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Elpida's Exit from DRAM Industry Will Have Huge Consequences

In case Elpida is unable to repay its debts due in April and goes insolvent, marking its exit from the DRAM industry, the consequences for not just the DRAM industry, but also the PC industry as a whole, will be huge, note industry observers. On the 15th, Eplida released a statement on the assumed going concern in the company with regards to its debt situation. The company has been unable to recover from its condition despite injections of capital backed by no less than the Japanese government.

Elpida has to repay nearly 40 billion JPY US ($505.8 million) to the government, and another 80 billion JPY (US $1.02 billion) in short-term bank loans. Frantic negotiates are on between the company and its long list of creditors that include the Japanese government and other banks to seek an interim relief from the default, even as the company searches for a cash-source that would alleviate the situation and make it survive. Elpida's situation is different from that of Qimonda, it's larger, has more technologies in the pipeline, and has recently set up 30 nm-class mass-production and is testing 20 nm-class production. In other words, it has much greater potential as a company that contributes to the industry, if it survives. Its exit will leave the industry imbalanced, and dominated by Korean DRAM makers such as Samsung and Hynix, and American Micron Technology, a step closer to oligarchical price-controls, observers note.Source: Xbit Labs

AMD Appoints New CEO, Dirk Meyer Resigns

AMD today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Senior Vice President and CFO Thomas Seifert, 47, as interim CEO following the resignation of Dirk Meyer, 49, as president, CEO and a director of the company effective immediately.

A CEO Search Committee has been formed to begin the search for a new CEO. The Committee is led by Bruce Claflin, Chairman of AMD’s Board of Directors, who has been named Executive Chairman of the Board as he assumes additional oversight responsibilities during the transition period. Seifert will maintain his current responsibilities as CFO and has asked not to be considered for the permanent CEO position.

AMD Names Thomas Seifert Chief Financial Officer

AMD today announced the appointment of Thomas Seifert as senior vice president and chief financial officer. Seifert, 46, will report to Dirk Meyer, AMD president and chief executive officer, and will have responsibility for leading the company’s global financial organization. Seifert succeeds Robert Rivet, who was previously promoted to chief operations and administrative officer.

“Thomas is a talented industry veteran with a wealth of knowledge and experience managing the operations and finances of companies in the most difficult and competitive sectors of the semiconductor industry,” said Meyer. “This knowledge and experience will enable him to further strengthen AMD’s financial foundation and help accelerate our transformation into a product design and marketing leader.”

Elpida Enters Graphics Memory Business

Elpida Memory, Inc., a leading global supplier of Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM), today announced that it reached an agreement with Germany-based Qimonda AG, which is now in insolvency proceedings, to acquire Qimonda technology licenses and a portion of the design assets related to Graphics Double Data Rate (GDDR), a memory architecture that has a high-speed data interface for graphic processing applications.

Based on the licenses and assets acquired from Qimonda, Elpida will now join the graphics DRAM business and become a memory solutions company with an expanded range of products and services.

Qimonda Continues to Seek Investment, Production Put on Stand-by

Talks with potential investors regarding a solution to keep Qimonda in operation will continue beyond the end of March 2009. “Various investors have signaled their interest, but as yet there are no binding offers on the table. As anticipated, it will not be possible to reach a conclusive solution by the end of March,” announced preliminary insolvency administrator Dr. Michael Jaffé today after a meeting with the creditors committee.

The employees of the insolvent Qimonda AG and Qimonda Dresden OHG will be able to claim compensation by means of statutory insolvency payments until the end of March 2009. By the end of March, the bankruptcy court in Munich will also have received the preliminary insolvency administrator's report on the basis of which the court will make a decision on whether to open insolvency proceedings.

ATI M97 Already Using 5 GT/s GDDR5 Memory, Highest Memory Bandwidth for Any mGPU

In an interesting observation, it has come to light that AMD's soon to be released ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4860 MXM modules will carry the industry's fastest 5 GT/s GDDR5 memory chips made by Qimonda. From the part name on the chips, IDGV1G-05A1F1C-50X. One can infer "50X" to be the bandwidth per pin at reference speeds: 5 GT/s (5 GB/s in one direction). Across the 128-bit wide memory bus the M97 HD 4860 has, the chips can churn-out a staggering 80 GB/s memory bandwidth, never before seen on any mGPU board. In comparison, NVIDIA's G92b-based GeForce GTX 280M delivers 60.08 GB/s and AMD's own M98 RV770-based Mobility Radeon HD 4850 doles-out 56.8 GB/s.

