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Micron Technology Reports Results for the First Quarter of Fiscal 2021

Micron Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq: MU) today announced results for its first quarter of fiscal 2021, which ended Dec. 3, 2020. "Micron delivered outstanding fiscal first quarter results, driven by focused execution and strong end-market demand," said Micron Technology President and CEO Sanjay Mehrotra. "We are excited about the strengthening DRAM industry fundamentals. For the first time in our history, Micron is simultaneously leading on DRAM and NAND technologies, and we are in an excellent position to benefit from accelerating digital transformation of the global economy fueled by AI, 5G, cloud, and the intelligent edge."

Foresee Announces High-Stability eMMC Solutions

Embedded storage has gradually matured over its years of development. However, as technology has developed, market demands towards the stability of embedded storage products has also increased. Only by improving their products and technologies and pushing the boundaries of technology can storage enterprises weather the storm of the rapidly changing market.

In 2020, FORESEE, Longsys' embedded storage brand, launched a compact eMMC packaged in BGA 153, with dimensions of only 9.0 x 7.5 x 0.8 mm. This is in stark contrast to the standard dimensions of 11.5x13x1.2 mm. The operating temperature ranges from -25°C to 85°C, reaching the standards seen in industrial-grade products, and the maximum capacity can reach up to 64 GB. It meets all market requirements for high performance, low power consumption, slimness, and multiple capacities, and satisfies the needs of terminal equipment such as tablets, smart phones, smart speakers, dash cams, and smart watches.

Prices of NAND Flash Controller ICs Poised to Rise by 15-20% due to Tightening Production Capacity for Foundry Services, Says TrendForce

In the upstream semiconductor industry, the major foundries such as TSMC and UMC are reporting fully loaded capacities, while in the downstream, the available production capacity for OSAT is also lacking, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. Given this situation, suppliers of NAND Flash controller ICs such as Phison and Silicon Motion are now unable to meet upside demand from their clients. Not only have many controller IC suppliers temporarily stopped offering quotes for new orders, but they are also even considering raising prices soon because the negotiations between NAND Flash suppliers and module houses over 1Q21 contracts are now at the critical juncture. The potential increases in prices of controller ICs from outsourced suppliers (IC design houses) are currently estimated to be the range of 15-20%.

With regards to the demand side, demand has risen significantly for eMMC solutions with medium- and low-density specifications (i.e., 64 GB and lower), for which NAND Flash suppliers have mostly stopped updating the NAND Flash process technology, while maintaining support with the legacy 2D NAND or the 64L 3D NAND process. This is on account of strong sales for Chromebook devices and TVs. As older processes gradually account for a lowering portion of bit output proportions from NAND Flash suppliers, these companies are exhibiting a lowered willingness to directly supply such eMMC products to clients. As a result, clients now need to turn to memory module houses, which are able to source NAND Flash components and controllers, to procure eMMC products in substantial quantities.

XPG Launches SPECTRIX S20G PCIe Gen3x4 M.2 2280 Solid State Drive

XPG, a fast-growing provider of systems, components, and peripherals for Gamers, Esports Pros, and Tech Enthusiasts, today announces the XPG SPECTRIX S20G PCIe Gen3x4 M.2 2280 solid state drive (SSD). The SPECTRIX S20G is an SSD built with form and performance in mind with its distinct x-shaped RBG lighting and excellent read/write speeds.

The XPG SPECTRIX S20G is a gaming SSD through and through and its styling reflects this. It sports a distinctive and prominent x-shaped RGB design that outshines the competition. The RGB light effects can be customized via software. What's more, a hairline-brushed finish gives the SSD a formidable yet elegant look that will intimidate and impress.

Oversupply to Continue Affecting NAND Flash Prices, with 10-15% QoQ Decline Expected in 1Q21, Says TrendForce

The percentage distribution of 2021 NAND Flash bit demand by application currently shows that client SSD accounts for 31%, enterprise SSD 20%, eMMC/UFS 41%, and NAND wafer 8%, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. TrendForce expects NAND Flash ASP to undergo QoQ declines throughout 2021, since the number of NAND suppliers far exceeds DRAM suppliers, and the bit supply remains high. As Samsung, YMTC, SK Hynix, and Intel actively expand their NAND Flash bit output in 1Q21, the oversupply situation in the industry will become more severe, with a forecasted 6% QoQ increase in NAND Flash bit output and a 10-15% QoQ decline in NAND Flash ASP in 1Q21.

