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Thread: Who makes RAM?

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    Who makes RAM?

    Hi,

    Slightly pointless question here that is just puzzling me.

    How many companies actually make RAM? I ask, as there are of course the "big players" that make and market their own RAM, that we all know, to name a few, Samsung, Crucial (Micron), Kingston, Corsair (or do they use someone else's chips?).

    Which brings me onto the next part - do other "RAM" companies make their own chips, or use other companies and market them as their own? so for example, HyperX, Patriot, Ballistix, what do they do?

    The reason I ask, is a while ago I bought some DDR3 RAM from an online shop, which was their own "Value" brand - which means you may get sent anything.

    It was branded as Ultimem, on the sticker as well as etched on the chips. I'd never heard of them, and can't find them on the net either. The RAM works fine, but the fact the name is etched on the chips themselves suggests this unheard of company manufactured the chips? I'd understand if the sticker said "Ultimem" and the chips were manufactured by someone else more......

    Therefore:

    How many companies manufacture and sell their own RAM (like Kingston)
    How many manufacture RAM and sell to third parties?
    Is "Ultimem" an unheard of manufacturer somewhere, or are these rebranded chips, made by a big player, which brand on request for other companies? - so are these chips that have failed a certain quality test, but are still "good enough"?

    Cheers!

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    Re: Who makes RAM?

    Some of them are smaller Chinese players,and some might be rebranded for the companies selling the RAM sticks. ATM,however its mostly dominated by the larger companies who are have bigger fabs,and more volume,and this is why prices are so high. Its kind of like OPEC - they manipulate pricing like a cartel,and have done it many times in the past and have been fined for it.


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    Re: Who makes RAM?

    The only companies to actually manufacture DDR RAM are Samsung, SK Hynix and Micron. That's it. Everyone else buys RAM chips from one or more of those companies, or just resells assembled boards from someone else. Kingston and Corsair do not produce their own ICs. There used to be more e.g. Elpida, but now we're down to those three for mass-produced PC DDR/GDDR memory ICs.

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    Re: Who makes RAM?

    Watercooled pretty much hit the nail on the head from a consumer perspective, however there's also Nanya and NMB Semiconductor but they're so small they hardly register.

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    Re: Who makes RAM?

    Quote Originally Posted by Corky34 View Post
    Watercooled pretty much hit the nail on the head from a consumer perspective, however there's also Nanya and NMB Semiconductor but they're so small they hardly register.
    There are others too like Winbond for example too. Also a number of Chinese companies are also present in the market but are smaller players,but are mostly focused on DDR3 and older memory types.Innotron for example with Chinese government backing is moving over to low power LPDDR4 production. JHICC makes DRAM too but focused on local markets.

    There has been quite a lot of investment by the Chinese government in CPU,DRAM and NAND production so they can be self sufficient and will not have issues with export restrictions for products.


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    Re: Who makes RAM?

    Good call, i couldn't recall the company names of the others or if they were subsidiaries.

    I maybe wrong but doesn't NEC, fujitsu, powerchip and UMC also fabricate DRAM?

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    Re: Who makes RAM?

    Quote Originally Posted by Corky34 View Post
    Good call, i couldn't recall the company names of the others or if they were subsidiaries.

    I maybe wrong but doesn't NEC, fujitsu, powerchip and UMC also fabricate DRAM?
    Not sure,as I do think countries do subsidise some local DRAM and NAND manufacturer partially due to national security considerations.


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    Re: Who makes RAM?

    Note the last part of my post
    mass-produced PC DDR/GDDR memory ICs
    As in the sort of thing you'll see shipped in a modern PC or in readily available DDR4 DIMMs and graphics cards. Apologies if I wasn't too clear. There's not much in the way of competition at the moment!

    There are other memory manufacturers, depending how you define it, and of course the big three also make NAND along with the Sandisk (now WDC)/Toshiba partership and Intel currently partnered with Micron (but not for long apparently).

    I'd actually forgotten about the likes of Nanya and Winbond but it's a while since I've come across anything of theirs! AFAIK they're not currently shipping anything newer than DDR3 either?

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    Re: Who makes RAM?

    Quote Originally Posted by watercooled View Post
    Note the last part of my post

    As in the sort of thing you'll see shipped in a modern PC or in readily available DDR4 DIMMs and graphics cards. Apologies if I wasn't too clear. There's not much in the way of competition at the moment!

