existent product made its way into both the Beginner's Guide and the compliance leaflet. The BCM2711 chip that we use on Raspberry Pi 4 can address up to 16 GB of LPDDR4 SDRAM, so the real barrier to our offering a larger-memory variant was the lack of an 8 GB LPDDR4 package. These didn't exist (at least in a form that we could address) in 2019, but happily our partners at Micron stepped up earlier this year with a suitable part. And so, today, we're delighted to announce the immediate availability of the 8 GB Raspberry Pi 4, priced at just $75.

NAND Flash Revenue Undergoes 8.3% QoQ Growth in 1Q20 in Light of Surging Demand from Data Centers, Says TrendForce

According to the latest investigations by the DRAMeXchange research division of TrendForce, NAND Flash bit shipment in 1Q20 was relatively on par with 4Q19. The overall ASP of NAND Flash products also climbed during the period. As a result, the global NAND Flash revenue for the quarter went up by 8.3% QoQ to US$13.6 billion.

In 1Q20, demand for enterprise SSDs exceeded supply because cloud service providers' procurement for data centers had been growing progressively since 4Q19. Also, inventories of NAND Flash suppliers mostly returned to normal during the period. Consequently, most NAND Flash products for the major applications experienced a rise in contract prices. As for the impact of COVID-19 during the Lunar New Year, TrendForce's investigations at the time found that the server supply chain managed to make a better recovery than the supply chains for notebook computers and smartphones. The impact of the outbreak on the storage demand from the cloud services sector was thus quite limited. On the other hand, the production of notebooks and smartphones was affected by logistical problems and breakage in the component supply chain. Because of this, notebook and smartphone manufacturers have gradually resumed production since March.

Teledyne e2v Introduces First Radiation-Tolerant DDR4 Memory for Space Applications

Teledyne e2v has announced the DDR4T04G72M - the first radiation-tolerant DDR4 memory chip, featuring a total 4 GB capacity. Currently validated at 2133 MT/s, and targeting to offer 2400MT/s in the near future, this next-generation solution offers ultra-responsive low latency operation, while fitting into a highly compact form factor. Furthermore, high-reliability manufacturing and radiation-tolerant robustness makes it highly suitable for dealing with the rigors of space environments.

With 15 mm x 20 mm x 1.92 mm dimensions, this new space-grade device comprises an array of Micron based memory chips, integrated in a single package. It features a 72-bit bus, where 64 bits are dedicated to data and 8 bits to error correction code (ECC). Radiation tests have been performed on these memory chips and a single event effects (SEE) report is available from Teledyne e2v. In particular, the memory has been demonstrated to be single event latch-up (SEL) free up to 60+ MeV.cm²/mg.

Micron Delivers Client NVMe Performance and Value SSDs With Industry-Leading Capacity Sizes and QLC NAND

Micron Technology, Inc., today announced new client solid-state drives (SSDs) that bring NVMe performance to client computing applications, freeing laptops, workstations and other portables from legacy architectures that can rob devices of battery power, performance and productivity. The Micron 2300 SSD combines the power and density needed to drive compute-heavy applications in a compact form factor with the reduced power consumption modern mobile users demand. For the first time, Micron brings together NVMe performance and low-cost quad-level-cell (QLC) NAND in the Micron 2210 QLC SSD. It combines fast NVMe throughput and Micron's leadership in QLC technology to offer flash capabilities at hard disk drive-like price points while reducing power consumption by 15 times when compared to hard drives.
Micron 2300 NVMe SSD

Micron Increasing Production Capability of DDR4 DRAM in 1z nm Nodes

A report via DigiTimes, citing "sources familiar with the matter", claims that Micron is ramping up production of its 1z nm nodes for DDR4 manufacturing. As the latest fabrication technology available for the DDR market, 1z nm refers to silicon manufacturing in the 12-14 nm ranges, which is the currently densest available process in the high volume manufacturing space. Micron's other fabrication technology, 1y nm (referring to manufacturing in the 14 - 16 nm range), is also seeing increased manufacturing orders as market requirements for DDR volume are only bound to increase in the foreseeable future.