DRAM ASP to Recover from Decline in 1Q21, with Potential for Slight Growth, Says TrendForce

The DRAM market exhibits a healthier and more balanced supply/demand relationship compared with the NAND Flash market because of its oligopolistic structure, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. The percentage distribution of DRAM supply bits by application currently shows that PC DRAM accounts for 13%, server DRAM 34%, mobile DRAM 40%, graphics DRAM 5%, and consumer DRAM (or specialty DRAM) 8%. Looking ahead to 1Q21, the DRAM market by then will have gone through an inventory adjustment period of slightly more than two quarters. Memory buyers will also be more willing to stock up because they want to reduce the risk of future price hikes. Therefore, DRAM prices on the whole will be constrained from falling further. The overall ASP of DRAM products is now forecasted to stay generally flat or slightly up for 1Q21.

SK hynix Unveils the Industry's Most Multilayered 176-Layer 4D NAND Flash

SK hynix Inc. announced the completion of developing the industry's most multilayered 176-layer 512 Gigabit (Gb) Triple-Level Cell (TLC) 4D NAND flash. The Company provided the samples to controller companies last month to make a solution product.

SK hynix has been promoting 4D technology from the 96-layer NAND flash products that combine Charge Trap Flash (CTF) with high-integrated Peri. Under Cell (PUC) technology. The new 176-layer NAND flash is the third generation 4D product that secures the industry's best number of chips per wafer. This allows the bit productivity to be improved by 35% compared to the previous generation with the differentiated cost competitiveness. The read speed of cell increased by 20% over the previous generation adopting 2-division cell array selection technology. The data transfer speed also has been improved by 33% to 1.6 Gbps adopting speed-up technology without increasing the number of processes.

Greenliant Ultra High Endurance Storage Solutions Enable High Reliability Systems

Greenliant has secured major design wins with its EnduroSLC solid state drives (SSDs) in a wide range of demanding, extreme environment applications for customers that need best-in-class reliability and product longevity. Greenliant's proprietary EnduroSLC Technology substantially enhances data retention and extends the write endurance of 1-bit-per-cell SSDs with advanced hardware ECC capabilities and NAND flash management algorithms. EnduroSLC SSDs not only offer superior data retention capabilities under complex temperature conditions, but also support 50K, 100K and industry-leading, ultra high 250K+ program-erase (P/E) cycles, which are at least a 5x improvement over pseudo-SLC (pSLC) SSDs and a 50x improvement over MLC NAND-based products.

For systems that are in remote locations and costly to maintain-from satellite to subsea communications-customers recognize the value of EnduroSLC SSDs; they can reliably operate and retain data for long periods of time in harsh conditions. Long-life, write-intensive products, such as transportation black box recorders and industrial data loggers, have also benefitted from the enhanced features of EnduroSLC SSDs. EnduroSLC storage products are designed with Greenliant's advanced SATA, NVMe PCIe and eMMC controllers, operate at industrial temperatures (-40 to +85 degrees Celsius) and are backed by the company's Long-Term Availability program (http://bit.ly/SSD-LTA-program), providing an extra level of support.

NAND Flash Revenue for 3Q20 up by Only 0.3% QoQ Owing to Weak Server Sales, Says TrendForce

Total NAND Flash revenue reached US$14.5 billion in 3Q20, a 0.3% increase QoQ, while total NAND Flash bit shipment rose by 9% QoQ, but the ASP fell by 9% QoQ, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. The market situation in 3Q20 can be attributed to the rising demand from the consumer electronics end as well as the recovering smartphone demand before the year-end peak sales season. Notably, in the PC market, the rise of distance education contributed to the growing number and scale of Chromebook tenders, but the increase in the demand for Chromebook devices has not led to a significant increase in NAND Flash consumption because storage capacity is rather limited for this kind of notebook computer. Moreover, clients in the server and data center segments had aggressively stocked up on components and server barebones during 2Q20 due to worries about the impact of the pandemic on the supply chain. Hence, their inventories reached a fairly high level by 3Q20. Clients are now under pressure to control and reduce their inventories during this second half of the year. With them scaling back procurement, the overall NAND Flash demand has also weakened, leading to a downward turn in the contract prices of most NAND Flash products.

Silicon Motion Announces SM8266 16-channel PCIe Gen4 NVMe SSD Controller

Silicon Motion Technology Corporation, a global leader in designing and marketing NAND flash controllers for solid-state storage devices, today announced the SM8266, a complete enterprise-grade 16-channel PCIe 4.0 NVMe hardware plus firmware turnkey SSD controller solution. Customers can rapidly develop and bring to market enterprise SSDs for data centers by using our complete development platform that includes a turnkey NVMe firmware stack and hardware reference design kit.

