Samsung moves to lower flash memory prices

South Korea's Samsung has started moving its flash memory chip production to an advanced process that will help it considerably lower its chip production costs.

Samsung Electronics has started producing its first NAND flash memory chips on an advanced process, a move that will help lower the cost of memory cards for consumers in time for the year-end shopping season, according to an analyst.

South Korea's Samsung has started producing memory chips on a 70 nanometer (nm) process technology, the most advanced in the industry for this type of memory, it said Monday.

Flash chips retain data when their power supply is switched off. NAND flash is a type of flash memory commonly used in memory cards and in MP3 players, for example.

The 70 nm process is one stage more advanced than the 90 nm technology commonly used to make many kinds of chips including NAND flash. Memory chips produced by the more advanced process are smaller, faster, and less expensive than those made with the industry-standard 90 nm process, according to Kim Soo-Kyoum, program director for semiconductor research at market research company IDC. The reference to size used to describe a chip-making process refers to the average feature size on a chip built using that process. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter.

Using the new process will enable Samsung, already the world's biggest NAND flash maker, to produce 50 percent to 60 percent more chips from a single wafer using the 70 nm process compared to the number of chips it is able to get from the same-size wafer using the 90 nm process, he said.

Nearly a third of all the company's NAND flash production will be on the 70 nm process by the end of the year, according to Park Sung Hae, a Samsung Electronics spokeswoman.

Samsung had nearly a 60 percent share of the NAND chip market at the end of March, while Japan's Toshiba was the second biggest supplier with about a quarter of the market, according to IDC's Kim.

Both companies are aggressively expanding production using more advanced technology and Samsung's move in particular will force down chip prices, he said.

Samsung is planning to raise its production from about 240,000 wafers per month now to as high as 290,000 wafers per month by the end of the year, he said.

Toshiba produces about 95,000 wafers a month now and will raise its total production by about 20 percent by the end of the year, using a factory it has just finished building, according to Makoto Yasuda, a spokesman for Toshiba.

At the moment the production of NAND flash chips is roughly equal to demand. But the increased production of lower-priced chips by Samsung should lead to an oversupply of chips toward the end of the year, Kim said.

Prices for 2G-bit NAND chips, a common type of NAND chip, could halve from today's price to about US$7 per chip by December. This price could halve again by the end of next year as more makers produce even more chips, he said.

The lower chip prices could lead to memory cards retailing for about a fifth less at the end of the year compared to what they cost now, Kim said.

"It's a war and memory cards are going to get to be a lot cheaper," he said.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Paul Kallender

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?