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SK hynix Inc. Reports Second Quarter 2020 Results

SK hynix Inc. today announced financial results for its second quarter 2020 ended on June 30, 2020. The consolidated revenue of second quarter 2020 was 8.607 trillion won while the operating profit amounted to 1.947 trillion won, and the net income 1.264 trillion won. Operating margin for the quarter was 23% and net margin was 15%.

Despite uncertainties of business environment due to COVID-19, both the Company's revenue and operating income increased by 20% and 143% quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) respectively, as the surging demand for server memory maintained favorable memory price while numerous factors including the increase of the main products' yield rate led to cost reduction.

SK hynix Starts Mass-Production of HBM2E High-Speed DRAM

SK hynix announced that it has started the full-scale mass-production of high-speed DRAM, 'HBM2E', only ten months after the Company announced the development of the new product in August last year. SK hynix's HBM2E supports over 460 GB (Gigabyte) per second with 1,024 I/Os (Inputs/Outputs) based on the 3.6 Gbps (gigabits-per-second) speed performance per pin. It is the fastest DRAM solution in the industry, being able to transmit 124 FHD (full-HD) movies (3.7 GB each) per second. The density is 16 GB by vertically stacking eight 16 Gb chips through TSV (Through Silicon Via) technology, and it is more than doubled from the previous generation (HBM2).

HBM2E boasts high-speed, high-capacity, and low-power characteristics; it is an optimal memory solution for the next-generation AI (Artificial Intelligence) systems including Deep Learning Accelerator and High-Performance Computing, which all require high-level computing performance. Furthermore, it is expected to be applied to the Exascale supercomputer - a high-performance computing system which can perform calculations a quintillion times per second - that will lead the research of next-generation basic and applied science, such as climate changes, bio-medics, and space exploration.

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.

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.

AMD to Support DDR5, LPDDR5, and PCI-Express gen 5.0 by 2022, Intel First to Market with DDR5

AMD is expected to support the next-generation DDR5 memory standard by 2022, according to a MyDrivers report citing industry sources. We are close to a change in memory standards, with the 5-year old DDR4 memory standard beginning a gradual phase out over the next 3 years. Leading DRAM manufacturers such as SK Hynix have already hinted mass-production of the next-generation DDR5 memory to commence within 2020. Much like with DDR4, Intel could be the first to market with processors that support it, likely with its "Sapphire Rapids" Xeon processors. AMD, on the other hand, could debut support for the standard only with its "Zen 4" microarchitecture slated for 2021 technology announcements, with 2022 availability.

AMD "Zen 4" will see a transition to a new silicon fabrication process, likely TSMC 5 nm-class. It will be an inflection point for the company from an I/O standpoint, as it sees the introduction of DDR5 memory support across enterprise and desktop platforms, LPDDR5 on the mobile platform, and PCI-Express gen 5.0 across the board. Besides a generational bandwidth doubling, PCIe gen 5.0 is expected to introduce several industry-standard features that help with hyper-scalability in the enterprise segment, benefiting compute clusters with multiple scalar processors, such as AMD's CDNA2. Intel introduced many of these features with its proprietary CXL interconnect. AMD's upcoming "Zen 3" microarchitecture, scheduled for within 2020 with market presence in 2021, is expected to stick with DDR4, LPDDR4x, and PCI-Express gen 4.0 standards. DDR5 will enable data-rates ranging between 3200 to 8400 MHz, densities such as single-rank 32 GB UDIMMs, and a few new physical-layer features such as same-bank refresh.

SK hynix to Commence Mass-Production of 128-layer NAND Flash in Q2

SK hynix, in its Q1-2020 financial results commentary, confirmed that the company will commence mass-production of its next-generation 128-layer 3D NAND flash memory within Q2-2020 (before July). This would mark the company's transition from 96-layer 3D NAND flash, which formed the bulk of the company's NAND flash output through 2019. SK hynix is developing 128-layer 3D NAND flash chips in both TLC and QLC offerings. The company also mentioned that in Q2, it could diversify its portfolio of PCIe (NVMe) SSDs covering more markets and form-factors.

SK Hynix Unveils DDR5 Memory Details, Production to Start This Year

SK Hynix has today posted an update on their blog about the upcoming DDR5 memory, which they have developed in co-respondence with JEDEC's progression of the standard. They have noted a few key things, among which some of the most interesting are features like the maximum speed of 8400 Mbps. The DDR5 standard is very flexible, allowing manufacturers to release their chips with frequencies ranging anywhere from 3200-8400 Mbps. While the lowest speed is 3200 Mbps, manufacturers are starting with 4800 Mbps chips and building their way up from there. The minimum density of a single DDR5 die is 8 Gb, while the maximum is 64 Gb, quadrupling the maximum capacity of DDR4 dies.

