Sun, Aug 12, 2007 - Page 11 News List

Elpida to produce 65nm DRAMs in bulk by next March


Japanese semiconductor maker Elpida Memory Inc plans mass production of 65-nanometer DRAMs by March next year, becoming the first in the business to do so, a report said yesterday.

The 65nm DRAMs have narrower circuit widths and smaller surface areas than conventional 70nm versions, helping to boost productivity and lower costs by 30 percent, the Nikkei newspaper reported, without citing sources.

Once mass production starts at its Hiroshima plant in western Japan, Elpida will introduce the technology at Taiwan-based Rexchip Electronics Corp (瑞晶), a joint venture between Elpida and Powerchip Semiconductor Corp (力晶半導體), the Nikkei said.

Capital spending is likely to be kept down because only some equipment will require upgrades to be compatible with the state-of-the-art technology, it added.

Many DRAM manufacturers in South Korea, Taiwan and elsewhere have logged operating losses owing to falling DRAM prices and are now putting off planned capital investments.

However, Elpida, the world's fourth-largest DRAM producer with roughly a 10 percent market share, stayed profitable thanks to rising sales of chips for mobile telephones.

On Aug. 2, Powerchip Semiconductor, Taiwan's biggest maker of computer memory chips, signed a NT$59 billion (US$1.8 billion) syndicated loan to finance new equipment and the establishment of a new 12-inch wafer fabrication plant.

Powerchip will use NT$20 billion of the money to buy new equipment, which will upgrade the chipmaker's manufacturing technology from 90nm to the new 70nm technology in its 12-inch factory, the company said in a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

The other NT$39 billion would be offered to Rexchip Electronics to build four 12-inch fabs in Taichung, the statement said.

Additional reporting by Jessie Ho

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