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Friday, August 07, 2009
Elpida Enters Graphics Memory Business

Elpida acquires GDDR technology licenses from Qimonda and starts operations at newly opened Munich Design Center

Elpida Memory, Inc. (Head Office: Chuo-ku Tokyo, Representative: Yukio Sakamoto, President & CEO, hereinafter as "Elpida"), a leading global supplier of Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM), today announced that it reached an agreement with Germany-based Qimonda AG (Head office: Munich, German Representative: Dr. Michael Jaff?, Insolvency Administrator, hereinafter as "Qimonda"), which is now in insolvency proceedings, to acquire Qimonda technology licenses and a portion of the design assets related to Graphics Double Data Rate (GDDR), a memory architecture that has a high-speed data interface for graphic processing applications.

Based on the licenses and assets acquired from Qimonda, Elpida will now join the graphics DRAM business and become a memory solutions company with an expanded range of products and services.

Elpida plans to quickly ramp up a full-fledged GDDR business. GDDR technology development will continue at Elpida's recently built Munich Design Center (Elpida Memory Europe GmbH, Munich branch), where nearly 50 engineers and other former Qimonda employees involved in GDDR development work will take up new posts. Shipments of 1-Gigabit GDDR3 and 1-Gigabit GDDR5 products are expected to begin in the first half of CY 2010. The production of both products is considered to be outsourced to Winbond Electronics Corporation, a Taiwanese company that has experience with Qimonda's process technology. Also, following additional development work by a highly qualified team of engineers working jointly in Germany and Japan, Elpida plans to begin mass production of 2-Gigabit GDDR5 at its Hiroshima Plant starting in the second half of CY 2010.

Because of its high-speed data transfer capability, GDDR is well-suited to graphics processing, which makes it a popular engineering solution among makers of advanced game consoles. GDDR technology is also well-established as a graphics solution among high-end desktop and notebook PCs.

Only a limited number of global DRAM vendors are capable of supplying products across multiple business areas, starting with commodity DRAMs and extending to graphics GDDR DRAMs, high-speed XDR? DRAMs and Mobile RAM? for mobile equipment. By becoming one of the few full-range suppliers, Elpida expects to now play an increasingly important role in the DRAM market.

"Graphics systems now need graphics buffer memory with a data transfer rate of more than 5-Gigabit/sec given the rapidly growing popularity of high-definition format graphics data, 3D graphics and various display formats," said Takao Adachi, Elpida's Chief Technology Officer. "In response to this need we will shortly begin commercial production of GDDR5, for which an even faster data transfer rate of 8-Gigabit/sec may be feasible in the near future. To achieve such high speeds advanced technologies for I/O signal transmission as well as internal high speed circuits are crucial. The important GDDR technologies we have acquired can now contribute not only to Elpida's graphics memory development but also to the improvement of our overall DRAM design technologies."

Elpida's products have received superior evaluations from customers in both the mobile DRAM market, which places emphasis on low power consumption, and the server DRAM market, which values a high degree of memory reliability. With its entry into graphics DRAMs, a market that places a premium on extremely fast speeds, Elpida will now be involved in all areas of the DRAM market. This will enable the company to expand its customer base, improve customer support and establish a considerably stronger business foundation.

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