Perhaps one of the biggest changes besides capacity and speed improvements is the addition of Error-Correcting Code (ECC) support for memory. This feature is now not exclusive to special dies, like with DDR4, but rather is built inside every die. The DDR5 memory chips use 32 banks, split into 8 bank groups, which is designed to provide as much bandwidth as possible. Burst Length is doubled to 16, compared to 8 of DDR4, so memory access availability is better. Operating Voltage is decreased to 1.1 V, from the previous 1.2 V of DDR4, resulting in an overall decrease of 20% of power consumption. The mass production of SK-Hynix's DDR5 chips will start this year, however, exact timing is unknown.
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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.

SK Hynix Licenses DBI Ultra 3D Interconnect Technology

Xperi Corporation today announced that it entered into a new patent and technology license agreement with SK hynix, one of the world's largest semiconductor manufacturers. The agreement includes access to Xperi's broad portfolio of semiconductor intellectual property (IP) and a technology transfer of Invensas DBI Ultra 3D interconnect technology focused on next-generation memory.

"We are delighted to announce the extension of our long-standing relationship with SK hynix, a world-renowned technology leader and manufacturer of memory solutions," said Craig Mitchell, President of Invensas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Xperi Corporation. "As the industry increasingly looks beyond conventional node scaling and turns toward hybrid bonding, Invensas stands as a pioneering leader that continues to deliver improved performance, power, and functionality, while also reducing the cost of semiconductors. We are proud to partner with SK hynix to further develop and commercialize our DBI Ultra technology and look forward to a wide range of memory solutions that leverage the benefits of this revolutionary technology platform."

SK Hynix Inc. Reports Fiscal Year 2019 and Fourth Quarter Results

SK hynix Inc. today announced financial results for its fiscal year 2019 and fourth quarter ended on December 31, 2019. The consolidated revenue of fiscal year 2019 was KRW 26.99 trillion won while the operating profit amounted to 2.71 trillion won, and the net income 2.02 trillion won. Operating margin for the year was 10% and net margin was 7%.

In order to respond to changing market conditions, SK hynix proactively adjusted both investment and output level last year to maximize business management efficiency. However, amid increasing global economic uncertainty, the increase of inventory burden and conservative purchasing policies on the side of the customers led to a slowdown in demand as well as price falls. As a result, the Company's earnings decreased year-over-year (YoY).

A Walk Through SK Hynix at CES 2020: 4D NAND SSDs and DDR5 RDIMMs

Korean DRAM and NAND flash giant SK Hynix brought its latest memory innovations to the 2020 International CES. The star attraction at their booth was the "4D NAND" technology, and some of the first client-segment SSDs based on it. As a concept, 4D NAND surfaced way back in August 2018, and no, it doesn't involve the 4th dimension. Traditional 3D NAND chips use charge-trap flash (CTF) stacks spatially located next to a peripheral block that's responsible for wiring out all of those CTF stacks. In 4D NAND, the peripheral block is stacked along with the CTF stack itself, conserving real-estate on the 2-D plane (which can then be spent on increasing density). We caught two 128-layer 4D NAND-based client-segment drives inbound for 2020, the Platinum P31 M.2 NVMe, and Gold P31 M.2 NVMe. The already launched Gold S31 SATA drive was also there.

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.

SK hynix to Introduce Consumer PCIe NVMe SSDs at CES 2020

SK hynix Inc., a global semiconductor maker based in Korea, is set to introduce its newest offering of "Gold P31" and "Platinum P31" PCIe NVMe Solid State Drives (SSDs) at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020, which will be held on January 7-10 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The drives are built with SK hynix's 128-layer 4D NAND flash, only six months after the Company announced the mass production of the world's first and highest vertical stack for NAND flash, demonstrating the chipmaker's technological edge.

As a leading manufacturer of memory chips, SK hynix builds and supplies its own DRAM and NAND flash devices, as well as SSD controllers designed and developed in-house. The company has a proven track record as a major supplier to global OEMs including top-tier PC makers, who have trusted and purchased SK hynix's SSDs for nearly a decade now. As a next step, SK hynix is now expanding into the consumer market with its newest drives.

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.

Intel "Tiger Lake-U" Processors Could Support LPDDR5 Memory

Intel's Core "Tiger Lake" microarchitecture could be a point of transition between DDR4 and DDR5 for the company. Prototypes of devices based on the ultra-compact "Tiger Lake-Y" SoC were earlier shown featuring LPDDR4X memory, although a new device, possibly a prototyping platform, in the regulatory queue with the Eurasian Economic Commission describes itself as featuring a "Tiger Lake-U" chip meant for thin and light notebooks and convertibles. This device features newer LPDDR5 memory, according to its regulatory filing.

