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Report: DRAM capex to drop 47% this year

Posted: 08 Jan 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:DRAM capex down? 50nm process node? DDR2?

DRAMeXchange forecasts a decline in capital expenditure amongst global DRAM makers of 47 percent compared to the previous year.

The researchers blame a slowdown in technology node migrations at the major DRAM producers for the dramatic capex declines predicted, as companies struggle to combat increasing losses and preserve cash.

Capital expenditure is expected to be $7.1 billion this year, down from the estimated $13.4 billion in 2008, and a far cry from the $21.4 billion DRAM makers spent in 2007, which was a 30 percent increase on that achieved in 2006.

According to the firm, Taiwanese DRAM suppliers such as Powerchip Semiconductor and its JV, Rexchip, are expected to delay the move to a 50nm process and only use a 65nm process at its current fabs. Elpida is also expected to maintain DDR2 production at the 70nm and 65nm nodes, while only migrating DDR3 to its 50nm process technology.

Even market leader Samsung is expected to lower spending in 2009, a move that will influence the pace of its node migration from 68nm to 56nm technology, according to DRAMeXchange.

The researchers also note that even though Nanya and Inotera are expected to switch to Micron's stack technology, they may adopt a less aggressive migration, employing a 68nm node before migrating to the more advanced 50nm node, which could require the use of immersion lithography, something Micron has already transitioned to with its most advanced process node in current production.

- John Walko
EE Times Europe

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