Samsung claims 4-gigabit DRAM breakthroughJune 15, 1998
Web posted at: 11:20 a.m. EDT
by Terho Uimonen
(IDG) -- Hot on the heels of announcing production cutbacks due to plummeting memory chip prices, Samsung Electronics also said it has developed technology that will enable future production of 4-gigabit DRAMs.
Samsung presented its breakthrough 0.13-micron process technology, which will be needed to produce such high-density DRAMs, at the VLSI Symposium held in Hawaii June 9 to 11, the South Korea-based company said in a statement.
The 4-gigabit memory chips are not expected to go into volume production until well into the next decade, although Samsung claims the development breakthrough enables it to bring such devices to market three years earlier than anticipated.
But the newly developed process technology can also be applied to existing products, allowing Samsung to increase its competitiveness in the cut-throat DRAM market through lowering production costs, the company said.
Samsung has already applied the technology to low-end 16Mb DRAM products, and said it has produced a fully working semiconductor with 0.13-micron circuitry.
On Monday, Samsung announced it will cut back its current 16Mb and 64Mb DRAM production in an effort to help stabilize plunging memory prices.
Prior to reaching 4-gigabit densities, DRAM makers are expected to roll out at least four more generations of DRAMs, moving first from today's high-end 64Mb to 128Mb devices, followed by 256Mb and 1-gigabit densities.
Leading memory chip makers, including Samsung and Japanese vendor NEC, have already started shipping sample quantities of 128Mb devices, which equal 16MB of memory and allow for a 64MB module to be built using only four chips.
Samsung had earlier said that by 2002 it expects to start production of 1-gigabit devices, on a 0.18-micron process, but did not give a specific production schedule for the future 4-gigabit devices.
A 4-gigabit DRAM chip will equal 500 megabytes of memory and have the capacity to store the content of around 32,000 standard newspaper pages or 64 hours worth of audio, Samsung said.
Terho Uimonen is a correspondent in the Taipei, Taiwan, bureau of the IDG News Service.
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