In a nutshell, DRAM suffers from data and power concerns, NAND flash is plagued by reliability issues, and system integration is becoming more complex...
The analyst do not expect a meaningful acceleration in enterprise SSD adoption in 2010, but his analysis suggests as system availability improves in the second half of 2010, shipments are set to grow dramatically in 2011.
International Bussiness Times
Violin Memory has introduced a 40TB capacity flash memory array for enterprises that uses multi-level cell (MLC) NAND and costs less than US$16 per GB.
"Memory fundamentals have slipped more rapidly than we had anticipated due to weak PC and consumer electronics demand," Auriga USA told clients, adding later: "It now seems highly likely that MU's gross margin will dip over the next several quarters as DRAM and NAND pricing continues to weaken."
Pliant Technology has introduced a new family of lower-cost, higher-capacity solid state drives (SSD) based on consumer-grade NAND flash memory but built for data center use.
As analyst Simon Dong-je Woo notes in a research report, TLC NAND pricing is down about 20% already in the current quarter. And he also reports that SanDisk has more exposure to TLC NAND than other players in the sector, accounting for 65% of the company's overall NAND chip sales.
Toshiba has started construction of Fab 5 at Yokkaichi Operations, its memory production facility in Mie Prefecture, according to the company. The chip vendor also announced it has signed primary agreements with SanDisk for a new joint venture to operate the new facility.
Toshiba, Hynix, Micron and Elpida all moved up at least one position in the top 20 list, with Elpida jumping six spots.
Intel has announced that Intel-Micron Flash Technologies are in mass production of their 25nm NAND flash memory, and Intel is shipping in volume to customers.
The factory will be Toshiba's fifth at its manufacturing base in Yokkaichi in western Japan. It will initially be used to produce conventional NAND flash chips, but Toshiba plans to expand this to new types of 3D memory where chips and components are stacked vertically.
IDG News Service (via PC World)
Pacific Crest Securities has downgraded SanDisk to underperform, saying the maker of memory chips may be headed for a period of flat market dynamics.
Marketwatch.com (Dow Jones)
In the NAND flash rankings for 2009, there is a surprise vendor on the list. According to Web-Feet Research, Samsung Electronics remained the leader in NAND flash in terms of share, followed in order by Toshiba and then SanDisk. SanDisk was ahead of Micron, Hynix and Intel.
Toshiba plans to spend 15 billion yen (US$160 million) in 2010 to build a test production line for advanced flash memory chips, according to the Nikkei business daily. The NAND flash memory vendor has already ordered chip-making equipment from ASML to produce microchips with circuitry widths of less than 25 nanometres.
That's good news for Samsung, but bad news for its memory rivals that use ASML's tools, such as Elpida, Hynix, IM Flash, Micron, Nanya and others. NAND rival Toshiba is said to use scanners from Nikon.
Hynix Semiconductor has claimed it has developed a NAND flash memory chip using 26nm process technology, designed to hold 64 gigabits of data.
The Korea Times
"I think in the next four years or five years, it's probably going to be the case that NAND will no longer be the storage medium," said a flash memory analyst with Forward Insights. "Everybody's looking at alternatives."
Intel wants to avoid the cyclical, market share game in the NAND flash chip sector against the likes of Samsung, Hynix and Toshiba. But Intel dropped hints it wants to unseat Samsung as the No. 1 player in SSDs.
Since the new device apparently will rely heavily on NAND flash for its computing and storage needs, and because the most recent products Apple has produced have tended to sell very well, the NAND flash industry may be looking at a major stabilizing factor.
Micron said that it will be ''shortly'' sampling a 2x-nm NAND device. It did not specify the exact node, but some expect the company will disclose more details in early 2010.
Toshiba may invest 200 billion yen (US$2.2 billion) to expand production of NAND flash memory by about 40% in April 2010, the Nikkan Kogyo newspaper reported without citing anyone.
Hynix Semiconductor plans to invest about 2.3 trillion won (about US$2 billion) in its semiconductor business íV 1.5 trillion won in DRAM and 800 billion won in NAND flash memory and logic íV in 2010, a 130% jump from one trillion won this year.
The Korea Times
Hynix is slated to boost its production capacity of NAND flash memory at its 12-inch, Cheongju fab (M11) to 90,000 wafers per month in 2010 from the current level of 45,000 units, according to industry sources.
Samsung Electronics plans to invest around seven trillion won (US$6.05 billion) in its semiconductor business for 2010 - five trillion won in DRAM and two trillion won in NAND flash memory and system LSI, according to industry sources.
Samsung Electronics, the world's top maker of memory chips and LCD screens, reported on Friday its best ever quarterly net profit on a resurgent memory sector and forecast a strong 2010.
The major supplier of NAND flash silicon invested "millions" in Fusion-io, said Fusion-io President and CEO David Flynn, though he declined to give a more specific figure. The two will jointly evaluate technology for new applications of solid-state storage.
Samsung sees size and power benefits in phase-change memory (PCM), a memory type that is being pushed as a replacement for memory that goes into devices like mobile phones today.
"Of course every transition to a new process has its problems," stated one source who requested anonymity. "We just weren't expecting it to be this slow."
In addition to a DRAM recovery, the NOR and NAND flash memory market has been extremely active. The volume of requests for Spansion and Numonyx flash memory has tripled over the last two months.
The SSD market has been one of several factors that have boosted demand for NAND flash memory and, as a result, boosted NAND flash prices, too. While this trend will likely continue to benefit Micron and SanDisk, it is equally likely to work against STEC in the longer term.
The Flash Memory Summit brought a range of opinions on the state of the NAND industry, scaling, 3-bit-per-cell and solid-state drives (SSDs).
Samsung Electronics and Toshiba said they have received notices from the US Justice Department informing them that an antitrust investigation into the flash-memory chip market had ended.
Wall Street Journal
Eli Harari, founder, chairman and chief executive of SanDisk, made the predications during a keynote. He also warned that the NAND industry is at the "crossroads," as there is a "disconnect" between future capacity requirements and demand.
"On the DRAM side, there are shortages of DDR3 SDRAM due to surprising demand in the server and other markets...The price and demand picture for NAND are also improving," said Brian Shirley, VP of Micron Technology's memory group.
A technologist from Sun Microsystems has commented NAND vendors are going down the wrong path by racing each other in process technology--at the expense of customer needs. He was also critical of SSDs for servers, saying the emerging technology is still too expensive.
The investment in semiconductor in the second half will concentrate on introduction of 40nm DRAM and 30nm NAND, and shifting main process to 50nm and 40nm NAND.
Japan's Toshiba plans to raise its chip production in July to levels not seen since it implemented output cuts in January, national broadcaster NHK has reported, in a move that would reflect an improvement in nationwide output levels.
The Torqx SSD line is one of Patriot's latest releases designed with Patriot's new cutting-edge technology that adds 64MB of DRAM cache in conjunction with its current equipped NAND technology.
SanDisk chief Eli Harari delivered some odd news for folks tracking the memory market: Flash memory prices and demand are actually rising.
According to Gartner Inc analysis, both memory segments showed some pricing gains in the business week ending April 10.