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  • Toshiba, Fujitsu Cooperate in 1Gb DRAM Development
  • December 8, 1998 (TOKYO) -- Toshiba Corp. and Fujitsu Ltd. said that they have reached an agreement covering comprehensive cooperation in the advanced memory microchip business.
    As part of the collaboration, the companies will jointly develop 1-gigabit dynamic random access memory (DRAM) microchips with a 0.13-micron design rule, targeting commercial production by the end of fiscal 2001.

    Toshiba and Fujitsu will jointly design and test manufacture the next-generation 1Gb DRAM microchips at Toshiba's Advanced Microelectronics Center, a research institute in Isogo, Yokohama. Toshiba and Fujitsu will have about 100 engineers working at the center and will invest 30 billion yen (US$250 million) in the DRAM development project.

    The 1Gb DRAM microchip will have a die size (chip area) no larger than 250 sq. mm. The two companies will consolidate advanced process and device technologies to be developed, officials at Toshiba and Fujitsu said.

    They now use different memory cell structures for their DRAM microchips -- the trench type and the stack type.

    The companies have not yet unveiled the cell structure choice of the next-generation DRAM microchips.

    Nikkei Microdevices believes that the memory cell to be developed will be a stack type because Toshiba said that it has not abandoned the trench cell structure for embedded DRAM microchips and because the development of new capacitor materials with a high dielectric constant is an urgent issue.

    Toshiba sought to utilize the Yokohama center due to the understanding that the trend in technology is shifting from DRAMs to other microchips, said Koichi Suzuki, senior vice president of Toshiba.

    Toshiba has been developing 0.15-micron process technology in the United States jointly with IBM Corp. and Siemens AG of Germany. The Tokyo-based company proposed that the 0.13-micron process technology be developed through collaboration in Yokohama, but both IBM and Siemens preferred the United States to Yokohama, Toshiba officials said.

    Fujitsu senior vice president Kazunari Shirai said Fujitsu wanted to concentrate engineers at a research institute because it is not efficient to develop innovative technology at two separate locations.

    Fujitsu collaborated successfully with Advanced Micro Devices Inc. of the United States on flash memory microchips that were developed by engineers concentrated at a research facility.

    Toshiba and Fujitsu are finishing their plans for the joint development effort and they will start developing the microchips in January. Although Toshiba and Fujitsu announced on Dec. 3 that they would jointly develop 1Gb DRAMs, the collaboration will be upgraded to include discussions of expanded product lines and joint manufacturing.

    The formation of other such corporate microchip alliances may soon follow, industry analysts said.

    More information in English is available at: http://www.fujitsu.co.jp/hypertext/news/1998/Dec/3-e.html

    Related stories:
    � Fujitsu to Reorganize Singapore Microchip Assembly Plant
    � Toshiba Sees Red in '98 Half-Year, First Time in 48 Years
    � Fujitsu's FY98 Interim Ordinary Profit Plunges 88 Percent

    (Nikkei Microdevices)

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    Updated: Mon Dec 7 14:43:31 1998 PDT