SAN JOSE, Calif. - Taiwan's Powerchip Technology Corp. has re-entered the DRAM business-after only a three-month hiatus.
In January of 2011, Powerchip exited the commodity DRAM market, and transferred the business over to Japan's Elpida Memory Inc. Powerchip wanted to focus on the foundry business.
Now, Powerchip has updated its current business model. Japan's Elpida has agreed for Powerchip to acquire Elpida's mobile DRAM technology and sales rights for the products. Elpida will continue to develop, sell and make mobile DRAM.
As before, Elpida will purchase all commodity DRAM products that Powerchip will manufacture, including the current portion which Powerchip has been selling as Powerchip branded products. Elpida will sell those products as Elpida's house brand products.
Combining self-developed NAND technology, Powerchip said it ''is able to address the rapidly growing mobile application market, providing a complete memory product portfolio.''
Powerchip will also allocate 50 percent of its 300-mm wafer capacity to wafer foundry by the year end.
As expected, Elpida announced that it will commence ''full-scale mass production'' of 30-nm process DRAM in May 2011. Elpida completed development of advanced 30-nm process DRAM in September of 2010 and started shipping 2-gigabit samples to customers in December of the same year.
Elpida will mass produce the 30-nm process DRAM at its 300-mm Hiroshima Plant in Japan as well as at Taiwan-based Rexchip Electronics Corp.
Mass production of 30-nm 2-Gbit DDR3 SDRAM for PC applications will start in May 2011, followed by 4-Gbit DDR2 mobile RAM and 4-gigabit DDR3 SDRAM. Elpida's Hiroshima fab will devote 20 percent of its production capacity to manufacturing the new 30-nm process DRAM in the second quarter. It will be ramped up to 30 percent in the third quarter.
Rexchip will start manufacturing 30-nm process DRAM in the third quarter.
Taiwan DRAM rival Nanya Technology Corp. has also entered the mobile RAM market. The company shipped its 8-Gbit LPDDR2 devices using four 2-Gbit chips in a quad die package (QDP)-reportedly based on designs from its partner-Micron Technology Inc.
Mobile DRAM is a hot market.