DigiTimes writes the migration of DRAM memory to the 50nm process node will be a significant investment for DRAM makers:
With leading DRAM players expected to migrate to 50nm-class production starting in the second half of 2008, cash flows among players will be the judging factor to see whether a transition will be smooth or not, as a set of required immersion lithography equipment costs over NT$1 billion (US$31.5 million).
DRAM players do not require the immersion lithography tools when process nodes are still in the 60nm and 70nm area. However, as migration proceeds to 50nm, a considerable capital expenditure (capex) has to be reserved for immersion lithography tool procurement.
One set of immersion lithography tools costs over NT$1 billion. According to industry players' estimates, that one set can support fabrication of approximately 8,000-10,000 wafers on 50nm node. A minimum of 10 sets of these immersion lithography tools are required to bring DRAM makers to an economy scale of production, the players estimate. Also, more capex has to be reserved for updating any process below 50nm, they noted.
Among all major global DRAM makers, Samsung Electronics and Hynix Semiconductor will lead in terms of a transition to 50nm production. Samsung will migrate from 68nm to 56nm and Hynix will move from 66nm to 54nm.