LPDDR5 succeeds LPDDR4X as the industry's next low-power memory standard, offering data-rates of up to 6,400 MT/s (versus up to 4,266 MT/s of LPDDR4X), and consumes up to 30 percent less power. This prototype at the EEC is sure to be using unreleased LPDDR5 memory chips as DRAM majors Samsung and SK Hynix plan to ship their DDR5-based memory solutions only by the end of this year, although mass-production of the chips have already started at Samsung, in PoP form-factors. A successor to the 10th generation Core "Ice Lake," "Tiger Lake" will be Intel's second CPU microarchitecture designed for its 10 nm silicon fabrication node.

SK hynix Inc. Reports Third Quarter 2019 Results

SK hynix Inc. today announced financial results for its third quarter 2019 ended on September 30, 2019. The consolidated third quarter revenue was 6.84 trillion won while the operating profit amounted to 473 billion won and the net income 495 billion won. Operating margin and net margin for the quarter was 7%.

The revenue in the third quarter increased by 6% quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) as demand began to pick up. However, the operating profit fell by 26% QoQ as DRAM unit cost reduction was not enough to offset the price drop. DRAM bit shipments increased by 23% QoQ as the Company actively responded to the new products in the mobile market and purchases from some data center customers also increased. DRAM prices remained weak during the quarter, leading to a 16% drop in the average selling price, with the decline smaller than the previous quarter.

SK hynix Develops 1Znm 16Gb DDR4 DRAM

SK hynix Inc. announced today that it has developed 1Znm 16Gb (Gigabits) DDR4 (Double Data Rate 4) DRAM. As 16Gb is the industry's largest density for a single chip, the total memory capacity per wafer is also the largest of the existing DRAMs. The productivity of this product has improved by about 27% compared to the previous generation, 1Y nm. It does not require highly expensive extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography, which gives it a competitive edge cost-wise.

The new 1Z nm DRAM also supports a data transfer rate of up to 3,200 Mbps, which is the fastest data processing speed in DDR4 interface. The Company significantly increased its power efficiency, successfully reducing power consumption by about 40% compared to modules of the same density made with 1Y nm 8 Gb DRAM.

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.

SK Hynix Announces the Gold S31 Consumer SATA SSD

SK hynix Inc. announced today the launch of its "Gold S31" solid-state drive (SSD). Gold S31 (SATA III - first generation) is the first of the Company's new SuperCore series of consumer SSDs, an internal drive lineup based on SK hynix's core technology. With its speed and reliability, SK hynix's Gold S31 will be a perfect choice for all PC users, particularly for gamers, designers, and content creators. Gold S31 pushes the limits on high-performance SSDs, providing users the next level of speed with sequential read speeds up to 560 MB/s, as well as superior quality, reliability, and five-year warranty.

The 2.5-inch drive supports the SATA III interface based on 3D NAND Flash technology, and is now available in 1 TB, 500 GB and 250 GB capacities on Amazon US. All key components in Gold S31, from NAND Flash and built-in controller to DRAM and firmware, were designed and produced by SK hynix. The in-house components are built for robust performance and reliability.

SK Hynix Announces its HBM2E Memory Products, 460 GB/s and 16GB per Stack

SK Hynix Inc. announced today that it has developed HBM2E DRAM product with the industry's highest bandwidth. The new HBM2E boasts approximately 50% higher bandwidth and 100% additional capacity compared to the previous HBM2. SK Hynix's HBM2E supports over 460 GB (Gigabyte) per second bandwidth based on the 3.6 Gbps (gigabits-per-second) speed performance per pin with 1,024 data I/Os (Inputs/Outputs). Through utilization of the TSV (Through Silicon Via) technology, a maximum of eight 16-gigabit chips are vertically stacked, forming a single, dense package of 16 GB data capacity.

SK Hynix's HBM2E is an optimal memory solution for the fourth Industrial Era, supporting high-end GPU, supercomputers, machine learning, and artificial intelligence systems that require the maximum level of memory performance. Unlike commodity DRAM products which take on module package forms and mounted on system boards, HBM chip is interconnected closely to processors such as GPUs and logic chips, distanced only a few µm units apart, which allows even faster data transfer.

SK Hynix Named as Memory & Storage Solutions Partner to Support Latest AMD EPYC 7002 Series

SK Hynix Inc. announced today that its DRAM and Enterprise SSD (eSSD) solutions, including the up-to-date 1Y nm 8 Gb DDR4 DRAM, have been fully tested and validated with the new AMD EPYC 7002 Generation Processors, which were unveiled during AMD's launch event on August 7. The Company has worked closely with AMD to provide memory solutions fully compatible with the 2nd Gen AMD EPYC Processors, targeting high performance data centers.

