Aug. 31, 2015, 2:49 AM
- The combined effects of China's economic slowdown, a maturing smartphone industry and market volatility are sending jitters through Asian electronic-parts suppliers, which have long-relied on Chinese manufacturing muscle and consumer demand to power growth.
- Earlier this month, research firm Gartner said smartphone sales in China fell for the first time in Q2, while IDC forecasts smartphone shipments in the country to grow just 1.2% this year, down from 19.7% in 2014.
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Aug. 25, 2015, 1:22 PM
- A week after SK Hynix's (OTC:HXSCF) parent company said it's thinking of spending KRW46T ($39B) on chip fabs (both for new and existing facilities), Hynix has announced it plans to spend KRW31T ($26B) to build two new fabs.
- The fabs will be finished by 2024; Hynix hasn't disclosed when they'll begin production, or what portion of the output will go towards DRAM relative to NAND flash. Analysts have argued the investments are nothing to be worried about, given the amount of time over which they'll be spread out. HMC's Greg Roh: "The memory chip industry is already firmly controlled by a handful of companies, so there's no reason for any parties involved to start a game of chicken."
- Hynix rose 7.9% overnight in Seoul. Micron (MU +0.6%), which provided a larger-than-expected FY16 capex budget earlier this month, is seeing much smaller gains on a day the Nasdaq is up 2.6%. IHS estimates Samsung had 40% of the 2014 DRAM market, Hynix 27.4%, and Micron/Elpida 24.6%.
Aug. 18, 2015, 9:16 AM
- Less than a month after upgrading SanDisk (NASDAQ:SNDK) to Buy in response to its Q2 beat and in-line guidance, BofA/Merrill has issued a two-notch downgrade to Underperform.
- The firm argues recent memory industry capex hikes suggest a lack of discipline - Micron (NASDAQ:MU) recently set a higher-than-expected FY16 (ends Aug. '16) capex budget of $5.3B-$5.8B, and SK Hynix (OTC:HXSCF) stated yesterday it's considering making $39B worth of new fab investments.
- BofA also points points out recent memory spot price corrections indicate major players continue to compete aggressively, in spite of industry consolidation.
- SanDisk has dropped to $56.37 premarket. The 52-week low is $53.18.
Aug. 4, 2015, 1:15 PM
- SanDisk (SNDK -0.6%) and NAND flash manufacturing partner Toshiba (OTCPK:TOSBF) have begun pilot production of their first 3D NAND chips. The companies have also unveiled a 256Gb (32GB), tri-level cell (X3), 48-layer, 3D NAND chip expected to begin shipping in 2016. They announced a 128Gb, 2-bit-per-cell, chip in March.
- SanDisk/Toshiba proclaim their 48-layer 3D NAND technology (called BiCS) will deliver superior density and performance, and also yield better write/erase endurance and energy efficiency than 2D NAND. During its Q2 call (transcript), SanDisk stated it expected 3D NAND to account for 15%-20% of industry production by the end of 2016, with SanDisk's output towards the low end of that range.
- Samsung is the early leader in mass-producing 3D NAND, via 32-layer chips. The company's 3rd-gen 3D NAND solution (called V-NAND) is expected to ramp in 2H15. Meanwhile, Intel and Micron showed off a 384Gb tri-level 3D NAND chip in March, which claiming a cost/efficiency edge. More recently, they unveiled 3D XPoint, a next-gen memory technology declared to be up to 1,000 times faster than NAND, and 10x denser than DRAM. Its price and performance are both said to be between NAND and DRAM.
- Separately, SanDisk has extended its IP licensing deal with NAND rival SK Hynix (OTC:HXSCF) to 2023; Hynix will make license and royalty payments over the deal's lifetime. The companies have also settled a trade secret theft suit filed by SanDisk against Hynix, and struck a deal to have Hynix supply DRAM for SanDisk products.
Aug. 3, 2015, 2:29 PM
- Taiwan's Economic Daily News reports Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) plans to cut standard DRAM production by 30%, and shift capacity to mobile DRAM ahead of the iPhone 6S launch. Rival Micron (NASDAQ:MU) is up strongly on a day the Nasdaq is down 0.7%.
