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Samsung gains DRAM market share as 40nm production ramps

24 August 2010 | By Mark Osborne | News > Fab Management

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Continuing its aggressive technology node migrations, Samsung has gained market share in DRAM in the second quarter, according to iSuppli Corp. Its aggressive ramp using 40nm lithography technology saw bit production increase dramatically enabling its dominant market position to increase to 35.4%, up from 32.6% in the first quarter. Samsung produced 1.2 billion 1Gbit-density-equivalent DRAM units in Q2, up 13% from 1.1 billion in the first.

“Samsung’s memory business long has pursued a strategy of taking the leadership in investment in new manufacturing processes, allowing it be the first to move to advanced semiconductor process geometries, and thus enabling the company to make semiconductors at a lower cost and at greater efficiency than its competitors,” said Mike Howard, senior analyst for DRAM technology at iSuppli. “The company’s aggressive push into 40nm semiconductor lithography for DRAM manufacturing boosted the volume of its bit production dramatically. Meanwhile, Samsung’s broad DRAM portfolio, including high-end devices like mobile and legacy parts, allowed it to achieve an Average Selling Price (ASP) higher than the industry average.”

According to the market research firm the DRAM industry saw revenue in the second quarter soar to US$10.8 billion, up 14.4% from US$9.4 billion in the first quarter, the best that the industry had seen since the end of 1995.

Growth was driven by a nearly 5% increase in bit shipments and a 9% rise in ASP. Shipments for the period came in at 3.56 billion 1Gbit-equivalent units, the highest level ever, according to iSuppli. Indeed, 2010 could possibly generate the highest annual growth in the history of the industry, iSuppli said.

Not everyone is benefitting as much as Samsung, noted iSuppli. Micron Technology was said to have posted the weakest growth among the Top 5 DRAM suppliers with revenue rising by 4.1% to US$1.43 billion, up from US$1.38 billion in the first quarter, memory pricing and forecasts show.

Micron struggled during the second quarter, likely due to manufacturing challenges at its Inotera facility.

”Inotera has had the daunting task over the past few quarters of not only transitioning to the 50nm process node but also of migrating from Qimonda’s trench technology to Micron’s stack technology,” Howard said. “Once it is past this challenge—which appears to be the case—Inotera should be able to achieve outstanding bit growth for the duration of 2010.”

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