Micron to ramp up DDR SDRAM production

Micron Technology Inc. plans to ramp up production of DDR (double data rate) SDRAM (synchronous dynamic random access memory) in the light of growing support for the next-generation memory standard, the company announced Wednesday.

The increase in production is led by customer demand, and up to 30 per cent of Micron’s DRAM chip production could be DDR chips by the end of the year, the company said in a statement. It did not say how many chips this translates to.

Micron already has at least one major customer lined up: it signed a deal with Microsoft Corp. to supply DDR memory for the Xbox games console which is expected to ship later this year.

Micron’s announcement comes days after Hynix Semiconductor Inc., the South Korean chip maker formerly known as Hyundai Electronics Co. Ltd., said it had begun supplying DDR chips in volume to Compaq Computer Co. and Hewlett-Packard Co.

DDR is one of two technologies competing in the next-generation memory market, and is supported by processor maker Advanced Micro Devices Inc. as well as many semiconductor makers. Rambus Inc., with support from industry leader Intel Corp., has developed a competing and proprietary technology called Rambus DRAM. At present, it is the only memory technology supported by Intel in chipsets for its Pentium 4 processor, although the company has a DDR compatible chipset in the works.

Micron, one of the biggest supporters of DDR, is keen to increase production to get the benefit of scale and reduce prices to the same level as current generation DRAM chips. Already the price is near, it said, and Jeff Mailloux, director of DRAM marketing at Micron, told IDG News Service at a conference in Taipei earlier this year that the company is dedicated to closing the gap.

Micron Technology, in Boise, Idaho, is at http://www.micron.com/. Hynix, in Seoul, can be contacted at http://www.hynix.co.kr/. Intel, in Santa Clara, Calif., is at http://www.intel.com/. Rambus, in Los Altos, Calif., is at http://www.rambus.com/.