"Our solution is the only complete PCIe Gen4 turnkey solution available today from an established merchant controller supplier," said Nelson Duann, Silicon Motion's Senior Vice President of Marketing and R&D. "Since the introduction of our PCIe Gen3 turnkey solution, we have established a longer track record of supplying turnkey solutions in terms of customer adoption and sale volume than any other company. Our Shannon Systems team is already custom designing enterprise-grade NVMe, Open-Channel and Key-Value SSDs using SM8266 for hyperscale customers' data centers with production expected in 2021."

NEO Semiconductor X-NAND Standard Offers Performance Comparable to SLC at Costs of QLC, Wins FMS 2020 Best of Show

NEO Semiconductor was honored with a Flash Memory Summit 2020 Best of Show Award for Hardware Architecture at today's Flash Memory Summit 2020 Best of Show Awards ceremony. The Flash Memory Summit, the World's largest and most prestigious storage industry conference and exposition, recognizes NEO Semiconductor's X-NAND product solution.

"5G, robotics, virtual reality and AI applications demand the highest level of performance in order to meet the service level objectives of business-critical data center workloads," said Jay Kramer, Chairman of the Awards Program and President of Network Storage Advisors Inc. "We are proud to recognize NEO Semiconductor X-NAND product solution for providing an excellent high-performance solution that can uniquely lower the cost across all tiers of SSD technologies."

Micron Ships World's First 176-Layer 3D NAND Flash Memory

Micron today announced that it has begun volume shipments of the world's first 176-layer 3D NAND flash memory, achieving unprecedented, industry-pioneering density and performance. Together, Micron's new 176-layer technology and advanced architecture represent a radical breakthrough, enabling immense gains in application performance across a range of storage use cases spanning data center, intelligent edge and mobile devices.

"Micron's 176-layer NAND sets a new bar for the industry, with a layer count that is almost 40% higher than our nearest competitor's," said Scott DeBoer, executive vice president of technology and products at Micron. "Combined with Micron's CMOS-under-array architecture, this technology sustains Micron's industry cost leadership."

SK hynix Inc. Reports Third Quarter 2020 Results

SK hynix Inc. today announced financial results for its third quarter 2020 ended on September 30, 2020. The consolidated revenue of third quarter 2020 was 8.129 trillion won while the operating profit amounted to 1.3 trillion won, and the net income 1.078 trillion won. Operating margin for the quarter was 16% and net margin was 13%.

Despite the Company saw the recovery of mobile DRAM demand in the quarter, both the revenue and operating profit decreased by 6% and 33% quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) respectively, as the server DRAM and SSD demands weakened, and the overall semiconductor memory price flow turned downwards in the quarter. For DRAM, SK hynix proactively responded to rising demands of mobile and graphics DRAM, and the expansion of consumer electronics DRAM demand as well. As a result, in spite of decreased server DRAM demand, the Company's DRAM bit shipment in the quarter still increased by 4% QoQ. However, due to the unfavorable price of server DRAM and other certain DRAM products, the average selling price decreased by 7% QoQ.

SSD Prices Expected To Fall 10-15% in Q4 2020

The memory market is expected to remain in a state of oversupply during Q4 2020 for both DRAM and NAND flash according to a new report from TrendForce. This oversupply will mean ~10% lower prices for memory in Q4 2020 with further price drops in 2021, this will result in falling SSD prices of 10-15%. These price drops in the consumer market will likely result in the lowest SSD pricing seen to date. These reductions were mainly driven by Huawei losing access to foreign DRAM and NAND memory which wasn't fully taken up by other smartphone manufacturers leading to an access of supply. These lower SSD prices will help accelerate the decline of HDDs in consumer devices as price parity gets closer.

Intel Enters Strategic Collaboration with Lightbits Labs

Intel Corp. and Lightbits Labs today announced an agreement to propel development of disaggregated storage solutions to solve the challenges of today's data center operators who are craving improved total-cost-of-ownership (TCO) due to stranded disk capacity and performance. This strategic partnership includes technical co-engineering, go-to-market collaboration and an Intel Capital investment in Lightbits Labs. Lightbits' LightOS product delivers high-performance shared storage across servers while providing high availability and read-and-write management designed to maximize the value of flash-based storage. LightOS, while being fully optimized for Intel hardware, provides customers with vastly improved storage efficiency and reduces underutilization while maintaining compatibility with existing infrastructure without compromising performance and simplicity.

