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Samsung takes a big step with chip

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Oct 19,2006
Samsung Electronics said yesterday that it succeeded in applying its latest 50-nanometer technology to develop the world’s first 1-gigabit dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chip. Compared to current 80-nanometer DRAM chips, the new technology will enable Samsung to produce more than double the number of chips on the same wafer. It will also take less electricity to operate personal computers, game consoles and mobile phones at higher speeds. Cho Nam-yong, vice president of Samsung Electronics’ semiconductor division, said the company’s 50-nanometer technology will tear down technology barriers. “We have differentiated ourselves from our competitors by widening the technology gap by more than a year,” he said. “We have made for us, in a sense, the foundation on which Samsung can lead the DRAM market for the next 40 years.” A nanometer is one billion times smaller than a meter; the smaller number of nanometers means that more semiconductors can be drawn from a single wafer. Current technology for chip-making is based on 80-nano technology, which enables the company to produce more than two times more wafers during the same event. DRAM chips are mainly used for computers. The chipmaker said that it will begin mass production of the 50-nanometer DRAM chips in the first quarter of next year, anticipating the global market to grow to 55 trillion won ($57.5 billion) in the next four years. The company attributed Microsoft Corp.’s upcoming Windows Vista operating platform as one of the reasons it foresees robust demand for DRAM chips. “Rising personal computer shipments and higher memory demand per PC will drive the market’s growth next year,” Mr. Cho said. “The peak of the impact from Vista could come in the second half of next year. We expect Vista to create more than $23 billion in demand for main and graphics memory in PC computers over three years from 2007.” Samsung Electronics began its semiconductor business in 1983, and developed the world’s first 64-megabyte DRAM chip that year. According to the global market research firm DataQuest, the global DRAM market has surpassed $30 billion and may grow next year to $35 billion. Samsung said it now has 32 percent of the DRAM market, but it plans to increase that to 36 to 40 percent. by Wohn Dong-hee


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