Micron's ramp-up of 1z nm makes sense, as DDR4 will continue to make-up the overwhelming majority of memory needs for the market until DDR5 fully comes online - and even then, volume requirements will take a while to achieve anything that's compared to today's flow of DDR4. Micron is likely banking on increased experience on the 1z nm nodes to launch its early DDR5 products, which will exclusively use that manufacturing technology. Manufacturing increases are being reported to be mostly related to 16 Gb DRAM modules (for the desktop and laptop spaces).

Intel Ready with 144-layer 3D NAND On its Own, Talks 4-layer 3DXP, "Alder Stream" and "Keystone Harbor"

Intel's memory and storage products division now has a completely independent NAND flash technology development team post its split with Micron Technology, with which it was part of the IMFlash Technologies joint-venture. Intel is close to gaining a technological lead over Micron with a new 144-layer 3D NAND flash chip which will ship roughly around the time Micron begins pushing out its 128-layer 3D NAND chips. SK Hynix will begin shipping its 128-layer 3D NAND flash chips later this year. KIOXIA will put out 112-layer chips before the turn of the year. YMTC is developing its portfolio at a breakneck pace.

The 144-layer 3D NAND flash chip by Intel can handle up to four bits per cell (QLC), and can be configured to function as TLC or SLC, at lower densities. Intel will launch its first SSD based on this 144-layer QLC NAND flash chip, codenamed "Keystone Harbor," later this year. Development is underway at Intel for PLC (5 bits per cell) technology, which should drive up densities by 25 percent. Intel is also close to launching its second generation 3D X-point memory technology.

Micron Unveils World's First Open-Source Storage Engine Designed for SSDs and Storage Class Memory

Micron Technology, today announced the first open-source, heterogeneous-memory storage engine (HSE), designed specifically for solid-state drives (SSDs) and storage-class memory (SCM). Legacy storage engines born in the era of hard disk drives (HDDs) failed to architecturally provide for the increased performance and reduced latency of next-generation nonvolatile media. HSE, originally developed by Micron and now available to the open-source community, is ideal for developers using all-flash infrastructure who require the benefits of open-source software, including the ability to customize or enhance code for their unique use cases.

"As the only company developing storage class memory, flash and DRAM technologies, Micron is uniquely positioned to build a software stack that accelerates applications running in today's flash-based storage environments as well as storage class memory-based infrastructure of the future," said Derek Dicker, corporate vice president and general manager of the Storage Business Unit at Micron. "We have delivered a first-of-its-kind innovation for open-source storage developers, unlocking the full potential of high-performance storage applications."

Micron's Low-Power DDR5 DRAM Boosts Performance and Consumer Experience of Motorola's New Flagship Edge+ Smartphone

Micron Technology, Inc., together with Motorola, today announced integration of Micron's low-power DDR5 (LPDDR5) DRAM into Motorola's new motorola edge+ smartphone, bringing the full potential of the 5G experience to consumers. Micron and Motorola worked in close collaboration to enable the edge+ to reach 5G network speeds that require maximum processing power coupled with high bandwidth memory and storage.

With 12 gigabytes (GB) of industry-leading Micron LPDDR5 DRAM memory, motorola edge+ delivers a smooth, lag-free consumer experience. The new phone takes advantage of the faster data speeds and lower latency of 5G to increase the performance of cloud-based applications such as gaming and streaming entertainment.
Motorola Edge+

YMTC to Supply NAND Flash Chips to Lexar

Mainland Chinese semiconductor firm Yangtze Memory Technologies Co (YMTC), has reportedly struck a NAND flash memory chip supply deal with popular solid-state storage products brand Lexar, which specializes in SSDs, memory cards, and USB flash drives; and more importantly, enjoys a prominent market presence in the West. Micron Technology had, in 2017, sold the Lexar brand to Longsys, a Chinese electronics conglomerate. YMTC's first products sold to Lexar will be a 512 Gbit 128-layer 3D QLC NAND flash memory chip for Lexar's nCard line of microSDXC cards, which ships in 64 GB, 128 GB, and 256 GB densities, offering transfer speeds of up to 90 MB/s reads, with up to 70 MB/s writes.

