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Elpida Memory, Japan




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Elpida Memory and Hiroshima Elpida Memory have constructed a second 300mm wafer fab in Hiroshima. The new 300mm DRAM (Dynamic RAM) plant was built next to the company's first 300mm facility and began mass production at the end of 2005. Elpida introduced 85nm processing at the new facility soon afterwards.

The construction area is 23,000m² with a gross floor space of approx. 91,000m², nearly double the size of the previous facility. Elpida is expanding the production capacity of the new fab in several stages leading up to a maximum capacity of 60,000 wafers per month. In Q2 2005, the E300 Fab started an average of 30,000 wafers per month. In November 2005, the E300 Fab handled 45,000 wafers per month, and during December 2005, volume increased to 50,000 wafers per month. The total construction cost is estimated at ¥450 billion to ¥500 billion (around $4.3 billion).

The memory market was around $25 billion in 2004, with Elpida having around 4.5% market share. The company's total output is expected to rise to 90,000 wafers/month from the two plants by 2007. The 300mm wafers will help cut the electricity and water consumption needed to produce ICs.

HIGH DENSITY DRAM

Hiroshima Elpida's first 300mm facility, which began operation in January 2003, primarily manufactures high-density DRAM products for the server market. In 2003, Elpida gained agreements for ¥81.5 billion in investments from Intel, Hitachi, NEC and others. These funded the purchase of new production equipment and raised capacity to 15,000/month.

Elpida makes various types of DRAM, including Double Data Rate SDRAM (Synchronous DRAM), mobile RAM and Direct RDRAM. The company’s 1Gbit DDR2 SDRAM products are made at Hiroshima (there is also a 2Gbit version) as well as Mobile RAM devices for cellular applications, and 0.11-micron Digital Consumer DRAM devices for the consumer electronics market.

DDR2 SDRAM devices are available in a FBGA (Fine-pitch Ball Grid Array) space saving package. The company also sells 256Mbit and 512Mbit DDR SDRAMs featuring data transfer speeds of 266Mbps and 333Mbps. Elpida Memory's 133MHz SDRAM products (cycle time: 7.5ns) include densities ranging from 128Mbit to 512Mbit.

Mobile applications such as cellular phones and PDAs are processing larger amounts of data and sound, including streaming video. This demands fast, high-capacity RAM that consumes less power, and is the driving factor behind Elpida's application-specific Mobile RAM. Elpida has a 512Mbit Mobile RAM for high-density and low-power consumption cellular applications. The 512Mbit chips can be achieved by using two 256Mbit Mobile RAM devices in a Multi-Chip Package (MCP). The single data rate (SDR) EDL5132CBMA Mobile RAM devices are organized as 4M words x 32bits x four banks and transfer data at 400Mbps. The devices are available in small 9mm x 13mm, 90-ball FBGA packages. Their 1.8V operation brings low power consumption in cellular applications.

Elpida is also promoting Direct RDRAM (Rambus Direct RAM) for PCs.

ACQUIRED NEC ASSETS

Under an asset purchase and sales agreement with NEC and NEC Hiroshima, Ltd. Hiroshima Elpida has also acquired land, buildings and facilities that were previously leased from NEC Hiroshima. The purchase price was approximately ¥34 billion. Elpida used the agreement to improve its prototype development and mass-production capabilities.

Hiroshima Elpida Memory, Inc. was established on 1 September 2003 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Elpida Memory, Inc. Elpida Memory makes DRAMs with headquarters based in Tokyo, Japan, and sales and marketing operations located in Japan, North America, Europe and Asia. Elpida is a joint venture company formed by NEC and Hitachi on 20 December 1999 and has been in operation since April 2000.