The 5 GT/s GDDR5 chips are yet to be used by AMD in its desktop products. Development cycles have gone as far as including "40X" (4 GT/s) memory chips labeled IDGV1G-05A1F1C-40X on company-internal RV790 samples. Another DRAM major, Hynix had announced its plans to introduce 7 GT/s GDDR5 chips back in November 2008. The company is known to commence volume production of the 7 GT/s chip by the end of Q2 2009.

Source: GPU Café

Qimonda in Talks with Potential Buyers

Qimonda AG has maintained liquidity since applying to open insolvency proceedings on January 23, 2009, thus fulfilling the requirement necessary in order to continue operation preliminarily. At the same time, the Qimonda management and a team working for the preliminary insolvency administrator Dr. Michael Jaffé have been holding concrete discussions with numerous international interested parties. The aim is to have firm offers submitted as soon as possible. Following successful mass production of the first generation of the innovative Buried Wordline technology at the Dresden facility, the 46nm generation, potentially a leading technology in the industry, is now to be made ready for production in collaboration with an investor, with mass production to begin in summer 2009. Furthermore, intensive work is being put into financing options which would allow production to also continue for a limited period of several months after March 31, 2009. This would aid the company in successfully concluding the process of finding an investor, providing concrete indications of interest have been made by the end of March. The sale of investments is being prepared in parallel with the search for investors in order to generate liquidity to continue running the core business.

Qimonda Pushes Ahead With Development of Innovative Buried Wordline Technology

Qimonda AG is making consistent advances in its orientation towards its Buried Wordline technology. After seeing the first generation with a size of 65nm achieve good results in mass production in Dresden, the developers have now created the first operational DDR3 memory modules based on the latest 46nm technology.

The new 46nm technology will triple the number of chips per wafer compared with the current 75nm technology, and thus is expected to increase production efficiency by 200 percent. Furthermore, preliminary results show that power consumption will be reduced by up to 75 percent. "We are confident that our new technology is the key innovation for us to move onwards into a lucrative future," says Thomas Seifert, CFO and COO of Qimonda AG. "The first successful test runs with the new 46nm module generation and the customer feedback up to now have been very encouraging."

DRAM Prices Soar Post Qimonda Bankruptcy Filing

Late last month, DRAM major Qimonda announced insolvency. This company now has a month's cash left to carry on operations, before having to dissolve its assets. The company is reportedly looking for buyers. The news of Qimonda's departure in the making, for the industry didn't have immediate repercussions post announcement, since it coincided with a week of holidays on the occasion of the Chinese Lunar New Year.

When the traders returned to work after the holiday, DRAM prices shot up due to widespread concerns over the departure of Qimonda disturbing supply-chains. The price of the DRAM chip used as a standard to gauge DRAM prices, a common DDR2-667 1Gbit (128MB) chip, rose by as much as 27% to US $1.08, as measured by DRAMeXchange, a company that runs online DRAM chip stock clearance sales. Analysts at Gartner predict short-term and long-term implications of Qimonda's exit: on the short-term, DRAM prices will rise as the fall of Qimonda will disturb supply-chains. On the long term though, the market will stabilize since it is still saturated with DRAM over-supply even without Qimonda. It isn't a good time to buy DRAM chips, as a result of which, other weaker DRAM companies may also file for bankruptcy, disturbing supply-chains.Source: InfoWorld

RV790 Samples Carry Faster Memory

Having taped out late last year, samples based on the new RV790 graphics processor have been doing rounds in the industry. A few more details have surfaced about it. Earlier noted to have identical clock speeds to that of the RV770XT (Radeon HD 4870), the RV790 samples are now known to have higher memory clock speeds. While the Radeon HD 4870 has its memory frequency at 900 MHz GDDR5 (effective 3.60 GHz), the samples carry memory clocked at 975 MHz (effective 3.90 GHz). Interestingly the memory chips on the sample, labeled IDGV1G-05A1F1C-40X, made by Qimonda, are specified to run at 1.00 GHz, reaching the 4 GHz effective memory speed mark. The samples feature 1 GB of memory. The RV790 is AMD's new current-generation graphics processor built on the newer 40nm silicon fabrication process. The new process is expected to reduce the GPU's power consumption and thermal footprint. The RV790 is conceived to be an immediate successor to the RV770 GPU.Source: Hardware-Infos

Qimonda petitions for the opening of insolvency proceedings

Qimonda AG (NYSE: QI) and Qimonda Dresden OHG have filed an application with the local court in Munich today to open insolvency proceedings. Their goal is to reorganize the companies as part of the ongoing restructuring program. The court will now appoint a preliminary insolvency administrator.

