TOKYO -- Elpida Memory Inc. -- the DRAM joint venture between NEC Corp. and Hitachi Ltd. -- today announced plans to build a 300-mm wafer fab for volume production of 256-megabit memories using a 0.13-micron process. Construction on the fab in Hiroshima, Japan, will begin in January and the initial production is slated to start in the first half of 2002.
The partners said the new 300-mm plant will eventually have a capacity of 20,000 wafers per month (equivalent to about 48,000 eight-inch (200-mm) wafers per month). The facility will be located at NEC's Hiroshima complex, and it will have cleanroom space of 17,700 square meters (and total floor space of 22,000).
NEC and Hitachi said the Elpida joint venture will invest ¥160 billion ($1.4 billion) on the new 300-mm fab. NEC and Hitachi said they will make additional investments of ¥20 billion ($180.2 million) in the joint venture to support construction of the fab shell building. The Elpida joint venture currently uses 200-mm wafer fabs operated by NEC Hiroshima Ltd. and Hitachi Nippon Steel Semiconductor Singapore Pte. Ltd. in Singapore.
The 50-50 DRAM venture was formed by NEC and Hitachi last year to pool their manufacturing operations in the competitive memory segment (see Nov. 29, 1999, story). Starting in early 2001, Elpida will begin its own sales operations and well as take on new product development activities (see Sept. 28 story).
Elpida claims to have the first 0.13-micron 256-Mbit DRAM, which has a die size that's 50% smaller than equivalent memory chips made with 0.18-micron process technologies. Samples of the 0.13-micron design are slated to be available in the first quarter of 2001, with volume production set to ramp several months later in the spring. By December 2001, Elpida expects to be fabricating five million 256-Mbit chips per month using the 0.13-micron design.