Lightbits Labs will enhance its composable disaggregated software-defined storage solution, LightOS, for Intel technologies, creating an optimized software and hardware solution. The system will utilize Intel Optane persistent memory and Intel 3D NAND SSDs based on Intel QLC Technology, Intel Xeon Scalable processors with unique built-in artificial intelligence (AI) acceleration capabilities and Intel Ethernet 800 Series Network Adapters with Application Device Queues (ADQ) technology. Intel's leadership FPGAs for next-generation performance, flexibility and programmability will complement the solution.

YMTC Announces PC005 M.2 NVMe and SC001 SATA SSDs

Yangtze Memory Technology Company (YMTC), China's ambitious new memory manufacturer specializing in NAND flash, launched the first client-segment SSDs under its own brand, the PC005 Active series and the SC001 Active series. Rumors of YMTC developing its own brand SSDs surfaced first in June. Prior to that in May, it was reported that Phison could add support for YMTC NAND flash chips to variants of its existing SSD controllers, and so it's highly likely that the new YMTC SSDs use Phison-sourced controllers. Interestingly, the company deployed its first-generation Xtracking 64-layer 3D TLC NAND flash chips instead of its 2nd generation 128-layer QLC chips.

The PC005 Active comes in the M.2-2280 form-factor with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 host interface, leveraging the NVMe 1.3 protocol. The drive is available in 1 TB. 512 GB, and 256 GB capacities. All three variants read sequentially at speeds of up to 3,500 MB/s, wiring at up to 2,900 MB/s, up to 2,500 MB/s, and up to 1,200 MB/s, respectively. Their endurance is rated at 640 TBW for the 1 TB version, 320 TBW for the 512 GB, and 200 TBW for the 256 GB variant. All three are backed by 5-year warranties.

Samsung and SK Hynix to Impose Sanctions Against Huawei

Ever since the Trump administration imposed sanctions against Huawei to stop it from purchasing parts from third-party vendors to bypass the ban announced back in May, some vendors continued to supply the company. So it seems like some Korean manufacturers will be joining the doings of the US government, and apply restrictions to Huawei. According to the reports of South Korean media outlets, Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix will be joining the efforts of the US government and the Trump administration to impose sanctions against Chinese technology giant - Huawei.

It is reported that on September 15th, both Samsung and SK Hynix will stop any shipments to Huawei, where Samsung already stopped efforts for creating any new shipments. SK Hynix is said to continue shipping DRAM and NAND Flash products until September 14th, a day before the new sanctions are applied. Until the 14th, Huawei will receive some additional chips from SK Hynix. And it is exactly SK Hynix who is said to be a big loser here. It is estimated that 41.2% of SK Hynix's H1 2020 revenue came from China, most of which was memory purchased for Huawei phones and tablets. If the company loses Huawei as a customer, it would mean that the revenue numbers will be notably lower.

COVID-19 Drives Rise in Global Fab Equipment Spending, SEMI Reports

Soaring pandemic-inspired demand for chips that power everything from communications and IT infrastructures to personal computing, gaming and healthcare electronics will drive an 8% increase in global fab equipment spending in 2020 and a 13% increase in 2021, SEMI announced today in its World Fab Forecast report. Rising demand for semiconductors for datacenter infrastructures and server storage along with the buildup of safety stock as U.S.-China trade tensions intensify are also contributing to this year's growth.

The bullish trend for overall fab equipment investments comes as the semiconductor industry recovers from a 9% decline in fab spending in 2019 and navigates a roller-coaster 2020 with actual and projected spending drops in the first and third quarters mixed with second- and fourth-quarter increases. See figure below:

Phison Launches World's Highest Capacity QLC Customizable Enterprise SSD Solution in a 2.5" Form Factor

Phison Electronics , the industry's leader in NAND flash controllers and storage solutions, announces availability of the world's first 15.36 TB QLC customizable Enterprise SSD solution based on Phison's S12DC controller. Phison provides its customers with industry leading SSDs that are customized to their needs by leveraging Phison's firmware, controller, PCBA design, and manufacturing. The S12DC QLC SSD is an ideal storage solution by delivering higher performance, lower power consumption, and greater rack storage density for read intensive storage applications that currently source hard disk drives.

