Infineon Technologies of Germany and Taiwan's Nanya Technology have started making DRAM (dynamic RAM) computer memory chips using 90 nanometer production technology, enabling the companies to produce smaller chips at lower costs, they said Thursday.
The manufacturing technology advance is also crucial for the production of higher speed, more power-efficient DRAM chips. The current mainstream chip, 256M-bit DDR (double data rate) DRAM that runs at 400MHz, or DDR-400, is slowly giving way to the next generation chips, dubbed DDR2, which are considered essential for mobile computing devices like laptop PCs due to their power savings features. In a few years, DDR3 will follow. To get to DDR3, DRAM makers have to continue shrinking chip components to ever smaller sizes. Infineon and Nanya said they're already committed to developing even tinier 70-nm technology together.
Infineon is converting a plant in Dresden to use 90-nm technology, and now about 5 percent of its global production capacity uses the new technology. Most of its production remains in older 110-nm systems, the company said. Along with Nanya Technology, the company has started converting production lines to 90-nm production technology at their joint venture, Inotera Memories, in Taiwan. Both the Infineon plant and Inotera are making chips on 300-millimeter silicon wafers. Infineon said the combination of 90-nm etching technology on 300-millimeter wafers cuts costs by increasing the output per wafer by as much as 30 percent over 110-nm technology.
Advances in chip production technology among DRAM makers are a necessary part of their business to ensure cost reductions and the ability to make ever more sophisticated generations of memory chips. The Infineon and Nanya development teams claim they are only the second to roll out 90-nm production technology in their DRAM factories. DRAM leader Samsung Electronics was first.