Micron Unveils New 5210 ION Data-center SSD Based on QLC NAND Flash

Micron Technology, Inc., today announced new Micron 5210 ION enterprise SATA SSD capacity and features, solidifying Micron's leadership in QLC technology volume production. The world's first QLC solid-state drive (SSD), the Micron 5210 is based on the company's advanced QLC NAND technology and quickly replacing legacy hard disk drives (HDDs).

From SQL and NoSQL databases to big data and analytics, object stores and vSAN capacity tiers, customers are now reaping the benefits of NAND flash on performance-sensitive workloads that used to live on HDDs. Rapidly supplanting 10K HDDs, the Micron 5210 delivers 175 times faster random reads, 30 times faster random writes, two times more sequential throughput, and three times more energy efficiency than the largest 10K RPM HDDs - all at a compelling price point.

Micron to Launch HBM2 Memory This Year

Micron Technologies, in the latest earnings report, announced that they will start shipping High-Bandwidth Memory 2 (HBM2) DRAM. Used for high-performance graphics cards, server processors and all kinds of processors, HBM2 memory is wanted and relatively expensive solution, however, when Micron enters the market of its manufacturing, prices, and the market should adjust for the new player. Previously, only SK-Hynix and Samsung were manufacturing the HBM2 DRAM, however, Micron will join them and they will again form a "big-three" pact that dominates the memory market.

Up until now, Micron used to lay all hopes on its proprietary Hybrid Memory Cube (HMC) DRAM type, which didn't gain much traction from customers and it never really took off. Only a few rare products used it, as Fujitsu SPARC64 XIfx CPU used in Fujitsu PRIMEHPC FX100 supercomputer introduced in 2015. Micron announced to suspend works on HMC in 2018 and decided to devote their efforts to GDDR6 and HBM development. So, as a result, we are seeing that they will launch HBM2 DRAM products sometime this year.
Micron HMC High-Bandwidth Memory

Intel and Micron Sign New Agreement for 3D XPoint Shipment

Intel and Micron have signed a new agreement for the production of 3D XPoint memory. As currently the only source of 3D XPoint memory solutions, Micron will get a significant increase in cash flow coming from Intel for the memory production. While Intel and Micron ended their partnership on 3D XPoint memory, they have signed a new contract for the production and supply of new 3D XPoint wafers to Intel. This shows that the demand for 3D XPoint memory is strong, so Intel needs production capacity to deliver the memory, and Micron is the obvious choice.

Previously, Intel sold its ownership of Lehi fab based in Utah, which was manufacturing the 3D XPoint memory solutions, so it was left to Micron to use. However, they signed a new deal and now Micron is in charge of manufacturing and addressing the supply issues for Intel's future Optane products. The new agreement comes with changed pricing and forecast of the sales, so Intel is likely paying more cash to Micron this time.
Intel 3D XPoint

As Stock Markets Tank Near Double-Digits, Tech Stocks Tank With Them

Stock markets around the world are experiencing a spectacular crash riding on COVID-19 investor fears, wiping out trillions of Dollars in investor wealth worldwide. Prominent indices around the world report some of the highest intra-day falls since the 2008 financial crisis. Tech stocks are hardly immune, with AMD reporting a 14.64% fall in share price settling down at 39.01 (it was over 48 right after the company's 2020 Financial Analyst Day just last week). NVIDIA is another big loser at the markets, with a 12.24% fall and 216.31 share price. Intel is right behind, with a 11.85% fall down to 45.54, and Micron Technology down 11.23% at 38.81.

Micron Samples the Industry's First uMCP Product With LPDDR5 to Increase Performance and Battery Life in 5G Smartphones

Micron Technology, Inc., today announced it began sampling the industry's first universal flash storage (UFS) multichip package (uMCP) with low-power DDR5 (LPDDR5) DRAM. The uMCP provides high-density and low-power storage designed to fit on slim and compact midrange smartphone designs.

