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Saturday, November 12, 2005
Kingmax to Ship 2GB SO-DIMMs Coming Early 2006


Kingmax Semiconductor will begin shipments of 2GB DDR2-533 SO-DIMM products in January 2006, according to Lawrence Chang, vice president of sales and marketing at Kingmax.

In an interview with the Taiwanese website Digitimes.com, Chhang said that these modules will complement the company?s current DDR2-533 SO-DIMM product line, which includes capacities of up to 1GB. According to the Kingmax website, the company also produces DDR2-667 SO-DIMMs at capacities of up to 1GB, while 2GB capacity has also been mentioned for that line of modules.

Kingmax said that DDR2-533 modules are now dominating its DDR2 unit shipments, accounting for more than 95% of its related shipments last quarter. This quarter, the company is expecting growing demand for its DDR2-667 products, but DDR2-533 modules will still account for 85-90% of the company?s DDR2 shipments, Chang stated. Kingmax is considering to source 512Mbit (64x8) DDR2-533 DRAM for the new 2GB DDR2-533 SO-DIMMs from Japan-based Toshiba and US-based Micron, he mentioned.

Chang emphasized that DRAM-market conditions are now different from what the company expected earlier. There is no DRAM shortage in the market, and DDR2 demand is not as strong as predicted, Chang explained. Touching the reasons behind this situation, Chang agreed that DDR2 sales have been impacted by an Intel chipset shortage, but he also pointed out that moving to 90nm processes has opened new opportunities for leading DRAM vendors to maintain stable output even after shifting some capacity to flash memory production.

In the second quarter, the market overheated due to speculative purchases. Later, prices dropped due to that players clearing out their excess inventories, Chang explained. Chang anticipates that oversupply will soon end and he noted that PC demand remains healthy, so he is optimistic about sales for the remaining two months of 2005.

Because DDR2 sales have been slower than expected, small and medium-size DRAM-module houses have had less pressure to invest in equipment supporting ball grid array (BGA) technology. However, when asked if a slower adoption will benefit smaller players in competing in the module business, Chang stated that remains to be seen.

Kingmax continues using 20-30% of DDR2 DRAM supplied in wafers and packaged at its facility at the Hsinchu Industrial Park (Hukou), and the company currently has no intention to increase this proportion. When asked to comment on recent news about out-of-standard TSOP-packaged DDR2 DRAM, which are cheaper compared to standard BGA-packaged DDR2 chips, Chang expressed some skepticism. DDR2 pricing is currently low enough, so stimulating DDR2 demand by leveraging prices does not seem necessary, he reasoned.


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