The Qimonda Management Board intends to restructure key business units within the context of the insolvency regime. “German insolvency law offers the opportunity to accelerate the restructuring process that has already been started in order to reposition the company back onto a solid base,” said Kin Wah Loh, President and Chief Executive Officer of Qimonda AG. Qimonda possesses established products and, with its Buried Wordline technology, is currently bringing a promising future technology to the market.

Qimonda Arranges Euro 325 Million Loan

Qimonda AG announced today that it has arranged a Euro 325 million financing package for the ramp up of its innovative Buried Wordline technology. The package includes a Euro 150 million loan from the German Free State of Saxony, a Euro 100 million loan from a leading financial institution in Portugal and a Euro 75 million loan from Qimonda’s parent company Infineon. In addition, Qimonda will have the opportunity to draw on a Euro 280 million state guarantee by the Federal Republic of Germany and the Free State of Saxony. Qimonda is in advanced negotiations concerning the financing of Euro 150 million of this amount.

Gigabyte Unveils Radeon HD 4870 1GB Equipped with DisplayPort

Gigabyte today, has released a new graphics card based on the ATI Radeon HD 4870 graphics processor (GPU), in a non-reference design. While sporting a thin and light appearance, the card retains high-grade electrical components such as digital PWM circuitry the reference PCB sports. The prominent features of the card include a DisplayPort connector alongside an HDMI port, both on the PCB. The card features 1 GB of GDDR5 memory made by Qimonda, across a 256-bit wide bus.

Being non-reference and Gigabyte, it's expected to have a blue coloured PCB. The GPU is cooled by a Zalman VF830 cooler, which features on several of today's graphics cards by Gigabyte. The memory is left to be cooled under its air-flow. The VRM area gets a heatsink of its own. The card is powered by two 6-pin PCI-Express power connectors. It uses reference clock speeds of 750 MHz for the GPU and 900 MHz (effective 3600 MT/s) for the memory. It is yet to be priced.


Aeneon by Qimonda Introduces High-Performance DDR3-1600 Triple Channel Kits

Aeneon by Qimonda, the channel and retail brand of Qimonda, announced availability of its DDR3-1600 Triple Channel Kits (CL9) with 3GB and 6GB for the new Intel Core i7 processor and Intel X58 Express chipset. The new kits, coming with three memory modules per kit, will bring high performance memory with standard voltage to the next generation high-end desktop platform matching exactly the needs of the new Intel flagship.

Inno3D GeForce 9600 GSO+ Spotted

The entry of Radeon HD 4670 did disturb NVIDIA's position, in a segment touted to be one of the cash-cow segments for both NVIDIA and AMD. It is to counter the HD 4870 in its price-range (by easing production-costs), that NVIDIA released a refreshed GeForce 9600 GSO+. The die on the GPU reads "G94-201-B1", pointing that the GPU uses the 55nm silicon fab process (9600 GSO used G92). With the reduced transistor-count on the G94 core, manufacturing the chip becomes cheaper. The real change however, is that NVIDIA made some significant changes to its shader and memory domains, hence the use of G94 core.

The shader count has been reduced from 96 on the 9600 GSO, to 48. This, by disabling 16 shaders from the G94 core. The core is clocked at 650/1675 MHz (core/shader). The GPU is allowed to use the complete width of its memory bus: 256-bit GDDR3. The card features 512 MB of memory, clocked at 1800 MHz. The memory chips featured on the Inno3D card are made by Qimonda, and have a 1.2 ns latency. The card uses a simplistic circular cooler for the GPU. It is expected to be priced at US $87.

Source: Expreview

Qimonda Announces Commercial Production of Buried Wordline DRAM Technology

Qimonda AG, a leading global memory supplier, today announced the commencement of commercial production of DRAM chips using its new Buried Wordline technology. Qimonda’s revenues in October included the first sales of 1Gbit DDR2 chips using 65nm Buried Wordline technology. In addition, Qimonda has achieved first yields on the next generation 46nm Buried Wordline technology and has taped out what it believes is the worldwide smallest 2G DDR3 chip based on this technology. Qimonda’s innovative Buried Wordline DRAM technology combines high performance, low power consumption and small chip sizes to further advance the company’s product portfolio, which is now focused on DRAM for infrastructure and graphics applications.

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.

DDR3 to DDR4 Transition Chalked-out, DDR4 in 2012

The transition between PC memory standards has always relied on changes in PC platforms for effectiveness. For example, the LGA 775 saw transition between two standards, the i915 MCH supported DDR and DDR2 memory, i925 onwards it became mandatory for people to use DDR2 memory as the platform required it. In came DDR3 and it became optional for users to choose it over DDR2. Even now, there is only a gradual transit between DDR2 and DDR3. With Nehalem however, it will become mandatory to use DDR3 memory, both with the LGA 1366 and LGA 1160 socket motherboards in either two or three channel configurations.