    There are other memory manufacturers, depending how you define it, and of course the big three also make NAND along with the Sandisk (now WDC)/Toshiba partership and Intel currently partnered with Micron (but not for long apparently).

    I'd actually forgotten about the likes of Nanya and Winbond but it's a while since I've come across anything of theirs! AFAIK they're not currently shipping anything newer than DDR3 either?
    Well apparently China is putting mega monies into their local NAND and DRAM companies,as I do seem to be not happy with the cartel and their pricing currently:

    https://www.extremetech.com/computin...l-price-fixing

    https://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1331223

    SAN FRANCISCO—China’s state-controlled chip vendor Tsinghua Unigroup Ltd. announced plans to build a $30 billion memory chip in Nanjing, a city in eastern China.

    Tsinghua, which has acquired several chip vendors and facilities over the past few years, is also building a $24 billion memory fab in the Chinese city of Wuhan, announced last March.

    Tsinghua said it plans to build DRAM and 3D NAND flash at the Nanjing fab. The first phase of the project will cost about $10 billion and result in the production capacity to produce 100,000 wafers per month, the company said. No timetable was provided for the project.

    In 2015, Tsingua made an unsuccessful bid to acquire U.S. memory chip vendor Micron Technology Inc. for $23 billion.

    China has been aggressively pursuing a goal of creating a strong domestic semiconductor industry to supply chips to its massive internal market. The Chinese government last year announced plans to invest $160 billion over 10 years to bolster its semiconductor industry.

    The building of memory chip fabs has been widely anticipated as China's next move. Last month, Rob Lineback, a senior market research analyst with IC Insights, told EE Times that it “makes sense that memory would be in the crosshairs of Chinese initiatives” because of the country’s appetite for memory to use in the production of Chinese-built products such as PCs, data center servers, tablets, and smartphones, plus a wide range of other applications.

    China may have little choice but to build its semiconductor industry from the ground up after Western governments—particularly the U.S.—have grown increasingly wary of government-owned Chinese firms seeking to acquire Western companies. The Committee for Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CIFUS) has stepped in to thwart multiple acquisition bids, and last month President Obama took the rare step of blocking the acquisition of the U.S. assets of a German semiconductor equipment company by an investment firm with ties to the Chinese government.

    Earlier this month, the White House made public a strongly worded report on the U.S. semiconductor industry and the threat posed to it by China. The report argues that the U.S. semiconductor industry needs to innovate and “run faster” in order to counter the threat posed by Chinese policies that distort the market in its favor.
    Sadly there will be a few years of lag,but once they come online it might cause less of these issues.


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    Re: Who makes RAM?

    Yeah I've heard rumours of this for a while. Can't say I blame them!

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    Re: Who makes RAM?

    Quote Originally Posted by watercooled View Post
    Yeah I've heard rumours of this for a while. Can't say I blame them!
    I mean its getting a joke with RAM companies as its not the first time they try these little cartels,then get caught after jacking up the price to silly levels,where it is obvious something is happening between them and are fined,and then complain the price is too low when they produce enough RAM. I was looking at a Corsair 16GB 3000MHZ set,and it was £60 to £70 in the middle of 2016 and now is £180 to £190.

    They could actually get away with increasing prices a reasonable amount,but just overdo it.
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 12-02-2018 at 12:18 AM.


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    Re: Who makes RAM?

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    I mean its getting a joke with RAM companies as its not the first time they try these little cartels,then get caught after jacking up the price to silly levels,where it is obvious something is happening between them and are fined,and then complain the price is too low when they produce enough RAM. I was looking at a Corsair 16GB 3000MHZ set,and it was £60 to £70 in the middle of 2016 and now is £180 to £190.

    They could actually get away with increasing prices a reasonable amount,but just overdo it.
    To be fair, the reason there are only 3 big players in the market is that when prices are low they have a tendency to go bankrupt.

    If the profits were that good, Intel would be using their spare fab capacity to make it.

    I think there are some fabless companies (Etron) but I can't see anyone making leading edge ram products at fabs that seem to be aimed at mobile logic.

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    Re: Who makes RAM?

