Micron CEO Mark Durcan promised investors during the company's earnings call late last week that the firm is making good progress to close the technological gap with Samsung. Durcan explained Micron is confident it can make a speedy switch to a 16nm process and that it can deliver a high bit density on this process.
Market leader Samsung started mass production of its 20nm DRAM in March 2014 and is expected to produce almost 60 percent of its total DRAM output on this process by the end of 2015. As the third largest player in the DRAM market, Micron is currently playing catch up with Samsung. Micron didn't start trial production of its 20nm DRAM until Q4 2014 and only recently began revenue shipments of such memory to its customers. Most of Micron's memory is still made on 25nm and 30nm processes, putting it at a cost-disadvantage versus Samsung.
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“We are currently shipping early production in 20nm DRAM and will continue to ramp throughout the remainder of this year,” said Mark Adams, president of Micron, during the company’s quarterly conference call with investors and financial analysts. “We are expecting bit crossover in the first half of calendar 2016.”
While Samsung has clearly won the 20nm race against other DRAM makers, Micron hopes that it will be able to close the gap with the market leader with its 10nm-class node, the 16nm fabrication process, the company revealed this week. The transition to 10nm-class process could be more important than it sounds.
“We absolutely expect to close the gap with Samsung as we move to 16nm, both in timing and in terms of overall deployed bit density in the market,” said Mark Durcan, chief executive officer of Micron Technology.
Micron also confirmed it recently started shipping 20nm GDDR5 memory chips, presumably with a capacity of 8Gb.