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New Milestones for Semiconductor Tech

Posted October. 20, 2006 03:02,   


Samsung Electronics announced on October 19 that it has developed the world’s first 50-nanometer DDR2 DRAM memory chip.

The new memory chip will be applied in devices that require high-speed movement, such as game consoles and mobiles phones, and is expected to go into production from 2008.

Cho Nam-yong, vice president of the semiconductor division of Samsung Electronics, held a press conference on this day at the main conference hall in the Samsung Electronics headquarters located in Jung-gu, Seoul, and said, “We reduced the width of the semiconductor circuit lines to 50nm, allowing for dense integration.”

Samsung Electronics expects the market for this product to reach $5 billion by 2008, and $55 billion by 2011.

50nm 1Gb DRAM, Smart and Fast-

Samsung Electronics explained that a new 3D transistor technology was applied in the manufacturing process to increase speed and data storage capabilities. The size of the transistor was reduced by transforming the electric current channel into a three-dimensional space.

Productivity has improved 55% compared to the previous 68nm 1Gb chip’s manufacturing process

“The 55nm DRAM’s data processing capabilities are more than two times faster than that of the 80nm DRAM,” said Cho.

Samsung Electronics currently focuses on the 80nm 512Mb/1Gb DRAM, and the 90nm 512Mb/1Gb DRAM. The company introduced the 70nm 512Mb last October but due to weak demand developed the 68nm 1Gb DRAM last December and is currently planning to start production early next year.

Since Hynix Semiconductor is also planning to start producing its own 66nm 1Gb DRAM next year after winning approval from Intel in the US, there is speculation that the 60nm DRAM may soon come into common use.

DRAM Market Thriving-

The DRAM, originally used for personal computers and servers, are now applied in home game consoles and mobile phones due to the growing demand for graphic DRAM that provides sophisticated 3D graphics.

Samsung Electronics is targeting next generation game consoles. Starting with providing graphic DRAM to Microsoft’s Xbox 360 early this year, Samsung will also provide chips to Sony’s PlayStation and Nintendo’s Wii by the end of the year.

Prospects for the DRAM market are more bullish due to the fact that Microsoft is planning to unveil its new operating system Windows Vista by year-end. The Windows Vista, which has come out six years after the company introduced the Windows XP in 2001, demands more memory and faster data processing capabilities.

Pushed by the surging demand for DRAM chips, Samsung Electronics is expected to raise $10 billion from DRAM sales, the highest amount for a single semiconductor product.

Meanwhile, the size of the global DRAM market is expected to reach $39.3 billion next year from $30 billion this year, according to US market research group Dataquest.

kimsunmi@donga.com jaykim@donga.com