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How PC slump affects memory chipmakers

Posted: 29 Jul 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:HBM? DRAM? NAND? memory?

SK Hynix missed analyst expectations with its reported net income of $960 million for the second quarter due to a slowing demand for DRAM and poor PC sales.

The news came a month after Micron reported its third quarter and lowered its forecast for the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, research firm Gartner recently cut its 2015 worldwide semiconductor sales growth forecast in half to 2.2 per cent because of softness in electronic equipment segments including PCs, and Apple just reported it sold fewer iPads in the most recent quarter than it did in the same year. Semiconductor sales are in a two-year slump due to weak demand for PCs and smartphones, according to the recent Gartner forecast. The research firm said chip growth will return to a more typical 4-5 per cent from 2017-2019.

With the DRAM market for PCs sluggish, SK Hynix said it will increase its focus on high-performance memory chips by expanding production on DDR4, LPDDR4 and NAND flash for mobile and SSDs, as well as 10nm triple level cell (TLC) NAND flash memory chips and its second-generation 3D product.

A recent report from Technavio predicted the global mobile NAND market is expected to grow at 15 per cent CAGR from 2015 to 2019. The research firm said the anticipated higher adoption can be attributed to increased storage capacity as compared to 2D NAND. Technavio flagged SK Hynix as one of the key vendors in the mobile NAND market, as well as Kingston, Samsung, SanDisk, Toshiba and Micron.

SK Hynix has been developing its high bandwidth memory (HBM), which addresses the bandwidth limitations seen with DDR4-type SDRAM and to some extent DDR5. The technology involves stacking four DRAM dies and a logic die, one on top of the other, with die-to-die connections being made using through silicon vias and microbumps.

high bandwidth memory

SK Hynix has been developing its high bandwidth memory (HBM), which involves stacking four DRAM dies and a logic die, one on top of the other.

Micron also attributed its lowered profits to the PC slowdown; and like SK Hynix, is optimistic about mobile and NAND. Shortly after releasing its latest financials, reports of a potential acquisition surfaced. Micron has not made an official statement, and a spokesperson told EE Times via email the company does not comment on speculation or rumours. The company's 2015 Summer Analyst Conference will be held in mid-August.

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