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Some Memories Never Die

10/28/2014 11:40 AM EDT
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TommyV
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Re: Preventing obsolescence
TommyV   11/8/2014 3:17:17 AM
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@msporer: Right, the masks are unusuable, but per my understanding this is an inventory of finished wafers that Alliance took from Micron. Nobody can tell for how long this lasts, which is a certain risk that supply can end at any time without notice.

Obsolescence management is important, but it is difficult to impossible for customers to perfectly estimate the future need and place an exactly matching Last Time Buy quantity.

If a replacement made in a newer process technology is available (as for these parts there is, see the message from nurbano), it makes more sense to approve that and keep the freedom of booking 'on demand'.

msporer
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Re: Preventing obsolescence
msporer   11/7/2014 3:42:56 PM
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Saving the masks is not enough. Most memories are run on proprietary processes unique to the manufacturer.  Once that process is removed from the fab the old masks are worthless.  The volumes needed on the old devices never justify investing in a new design.  The onus is on the customers to manage their obsolescence requirements.

TommyV
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Re: Is it is a sustainable model of business
TommyV   11/4/2014 3:11:48 AM
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@nurbano: You are right. The Micron/Alliance part is a dinosaur manufactured in a 115nm process, which is around 10 years old. There is for sure no more production possible of these parts, so Alliance might just sell off the old wafer-stock from Micron, lasting for an unknown period of time.

Intelligent Memory confirmed using a current 45nm process.

A simple cross reference list:

512Mb x16 TSOP54  MT48LC32M16A2P -> IM5116SDBBTG

256Mb x8 TSOP54    MT48LC32M8A2P -> IM2508SDBBTG

256Mb x16 TSOP54  MT48LC16M16A2P -> IM2516SDBATG

Many small form factor customers use BGA54 packages which Micron had only up to 256Mb, but IM offers these up to 512Mb !

512Mb x16 BGA54  Micron N/A    -> IM5116SDBBBG

256Mb x16 BGA54  MT48LC16M16A2BG or MT48LC16M16A2B4 -> IM2516SDBBBG

 

nurbano
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Re: Is it is a sustainable model of business
nurbano   11/3/2014 9:38:31 AM
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Sustainability is certainly an issue. There is a limitation as to how long and how many of this version will be produced, specifically regarding the device noted in the article. If anyone reading here has designed around this density of SDR, then you are keenly aware of just how difficult a part it has become to source. 

For longer sustainability, I would recommend looking into Intelligent Memory. They have released a sustainable, new revision of the 512Mb SDR that is pin for pin compatible along with several other densities. 

 

Kinnar
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Re: Is it is a sustainable model of business
Kinnar   10/30/2014 5:38:52 AM
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You are right, but in today's era there is not a single person who gets tied up with one company or organisation for longer duration, everyone is jumping here and there for salary hikes, technical people does not believe in getting associated with one company for long, at the same time companies are also not looking for long-term associations with employees as their targets are promoting short term job durations. So in this case does any buddy will be looking for 10-20 year product continuation? Infect no one will be worried about it in any organisation.

Sanjib.A
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Re: Preventing obsolescence
Sanjib.A   10/29/2014 11:48:18 PM
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@MP Divakar: Thanks for your suggestions. Yes, that could be another path and as you have rightly said that the price would be more as the volume is pretty less (~10,000 per annum).

Sanjib.A
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Re: Preventing obsolescence
Sanjib.A   10/29/2014 11:37:56 PM
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@elizabethsimon: It is a 16-MBit (1M x 16) 3.0V burst mode only NOR FLASH originally from AMD and then acquired by Spansion. This has gone EOL phase quite sometime back (more than a couple of years). I don't remember the part# now, it might be something like S29AL016xxx (AM29LV160xxx) if I remember it correct.

docdivakar
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Re: Preventing obsolescence
docdivakar   10/29/2014 4:11:51 PM
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@Sanjib: if the chip vendor still has the mask sets stored away some where, there is a possibility that you can run many wafer lots and package them. There are many OSATS in Philippines and Malaysia that run lines of TSSOPs, TOs, etc. They will cost more since the volumes will be low.

MP Divakar

elizabethsimon
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Re: Preventing obsolescence
elizabethsimon   10/29/2014 3:57:35 PM
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For FLASH memory, it depends on what part you are trying to replace. I'm also working for a company with long life span products and have had some experience with FLASH obsolescence. For most 5V FLASH parts I was not able to find replacements that met our requirements. I was able to replace one of the obsolete parts with a Micron part and also looked at parts from AMIC and Macronix which almost worked.

I've been with this company for about 6 years and have been involved with three rounds of FLASH obsolescense so I understand what a pain it can be.

 

LarryM99
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Re: Is it is a sustainable model of business
LarryM99   10/29/2014 3:23:17 PM
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@Kinnar, parts obsolescence has to be managed as a risk to the product just like any other. Even if companies like this extend the lifetime of components there is the risk that the price will go up. As you point out, lower volumes can cause that, particularly if the manufacture of the parts goes into a single-source. Companies really need to plan ahead for obsolescence and create alternatives for themselves to avoid being boxed into a corner. Too many of them don't do this and instead just react.

Larry M.

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