- The paper also reports Samsung has notified OEMs it won't be cutting DRAM prices as of August - a move that could lead to higher prices - and (in-line with past reports) that the iPhone 6S will have 2GB of DRAM, up from the 1GB found in the iPhone 6.
- PC DRAM price pressure (caused in no small part by weak PC sales) has been weighing on Micron: The company's DRAM ASP fell 10% Q/Q in FQ3 (the May quarter); FQ4 guidance is for a mid-to-high single-digit drop.
- JPMorgan reported today PC DRAM contract prices fell 15% in July, more than it expected. The industry is hoping Windows 10 (launched last Wednesday to fairly good reviews) will help boost demand.
- Related ticker: OTC:HXSCF
Jun. 16, 2015, 9:22 PM
- Graphics cards based on AMD's anticipated R9 Fury X (water-cooled) and R9 Fury (air-cooled) GPUs will respectively sell for $649 and $549, AMD revealed today at the E3 gaming conference. The Fury X and Fury, based on AMD's next-gen Fiji GPU architecture, sport 1.05GHz.+ and 1GHz. clock speeds to go with 4096 and 3584 stream processors.
- As expected, both GPUs come with 4GB of High Bandwidth Memory (HBM). AMD promises HBM will provide 60% more bandwidth than existing GDDR5 chips and over 3x as much bandwidth per watt, while consuming a fraction of the surface area. SK Hynix (OTC:HXSCF) is producing AMD's HBM chips.
- Fury X cards go on sale on June 24, and Fury cards on July 14. This summer, AMD also plans to launch the R9 Nano, a Fiji/HBM GPU meant for cards that are just 6" long, but which are still promised by AMD to be more powerful than the existing R9 290X (while consuming much less power). A top-of-the-line solution featuring dual Fury X GPUs (the Fury X2) will arrive this fall. AMD has also unveiled Project Quantum, a small-form-factor concept PC containing two Fiji GPUs and split into two sections; it's working with OEMs to bring it to market.
- For more cost-sensitive buyers, AMD has unveiled its R9 and R7 300 series cards, which are based on the older GCN GPU architecture and use GDDR5 memory. R9 300 prices range from $199 for the R9 380 (970MHz., 2GB memory, 1792 stream processors) to $429 for the R9 390X (1.05GHz., 2816 stream processors, 8GB memory). The R7 360 and 370 respectively go for $109 and $149.
- AMD is counting on the GPUs to take back share lost to Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA), and for the Fury line in particular to regain ground in the lucrative high-end segment, where interest in GPU-intensive 4K gaming is acting as a tailwind. Ahead of AMD's reveal, Nvidia launched the GTX 980 Ti, a $649 product only fractionally slower than the $999 GTX Titan X.
- Previously: AMD sets 2H15 guidance, unveils new CPUs, offers ambitious roadmap
Apr. 24, 2015, 11:37 AM
- Possibly weighing on Silicon Motion (SIMO -7.1%) today: Northland Securities observes memory giant SK Hynix (OTC:HXSCF - reported earnings on Wednesday) plans to launch its own NAND controllers for the new/high-speed UFS 2.0 standard in late 2015 or early 2016
- Northland expects UFS 2.0 (used in Samsung's Galaxy S6 and expected to go into Xiaomi's next-gen flagship) to gain share against the widely-used eMMC standard on the high-end, and thinks Hynix's controllers "will likely impact SIMO's share" at the company. It notes Hynix accounts for ~90% of SIMO's eMMC controller business, or ~35% of total revenue.
- SIMO is working on its own UFS 2.0 controllers, which are expected to ship late this year or early next. Northland: "I do not believe that all of the eMMC business is at risk, but this will not be received well by the Street. SIMO will have this as a headwind until they can show that they will not lose significant share at SK Hynix."
- Earlier: SIMO buying Chinese SSD/storage vendor
Jun. 18, 2014, 6:31 PM
- NAND flash contract prices rose 2%-4% in the first half of June, and are set to keep rising in Q3 thanks to orders from Apple (bigger iPhones expected), Chinese smartphone OEMs, and SSD vendors, industry sources tell Digitimes.
- But in spite of strong demand, Micron (MU) is said to be cutting NAND sales to third parties, as it dedicates more output to its Crucial SSD line. Micron, estimated by Gartner to be the #4 SSD vendor in 2013 (behind Samsung, Intel, and SanDisk) reportedly wants to double Crucial shipments Q/Q amid strong market demand.