Micron's new uMCP5 packaging builds on the company's innovation and leadership in multichip form factors. Micron uMCPs combine low-power DRAM with NAND and an onboard controller, using 40% less space compared to a two-chip solution. This optimized configuration saves power, reduces memory footprint and enables smaller and more agile smartphone designs.
RAM Production

Driven by Strong Demand from Data Center Clients, 4Q19 NAND Flash Revenue Grows 8.5%, Says TrendForce

According to the DRAMeXchange research division of TrendForce, 4Q19 NAND flash bit shipment increased by nearly 10% QoQ thanks to demand growth from data center clients. On the supply side, contract prices made a successful rebound due to shortages caused by the power outage at Kioxia's Yokkaichi production base in June. In sum, 4Q19 NAND flash revenue reached $12.5 billion, an 8.5% increase QoQ.

The stronger-than-expected 4Q19 performance from the demand side helped improve supplier inventory back to normal levels. In response, NAND suppliers were able to reduce their allocations to the wafer market and instead focus on shipping products with comparatively higher margins.

Quick Look: Hawk Security S-Drive

Continuing our quick look series, this time we cover a product that came to us after our article on portable encrypted storage was published. That very article came about from two companies asking us if we would be interested in checking out their products, and when a startup company formed by Russians who specialize in data protection and embedded security asks you the same, you answer yes! Hawk Security was set up in 2018, and is actually based out of Hong Kong now, and offers data encryption solutions with military-grade encryption standards. They sent out their S-Drive, a portable solution with a 3D NAND-based memory and certification galore, with performance and privacy as the selling point.

The Hawk Security S-Drive ships in a thick cardboard box with a two-piece packaging, with aptly named security seals on the sides. The inner box slides out to reveal a premium unboxing experience with thick foam cut to shape, which in turn houses the user manual, the drive, and the connecting cable itself. The manual is handy for not only knowing the locking and unlocking procedures for this encrypted drive, but also the default password for using it the first time. The cable terminates in a standard USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type A connector on one end, but a 10-pin USB 3.1 Gen 1 Micro Type B super-speed connector on the other to help make the most of connection speeds. This means backwards compatibility with USB 2.0 ports is restricted to USB ports/hubs that provide enough power only, so keep that in mind. Read past the break for more on the drive.

Micron Ships World's First LPDDR5 DRAM for High-Performance Smartphones

Micron Technology, Inc., today announced it has shipped the world's first low-power DDR5 DRAM in mass production to be used in the soon-to-be-released Xiaomi Mi 10 smartphone. As Xiaomi's memory technology partner, Micron provides LPDDR5 DRAM with superior power efficiency and faster data access speeds to meet growing consumer demand for artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G functionality in smartphones.

"Micron's leadership in delivering the industry's first low-power DDR5 DRAM for use in a smartphone will accelerate enablement of 5G and AI applications," said Dr. Raj Talluri, senior vice president and general manager of the Mobile Business Unit at Micron. "Our customers and partners require next-generation memory solutions, based on the latest process technology, that drive unmatched power and performance to support 5G and AI systems. Micron's LPDDR5 DRAM addresses those requirements with a 50% increase in data access speeds and more than 20% power efficiency compared to previous generations."

"We value Micron's long-standing leadership and innovation in memory," said Chang Cheng, vice president at Xiaomi Group. "Micron's LPDDR5 DRAM market-leading features ensure our Xiaomi Mi 10 smartphone will remain power-efficient while still offering incredible performance and greater stability. We believe LPDDR5 will be the standard configuration for all flagship devices in 2020."

Micron Start Sampling DDR5 RDIMMs

Micron has today announced that it started sampling RDIMMs based on DDR5 technology to its industry partners. Designed for server operations, these DDR5 modules come in RDIMM form-factor and feature Error-Correcting Code (ECC) technology for removing any error that occurs inside electronic circuits. The new DDR5 standard offers a massive performance uplift compared to the previous generation of DDR4 memory. For starters, DDR5 will double the MT/s transfer rate to 6400 MT/s, double the speed of the original 3200 MT/s speed for DDR4 that was established by JEDEC. The bandwidth of the new DDR memory is supposed to be 32 GB/s, which is 25% faster than the original 25.6 GB/s bandwidth of DDR4.

