Elpida Memory Inc. last week said that it will take over management of NEC Corp.'s 200mm-wafer fab in Hiroshima, which had been serving as a foundry supplying DRAMs to Elpida. The company last week also introduced a 512-Mbit DDR400 SDRAM and 1Gbyte PC-3200 DIMM employing the high-speed memory chip.
NEC will continue to own the assets at its Hiroshima fab, but Elpida will lease the facility under a separate subsidiary and will install its own management. The fab can manufacture 30,000 wafers a month.
The plant produces SRAM and other semiconductor devices in addition to DRAM. Jim Sogas, vice president of sales and marketing for Elpida Memory (USA) Inc., Santa Clara, Calif., said the fab will continue to produce its current mix of products, but under the deal will begin serving as a foundry supplying NEC with chips--excluding DRAM.
"Elpida is assuming control of the NEC 200mm fab as part of a plan to build up our factory operation," Sogas said.
Elpida also owns and operates its own fab in Hiroshima--a 300mm plant with a run rate of more than 3,000 wafers a month that is expected to ramp to more than 15,000 wafers a month by the end of the year.
Hitachi Ltd., which together with NEC created Elpida as a joint DRAM manufacturing effort, will also continue to supply Elpida with DRAM on a foundry basis from a fab in Singapore, according to Sogas.
Powerchip Semiconductor of Taiwan and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. of China also serve as DRAM foundries for Elpida.
Elpida's 512Mbit DDR400 SDRAM and 1Gbyte PC3200 DIMM are sampling now with volume production expected in December.
Jun Kitano, director of technical marketing at Elpida Memory (USA), said extending the 512Mbit density to DDR400 will provide even greater performance for desktop PCs and workstations.
All 512Mbit speed grades, from DDR266 through DDR400, will see a market ramp-up next year, according to Kitano, who estimated that 512Mbit SDRAM will reach the same level of demand as 256Mbit memory by the end of next year or early in 2005.
Elpida's 512Mbit DDR-400 is available in a 64-Mbit ¥ 8-bit configuration in a TSOP package. It has a latency of either 3-3-3 or 3-4-4, referring respectively to CAS latency, RAS-to-CAS delay, and row precharge.
The chip, manufactured at Elpida's 300mm fab in Hiroshima on an 0.11-micron process, is sampling for $62, but this could vary depending on quantities ordered, the company said.
The PC3200 DIMM, containing 16 of the 512Mbit DDR400 chips, is sampling in a x8 configuration at $1,000 or in a x72 configuration supporting error correction code at $1,124.