The SK Hynix DDR4 DRAM supports the maximum speed of 3200 Mbps of the 2nd Gen EPYC Processors, which will increase memory performance more than 20% compared to the 1st Gen AMD EPYC Processors. The Company's various DDR4 DRAM solutions, based on the 1Xnm and 1Y nm technology with density of 8 Gb and 16 Gb, have been fully tested and validated with the 2nd Gen EPYC Processors. SK Hynix provides high-density DIMMs with density over 64 GB to support up to 64 cores per socket in the 2nd Gen EPYC.

SK Hynix also provides a full line-up of SATA and PCIe from 480 GB to 8 TB, which have also been validated and tested with the 2nd Gen EPYC. SK Hynix's eSSD solutions are optimized for the latest data center's read-intensive and mixed workload environment.

SK Hynix Starts Mass-Producing World's First 128-Layer 4D NAND

SK Hynix Inc. announced today that it has developed and starts mass-producing the world's first 128-Layer 1 Tb (Terabit) TLC (Triple-Level Cell) 4D NAND Flash, only eight months after the Company announced the 96-Layer 4D NAND Flash last year.

The 128-Layer 1 Tb NAND chip offers the industry's highest vertical stacking with more than 360 billion NAND cells, each of which stores 3 bits, per one chip. To achieve this, SK Hynix applied innovative technologies, such as "ultra-homogeneous vertical etching technology," "high-reliability multi-layer thin-film cell formation technology," and ultra-fast low-power circuit design, to its own 4D NAND technology.

SK Hynix Reports Second Quarter 2019 Results

SK hynix Inc. today announced financial results for its second quarter 2019 ended on June 30, 2019. The consolidated second quarter revenue was 6.45 trillion won while the operating profit amounted to 638 billion won and the net income 537 billion won. Operating margin for the quarter was 10% and net margin was 8%.

As demand recovery did not meet expectations and price declines were steeper than expected, the revenue and the operating profit in the second quarter fell by 5% and 53%, respectively, quarter-over-quarter (QoQ). DRAM bit shipments increased by 13% QoQ as the Company actively responded to the mobile and PC DRAM markets, where demand growth was relatively high. However, DRAM prices remained weak and the average selling price dropped by 24%. For NAND Flash, the bit shipments increased by 40% QoQ because of demand recovery due to price declines, while the average selling price decreased by 25%.

Japan-Korea Trade Spat and Toshiba Blackout Hike DRAM Prices by 20 Percent

Prices of DRAM shot up by 20 percent as Japan put in place export curbs that restrict high-technology exports to South Korea, and as Toshiba recovers from a power blackout that temporarily halted production. This could impact prices of end-user products such as PC memory modules, or consumer electronics, such as smartphones, in the coming weeks, as inventories either dry up, or are marked-up at various stages of the supply-chain. The memory industry is inter-dependent between fabrication and packaging units spread across South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.

Memory and flash industry observer DRAMeXchange reported that spot-pricing of 8-gigabit DDR4 DRAM chips, which is used as a benchmark for DRAM pricing as a whole, closed at USD $3.74 at the end of trading on Friday (19/07). It's up 14.6 percent week-over-week, and 23 percent up pricing as on 5th July. An industry observer who spoke with KBS World notes that the recent hikes are not directly infuenced by the trade-spat between Japan and Korea, but rather a power blackout experienced at a Toshiba DRAM manufacturing facility last month. The observer noted that if the trade-spat affects production at Samsung Electronics or SK Hynix, DRAM prices could "skyrocket."

SK Hynix Starts Mass-Producing World's First 128-Layer 4D NAND, Working on 176-Layer NAND

SK hynix Inc. announced today that it has developed and started mass-producing the world's first 128-Layer 1 Tb (Terabit) TLC (Triple-Level Cell) 4D NAND Flash, only eight months after the Company announced the 96-Layer 4D NAND Flash last year.

The 128-Layer 1 Tb NAND chip offers the industry's highest vertical stacking with more than 360 billion NAND cells, each of which stores 3 bits, per one chip. To achieve this, SK hynix applied innovative technologies, such as "ultra-homogeneous vertical etching technology," "high-reliability multi-layer thin-film cell formation technology," and ultra-fast low-power circuit design, to its own 4D NAND technology.

The new product provides the industry's highest density of 1 Tb for TLC NAND Flash. A number of companies including SK hynix have developed 1 Tb QLC (Quad-Level Cell) NAND products, but SK hynix is the first to commercialize the 1 Tb TLC NAND Flash. TLC accounts for more than 85% of the NAND Flash market with excellent performance and reliability.
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