It's a DRAM Disgrace - Micron Plant Fault Suspends DRAM Fabrication, Prices Likely to Rise

Written by Stuart Thomas on Thu, Jul 6, 2017 12:48 PM

Semiconductor manufacturer Micron has been forced to temporarily close one of its two Taiwanese manufacturing plants due to a malfunctioning nitrogen gas dispensing system. The fault has contaminated both the wafers and the manufacturing equipment itself, forcing its Inotera Fab-2 plant to shut down.

Inotera Fab 2 is responsible for approximately 5.5% of the global production of DRAM, equivalent to approximately 60,000 wafers every month. Those keeping an eye on memory prices will be painfully aware they’ve been creeping upwards over the past year due to incredible demand from the mobile industry. This closure will put an even bigger strain on DRAM production, and will likely result in further price rises for those looking to buy system memory.

While the DRAM manufactured at the Inotera plant is used in a wide variety of devices, the fabrication plant is “mainly responsible for manufacturing Micron’s LPDDR4 products that go into Apple’s supply chain for iPhone". This could lead to a delay in launching the upcoming iPhone 8 or, perhaps more likely, Apple may be forced to hijack alternate production plants in order to hit its targets.

As for when Inotera Fab-2 will be up and running again, Micron says "the restoration of production capacity will be a time-consuming challenge". Fortunately, Micron has said it has a large network of manufacturing plants and any incidents at one can be alleviated by the other plants. With any luck, it shouldn’t be long until production is back in full swing.

However, in the short term at least, expect a price bump in the cost of RAM. TrendForce indicates this is already coming into play with DRAM Contract Prices.

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08:22 Jul-07-2017

LPDDR4 is not used in computers, so if they rise prices, they're c?nts :P

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02:37 Jul-07-2017

Lucky I advised my sister to get 32GB of RAM just in time. Since she purchased her kit (4 months ago) the price has risen by 15%, outrageous. Can't bode well for future GPUs either, with the mining craze still ongoing the midrange GPU prices in Australia has doubled. An RX 580 4GB costs as much as the cheapest 1080, double outrage!

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21:39 Jul-06-2017

Anyone else thinks these periodic "issues" with DRAM factories are perfectly timed to rise the price continuously? Just saying...

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19:35 Jul-06-2017

Only if things weren't bad enough already. May the force be with us! :D

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16:29 Jul-06-2017

As if RAM prices were NOT high enough due to the mobile and laptop market... :/

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16:19 Jul-06-2017

nitrogen gas so toxic and dangerous it's only 78.1% of the atmosphere :P
definitely gonna take a looong time for the manufacturing plants to start working again! lol

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18:41 Jul-06-2017

inhaling too much nitrogen without a proportionate amount of atmospheric gases like oxygen could cause asphyxation which can be VERY fatal. furthermore, nitrogen can displace oxygen in closed spaces which increases the risk.

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16:14 Jul-06-2017

Time for AMD, Nvidia, and Intel to just start designing their own ram then

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01:52 Jul-07-2017

Sometimes nVidia and AMD use Samsung memory or Hynix memory instead of Micron memory. A lot of times it is like rolling dice. You just don't know what you will get. Also the different third party GPU manufacturers will make deals with different memory manufacturers as well. So many times different third party versions of a single card will have different brands of memory. ASUS, MSI, EVGA, ect... will many times use different brands of VRAM. That is why many times people will see varying results for memory OCing between different third party versions of the same GPU. GTX 1070 is a good example.

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14:25 Jul-06-2017

as if they hadn't got expensive enough yet..

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12:55 Jul-06-2017

After video cards for mining here goes the ram with high prices, not so good time for building a new PC.

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13:54 Jul-06-2017

probably worst time since cryptocurrency mining with r9 290 3 years ago..

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