With DDR5, the SDRAM prefetch buffer data size is being doubled to 16 data words per memory access, making for a 16n prefetching throughput. Another improvement is that the highest possible density for DDR5 chips is now being up to 64 Gb per chip. Additionally, DDR5 is supposed to bring the power needed for chip operation down to 1.1 volts, which is around 8% lower than what DDR4 achieved. There are also features like MIR (Mirror Pin) which provides better DIMM signaling, and more options for PRECHARGE and REFRESH commands that can now operate on a per bank basis, so specific banks can be refreshed in bank group. It is also worth pointing out that DDR5 chips are manufactured using 1znm memory manufacturing process.

NAND Flash Prices to Rise up to 40% in 2020

According to the sources over at DigiTimes, NAND flash prices are set to rise by up to 40% in 2020. This report is coming from sources over at memory chipmakers, presumably some of the biggest players like SK Hynix, Micron, and Samsung. If the prediction realizes, consumers will see a significant price jump for products based on NAND flash memory like most of today's solid-state drives. For reference, earlier today we also reported that a minute long power outage at Samsung created damage worth millions of Dollars in DRAM and NAND flash memory.

This incident alone could help contribute to the price rise of NAND memory in 2020. Other possible reasons may include an inefficient supply of materials used by NAND flash production lines or a simple supply-demand ratio, which would hurt prices of NAND flash long-therm. However, we hope that the underlying problems for this predicted price rise can be worked out and that companies like Samsung, which got power outage accident, can supplement the capacity loss during the unplanned turn of events.

Intel Takes the Crown of World's Largest Semiconductor Supplier in 2019

Intel is set to become the world's largest semiconductor supplier of 2019, according to the research from IC Insights. Intel held a crown for the largest semiconductor supplier since 1992, until 2018 when Samsung overtook it because of the booming DRAM business driven by high demand and not enough supply. Being Samsung's main business, any DRAM price/demand fluctuation was having a massive impact on its business. Due to high demand and high pricing, Samsung saw a massive revenue jump which resulted in a new king of the world's largest semiconductor supplier.

However, having seen predictions for a fall of 34% for this year, the decrease in demand will result in lower revenue for all DRAM market suppliers. SK Hynix, Micron and Samsung are expecting their revenues to decline around 29% on a year-over-year basis given the situation. This is resulting in lower revenue for Samsung than Intel has, and makes Intel the king of semiconductors once more. Intel's revenue is expected to reach around 70 billion USD, which is similar to last year's numbers.

Micron Memory Sets New DDR4 Overclocking World Record

Ballistix, Micron's global brand of high-performance gaming memory, has set a new overclocking world record for the fastest DDR4 memory frequency at 6024 MT/s. Leveraging performance-tuned Micron die and the innovation behind the new Ballistix Elite 4000 memory, the ASUS motherboard R&D team set the record using liquid nitrogen (LN2) cooling and the following system setup: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X processor; ASUS X570 ROG CROSSHAIR VIII IMPACT motherboard; Ballistix Elite DDR4 4000 8 GB memory.

"We're thrilled to have partnered with Ballistix to achieve this new world record," said Albert Chang, general manager of the motherboard BU for ASUS. "Both overclocking teams worked tirelessly to fine-tune BIOS settings on our newly-released ROG CROSSHAIR VIII IMPACT board to unleash the capabilities of the Micron die. Setting the new world record of 6024 MT/s with Ballistix Elite 4000 memory on our new ROG AMD X570 motherboard is a powerful demonstration of the engineering excellence ASUS ROG and Micron bring to the gaming ecosystem." The record-breaking frequency is posted on HWBOT, and the valid CPU-Z screenshot can be found here.