Qimonda has already chalked out plans for a smooth transition to DDR4 PC memory. According to Qimonda's development plan, DDR4 would be out by 2012. The memory standard will operate at (DDR) frequencies as high as 2,133 MHz at an approximate voltage of 1.2 V and by 2013, we could be seeing 2,667 MHz memory at 1.0 V, a phase during which there's a transition between the current DDR3 and future DDR4 PC memory standards.

Source: Hardspell

Synthetic Benchmarks of NVIDIA G96 and Component Details Presented

Chinese website XFastest released some pre-release synthetic benchmark evaluations of the upcoming NVIDIA G96 graphics processor (GPU) on which is based, the GeForce 9500 series, slated for a July 28 release. XFastest also released detailed pictures of the components that go into making these cards.

The GeForce 9500 secured a score of 5894 in 3DMark'06 and 12331 in 3DMark'05 in default settings. It secured 658 o3DMarks at 1280x1024 resolution in the Ozone3D FurMark 1.40.

R700 to Come in 2048MB Flavour?

Although unreliable sources have been pointing out to the possibility that The Radeon HD 4870 X2 (R700) could come in a 2GB variant for a while now, we now get reports from even the Taiwanese industry observer, DigiTimes that the R700 in fact could come in a 2048 MB GDDR5 flavour. Similar reports have also been sourced from the likes of HKEPC and ChipHell. Current products such as the Radeon HD 4870 come equipped with "IDGV51-05A1F1C-40X" 512 Mbit GDDR5 chips made by Qimonda, the cards feature 8 such chips. It's already known that the R700 comes with a total of 16 memory chips, 8 on each side of the PCB, Qimonda readies its 1 Gbit memory chips slated for a July, 2008 release, Hyundai/Hynix already have their parts in the making.

Expect this product to launch by late August.With inputs from DigiTimes

Qimonda Wins AMD as Partner for Launch of New Graphics Standard GDDR5

Qimonda AG, a leading manufacturer of memory products, today announced that the company has won AMD as launch partner for the new graphics standard GDDR5. Qimonda already started mass production and the volume shipping of GDDR5 512Mbit components with a speed of 4.0Gbps to AMD, a leading global provider of innovative processing solutions in the computing, graphics and consumer electronics markets.

Qimonda Ready with GDDR5 Memory Chips

Qimonda first began sampling 512Mb GDDR5 memory chips in November 2007 and now, six months after, the memory manufacturer claims to have the parts ready to roll. “Qimonda was the first to announce samples of GDDR5 back in November 2007. We have proven the technology and we can deliver in volume production to the market today,” said Glen Haley, communications director of Qimonda in North America, in an interview with X-bit labs web-site. Currently Qimonda has GDDR5 parts that will run at 3.60GHz, 4.0GHz and 4.50GHz clock-speeds and use PG-TFBGA-170 packages. They will boast the maximum available data transfer rate up to 20GB/s, as compared to 16GB/s for the previous GDDR4 generation. GDDR5 chips are also projected to play a substantial role in the next round of war between leading graphics manufacturers. Reports claim that the latest AMD/ATI 4-series Radeon video cards will make use of GDDR5. Hynix Semiconductor and Samsung Electronics are also expected to make available their own GDDR5 memory chips soon.

Source: X-bit labs

Qimonda and Elpida to Form Technology Partnership

Qimonda AG and Elpida Memory, both leading global memory suppliers, today announced that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a technology partnership on joint development of memory chips (DRAMs). In the planned cooperation, Qimonda will provide its know-how with the innovative Buried Wordline technology and Elpida its advanced stack capacitor technology. The strategic technology cooperation will leverage the strength of both companies to accelerate their roadmap to DRAM products featuring cell sizes of 4F². The companies plan to introduce the jointly developed innovative 4F² cell concept in the 40nm generation in calendar year 2010 and to subsequently scale it to the 30nm generation.

Qimonda Announces Technology Breakthrough with DRAM Roadmap to 30nm Generation

Qimonda AG, a leading global memory supplier, today announced its technology roadmap down to the 30nm generation and featuring cell sizes of 4F². Qimonda’s innovative Buried Wordline DRAM technology combines high performance, low power consumption and small chip sizes to further advance the company’s diversified product portfolio. Qimonda is introducing this leading edge technology now in 65nm and plans to begin production of a 1 Gbit DDR2 in the second half of calendar 2008.

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