- Meanwhile, Digitimes reports SanDisk (SNDK) has received major orders from Apple for its upcoming iPhones. Rival SK Hynix (HXSCL) has received smaller orders.
- Micron and SanDisk have already been making new highs on enthusiasm about favorable NAND and (in Micron's case) DRAM supply/demand balances.
Apr. 18, 2013, 6:52 AM
Samsung (SSNLF.PK) will consider using chips from SK Hynix (HXSCF.PK) for future products, according to one of the company's top execs. The move to an outside chip supplier is a reversal of the company's previous policy, but could help prevent supply disruptions for models of its Galaxy X smartphone.| Apr. 18, 2013, 6:52 AM
Feb. 8, 2013, 6:09 PM
Though the PC industry's slump is showing few signs of ending, PC DRAM prices continue to trek higher, thanks in large part to production cuts. DRAMeXchange estimates 4GB PC DRAM prices rose 11% in January, and that PC OEMs "are showing a desire to gradually increase inventory levels." Meanwhile, Digitimes reports 4GB prices are expected to rise another 10% following Chinese New Year holidays. Top manufacturers: MU, SSNLF.PK, HXSCF.PK. (previous)| Feb. 8, 2013, 6:09 PM | 1 Comment
Jan. 18, 2013, 1:55 PM
Contract prices for several popular PC DRAM chips and modules surged 8%-11% in 1H January, per DRAMeXchange. Major production cuts appear to be responsible - top manufacturers have been steadily shifting capacity to mobile/server DRAM and NAND flash memory in the face of slumping PC demand. Sources tell occasionally-accurate Digitimes supply constraints will continue lifting prices until early February. (Micron/Nanya)| Jan. 18, 2013, 1:55 PM
Sep. 24, 2012, 4:05 AM
Rambus (RMBS) "willfully" destroyed documents that could have been used in its IP dispute with Korea's Hynix Semiconductor, a District Court judge has ruled, although he said that Rambus' patents were still valid. Judge Ronald Whyte didn't set a penalty for the U.S. company, although Hynix expects the ruling to "substantially limit" the royalties it will need to pay Rambus for infringing the latter's IP. (PR)| Sep. 24, 2012, 4:05 AM
Sep. 7, 2012, 4:59 AMApple (AAPL) reportedly cuts its orders from Samsung (SSNLF.PK) for DRAM and NAND memory chips for the new iPhone, with beneficiaries including Elpida, Toshiba and SK Hynix. However, Samsung remains the only manufacturer of Apple-designed microchips for the handset, as well as for the iPad. Apple's DRAM and NAND bookings from the Korean giant had been falling before the latest move. | Sep. 7, 2012, 4:59 AM | 6 Comments
Jul. 3, 2012, 6:10 PM
Following Micron's (MU +5.2%) purchase of Elpida, the DRAM industry will have mostly consolidated around Micron, Samsung (SSNLF.PK), and Hynix (HXSCF.PK). That's fueling hopes the industry will not longer witness the kind of brutal price war it saw last year. But DRAM is notoriously cyclical, and, barring actions that would upset regulators, it's likely to remain that way. Much will still depend on how well mobile DRAM demand offsets a PC market that could remain weak for a long time.| Jul. 3, 2012, 6:10 PM
May 21, 2012, 8:13 AMA group of Elpida Memory's bondholders oppose Micron's (MU +2%) bid to buy the bankrupt Japanese firm as too low, Reuters reports. The creditors have therefore contacted South Korea's Hynix (HXSCF.PK) - which dropped out of the auction - and U.S.-based GlobalFoundries about selling the company to them. | May 21, 2012, 8:13 AM | 2 Comments
May 8, 2012, 12:00 PM
Should Micron (MU -3.9%) succeed in acquiring Elpida, as is rumored, the DRAM industry will have largely consolidated around 3 vendors: Samsung (SSNLF.PK - 44% share), Micron (23% share), and Hynix (HXSCF.PK - also 23%). Sterne Agee thinks the Street is worried about the deal's price and Micron's financing needs. However, the firm values Elpida's assets at $7B+, far above Micron's reported $2.5B+ offer.| May 8, 2012, 12:00 PM | 1 Comment