Micron Brings 3D XPoint Technology to Market With the World's Fastest SSD

Micron Technology, Inc., today announced a breakthrough in nonvolatile memory technology with the introduction of the world's fastest SSD, the Micron X100 SSD. The Micron X100 SSD is the first solution in a family of products from Micron targeting storage- and memory-intensive applications for the data center. These solutions will leverage the strengths of 3D XPoint technology and usher in a new tier in the memory-to-storage hierarchy with higher capacity and persistence than DRAM, along with higher endurance and performance than NAND.

"Micron's innovative X100 product brings the disruptive potential of 3D XPoint technology to the data center, driving breakthrough performance improvements for applications and enabling entirely new use cases," said Micron Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer Sumit Sadana. "Micron is the only vertically-integrated provider of DRAM, NAND and 3D XPoint solutions in the world, and this product continues the evolution of our portfolio towards higher value solutions that accelerate artificial intelligence capabilities, drive faster data analytics and create new insights for our customers."

CORSAIR VENGEANCE LPX Memory Breaks 5000MHz Barrier on AMD Ryzen Processors

CORSAIR, a world leader in PC gaming peripherals and enthusiast components, today announced a new kit of its award-winning CORSAIR VENGEANCE LPX DDR4 Memory, becoming the first commercially available high-frequency DRAM to break the 5,000 MHz barrier. This record-setting Micron-based memory is available now in a 2x 8 GB kit, reaching its full potential in select MSI X570 motherboards running 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen Desktop Processors.

VENGEANCE LPX once again sets a new milestone in the world of performance memory, continuing to deliver on its long-standing tradition of excellence thanks to the partnership between CORSAIR, MSI, and AMD. The new modules have been specifically designed and fully tested to achieve their record-breaking maximum frequency of 5,000 MHz on the Ryzen 3000 platform in MSI MEG X570 GODLIKE, MSI MEG X570 ACE, MSI MEG X570 UNIFY, and PRESTIGE X570 CREATION motherboards using their included automated overclocking utilities.

Micron Tapes Out 128-layer 3D NAND Flash Memory

Micron Technology has taped out its 4th generation 3D NAND flash memory with 128 layers. This paves the way for mass production and product implementations in 2020. The 4th gen 3D NAND by Micron continues to use a CMOS-under-array design, but with Replacement Gate (RG) Technology instead of Floating Gate, which Micron and the erstwhile IMFlash Technology had been using for years. Micron is currently mass-producing 96-layer 3D NAND flash, and TLC remains the prominent data-storage physical layer despite the advent of QLC (4 bits per cell).

Micron comments that this 4th gen 128-layer 3D NAND will be a stopgap restricted to a select few applications, and may not see the kind of adoption as its current 96-layer chips. The company appears to be more focused on its evolution, possibly the 5th generation 3D NAND, which are expected to bring tangible cost-per-bit gains for the company, as it transitions to a newer silicon fabrication node, and implements even newer technologies besides RG. "We achieved our first yielding dies using replacement gate or "RG" for short. This milestone further reduces the risk for our RG transition. As a reminder, our first RG node will be 128 layers and will be used for a select set of products. We don't expect RG to deliver meaningful cost reductions until FY2021 when our second-generation RG node is broadly deployed. Consequently, we are expecting minimal cost reductions in NAND in FY2020. Our RG production deployment approach will optimize the ROI of our NAND capital investments," said Sanjay Mehrotra, CEO and president of Micron.

China Starts Production of Domestic DRAM Chips

China's semiconductor industry is seeking independence in every sector of its industry, with an emphasis of homemade products for domestic use, especially government facilities, where usage of homegrown products is most desirable. According to the report of China Securities Journal, Chinese firm has started production of DRAM memory.

A company named ChangXin Memory Technology, founded in 2016 to boost domestic silicon production, on Monday started production of DRAM memory, aiming to directly replace the current supply of foreign memory from companies like Micron, SK Hynix and Samsung. Being build using 18 nm technology which ChangXin calls "10-nanometer class" node, this DRAM chip isn't too far behind offers from competitors it tries to replace. Micron, Samsung and SK Hynix use 12, 14, and 16 nm nodes for production of their DRAM chips, so Chinese efforts so far are very good. The company promises to produce around 120.000 wafers per month and plans to deliver first chips by the end of this year.
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