NAND Flash Revenue Rises 6.5% QoQ in 2Q20 Due to Pandemic-Induced Demand Growth for Cloud Services, Says TrendForce

The NAND Flash industry benefitted from strong demand for PCs and servers in 2Q20 as the COVID-19 pandemic caused a demand surge for cloud services and technologies that are related to working from home, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. This, in turn, kept demand high for SSDs. However, the smartphone and consumer electronics markets had not recovered from the impact of the pandemic. The demand for these products therefore declined compared to the previous quarter. In 2Q20, total NAND Flash bit shipment and ASP both experienced a minor increase of about 3% QoQ, while NAND Flash revenue reached US$14.5 billion, a 6.5% increase QoQ.

Kioxia Prepares for Initial Public Offering in Japan

Kioxia, previously Toshiba Memory Holdings has recently announced plans for an initial public offering on the Tokyo stock exchange in October with a projected market capitalization of 19 billion USD. Kioxia is the world's second-largest manufacturer of NAND flash memory behind Samsung Electronics, the company has experienced heavy losses in recent years recording a loss of 1.6 billion USD in the previous financial year. The company is currently owned by Toshiba with a 40% stake with the rest being held by a consortium of US, Japanese, and South Korean investors. The funds raised will be directed towards growth investments and investor rewards.

Apacer Launches NAS SSDs with Durability and High Performance

In response to the long-distance business opportunities in the era of 5G IoT, and the trend towards storage of massive amounts of data, Apacer, a leading industrial storage and memory brand, has launched SSDs tailored specifically for network attached storage (NAS) applications. Apacer has been deeply involved in the field of industrial memory for more than 20 years, focusing on the development of non-volatile flash memory and SSD applications, and providing highly customized industrial-grade storage and memory solutions.

Considering NAS users' stringent data storage and security requirements, Apacer's NAS SSDs combine high durability, high efficiency, high reliability, and silent operation. They make it easy to quickly upgrade from traditional hard drives or ordinary SSDs, and create security and reliability for home office or small-and-medium-business (SMB) NAS applications.

SK hynix to Expand United States Market Presence with the Launch of the World's First 128-Layer NAND Consumer PCIe NVMe SSD

SK hynix Inc., a global semiconductor supplier based in Korea, announced today the release of its newest PCIe SSD: the SK hynix Gold P31. The latest edition is the world's first 128-layer NAND flash-based consumer SSD and the company's first consumer-facing PCIe SSD launched in the United States under the SK hynix brand.

The Gold P31 is intended for all PC users with a particular focus on gamers, designers, and content creators. The drive supports the PCIe NVMe interface based on 4D NAND flash technology and is now available for purchase in 1 TB and 500 GB capacities on Amazon U.S. The Gold P31 offers best-in-class read speeds of up to 3,500 MB/s and write speeds of up to 3,200 MB/s. The drive is a reliable choice for gamers whose PCs must support long hours of play, as well as professional creators and designers for whom performance and stability is essential. The Gold P31's reliability has been tested and validated through 1,000 hours of high-temperature operating life tests (HTOL) with mean time between failures (MTBF) reaching 1.5 million hours. The SSD also comes with a five-year warranty.

Team Group Launches T-FORCE Vulcan G SSD

TEAMGROUP today announced the T-FORCE VULCAN G Gaming Solid State Drive. With SATA interface and 3D NAND flash memory, the read and write speeds can reach up to 550 MB/s and 500 MB/s, which offers 4 times faster read/write speed than traditional hard drives. It also supports SLC caching and Windows TRIM optimization commands, making it the best choice for upgrading your gaming PC!

The T-FORCE VULCAN G Gaming Solid State Drive has a minimalist design. The T-FORCE logo is printed with a unique diamond cut pattern for a sophisticated and sleek look. It is also available in capacities of 512 GB and 1 TB, and uses SATA interface and 3D NAND flash memory chip, making it 4 times faster than traditional hard drives in read and write speeds. With up to 550 MB/s and 500 MB/s, gamers will experience a significant performance jump.

Samsung Electronics Announces Second Quarter 2020 Results

Samsung Electronics reported today KRW 52.97 trillion in consolidated revenue and KRW 8.15 trillion in operating profit for the second quarter ended June 30, 2020. Even as the spread of COVID-19 caused closures and slowdowns at stores and production sites around the world, the Company responded to challenges through its extensive global supply chain, while minimizing the impact of the pandemic by strengthening online sales channels and optimizing costs.

Quarterly operating profit rose 26 percent from the previous quarter and 23 percent from a year earlier, thanks to firm demand for memory chips and appliances, as well as a one-off gain at its Display Panel Business. A partial recovery in global demand since May also helped offset some COVID-19 effects, resulting in higher earnings than initially expected. Revenue in the quarter fell 4 percent from the previous quarter and 6 percent from a year earlier due to reduced sales of smartphones and other devices.
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