More gloom for DRAM as price drop continues

The DRAM market faces more doom and gloom as falling spot prices are compounded with testing and packaging firms shifting focus away.

There has been little in the way of good news in this area of the memory market of late, and as oversupply continues to push chip prices down there is not much optimism for a turnaround later this year.

According to Digitimes, spot quotes for mainstream 2GB DDR3 have plummeted below $1, while same-density effectively tested (eTT) chips nearing $0.70.

Blame rests partially in the decline for the desktop PC market, say some industry watchers.

If there is some hope of a market boost it will likely come with the move to the 20 nanometre process. This will help lower production costs as well as enabling more compact memory, which could capitalise on the boom in mobile computing.

Many DRAM firms are pushing on with plans to become more efficient as Samsung leads the way.  It has been reported that it could prove too costly to jump to 20nm any time soon, but if reports are correct then a few companies might have been convinced of a need for a whip-round.

Not that much persuasion is needed any more.  There was further bad news from Digitimes that packaging and testing firms in the PC DRAM market are looking for the exit door.

With Silicon Precision Industries (SPIL) having left the DRAM packaging and testing business to concentrate on backend services for logic ICs, equipment was sold to ChipMOS.  But now ChipMOS has also indicated that it will be refocusing on LCD driver ICs and flash products instead of PC DRAM.

Meanwhile Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE) has let slip plans to reel in its DRAM packaging and testing arm, ASE Power Technology.  If it keeps on suffering losses then it may end up merging with its parent company.

ASE Power had flogged some of its testing equipment to Powertech Technology (PTI) and Walton, two major memory packaging and testing firms.  

Unsurprisingly in the merry-go-round of despair that is the DRAM market there are concerns for these two following expectations for an even weaker third quarter.