A slowdown in technology node migrations at the major DRAM producers is adding to the expected capital expenditure cuts in manufacturing as companies struggle to combat increasing losses and preserve cash, according to the latest report from DRAMeXchange. The spending cuts are a direct result of the combined DRAM industry losing approximately US$8 billion in 2008.
Although official CapEx plans for 2009 have yet to be announced, DRAMeXchange expects a decline in spending of 47% in 2009 compared to 2008. Spending in 2009 is projected to be approximately US$7 billion, down from US$13.4 billion in 2008.
Spending will also be impacted by a slowdown in technology node migrations, according to DRAMeXchange. Powerchip Semiconductor (PSC) and its JV, Rexchip, are expected to delay the move to a 50nm process and only employ a 65nm process at its current fabs, all based in Taiwan.
Elpida is also expected to maintain DDR2 production at the 70nm and 65nm nodes, while only migrating DDR3 to its 50nm process technology.
Market leader Samsung is expected to lower spending in 2009, which will also influence the pace of its node migration from 68nm to 56nm technology, DRAMeXchange said.
Although Nanya and Inotera are expected to make the process switch to Micron’s stack technology, they may adopt a less aggressive migration, employing a 68nm node before migrating to the much more advanced 50nm node, which could require the use of immersion lithography, something Micron has already transitioned to with its most advanced process node in current production.