    By all accounts the profits are good, very good, I've only looked at Samsung's earnings but i suspect we'd see a similar picture with the other two, that is big year on year jumps in profits.
    (sauce)
    Samsung Electronics on Wednesday said it recorded an operating profit of about 15.2 trillion Korean won ($14.15 billion) for the quarter ending in December, which was in line with guidance. That was a 64.3 percent jump from a year earlier.
    Personally i don't think they are price fixing in the traditional sense as it's probably a supply and demand situation, however if the supply is being artificially restricted the end result is the same, that's not to say they are restricting supply as i wouldn't have a clue where to even start in trying to discover if that's the case and i dare say any official investigation would struggle to prove X, Y, or Z fab is not running at full capacity and artificially restricting supply.

    EDIT: So having checkout the other two they paint a similar picture.

    SK Hynix said...
    its first-quarter operating profit more than quadrupled from a year earlier on strong demand for memory chips, pushing it to a record-high quarterly profit and beating already high market expectations.
    And Micron...
    Revenues of $6.80 billion, 71 percent higher compared with the same period last year
    Last edited by Corky34; 12-02-2018 at 09:44 AM.

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    Re: Who makes RAM?

    They have been fined several times for price fixing in the past. IIRC,it was a few 100 million dollars last time by the US. I was reading somewhere at least one major player was not going to increase production anyway.

    They reap what they sow as it will only spur Chinese efforts. It's like with phones the bigger players are selling less phones as Chinese players are getting more sales. Too many companies think their customers have unlimited pockets in the history of tech and then get screwed over when new competitors decide to come into the market.

    The DRAM makers are blithering idiots - they could have easily bumped up prices by 40% and the market would have bared it but upto three times price increases makes it obviously they are trying to do an OPEC.

    They are digging their own graves as it's starting to probably annoy other tech companies too and spur new competitors to displace them.
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 12-02-2018 at 11:37 AM.


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    Re: Who makes RAM?

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    The DRAM makers are blithering idiots - they could have easily bumped up prices by 40% and the market would have bared it but upto three times price increases makes it obviously they are trying to do an OPEC.
    The difference is that OPEC have plenty of oil and can at any point open the tap wider and ship more. It looks like the only magic tap for DRAM is if Samsung switch production capacity away from flash, if you want SSD prices to shoot up instead?



    It looks like Micron stopped fab building a couple of years ago which has switched them from loss to profit, but I guess what we are seeing in retail is the module makers and retailers. The DRAM companies will be selling on contracts with the module makers that were signed a year beforehand and not at the spot market price. Chip prices have gone up, but not by the factor of three that we see.

    This is an interesting read, the whole article in fact but this page is most relevant to the OP's question: https://seekingalpha.com/article/412...ruction?page=4

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    Re: Who makes RAM?

    Quote Originally Posted by DanceswithUnix View Post
    snip
    Seriously stop apologising for them. People excuse made for Nvidia saying fab costs were higher,so card prices need to be higher. Argued with me. Now look at how they have record margins and record revenue. So it was all BS.
    People argued saying microtransactions and more DLC were needed since games cost more. EA even admitted it was not really required to investors. CDPR didn't need it. So it was all BS.
    People argued that HDD prices needed to go higher due to the floods. Now,yonks later HDD prices per GB hardly budged per year,and warranties were reduced. So it was all BS.

    You can believe in all the crap they say,but they have done this all before. If bread went up 300% if wheat cost 10% more nobody would give a damn about "reasons". If cars went up by 100% in price in a year,nobody would care for the "reasons".

    PC enthusiasts are way too tolerant of this,so we get screwed up the proverbial at will.

    Samsung got fined $300 million for price fixing in 2005/2006:

    https://www.justice.gov/archive/atr/...005/212002.htm

    In 2010 the EU fined them 331 million Euro:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10126755

    That was earlier price fixing upto 2002.

    The companies involved are Samsung, Hynix, Infineon, NEC, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Toshiba, Elpida and Nanya.

    A 10th chip maker, Micron, was also part of the price-fixing cartel but escaped a fine in return for alerting the competition authorities.
    I still remember paying silly money for DDR2 during 2006/2007,and once Samsung had to pay the fine,I remember DDR2 pricing starting to tumble. How conveniently timed.

    Over the last 15 years,they have been fined multiple times.

    This is just all price-fixing. Why bother spending money on innovation or building fabs when you can price fix and get people to actively defend them?? Far cheaper to have a cartel and a gentlemen's agreement.

    China is investigating them for price fixing:

    https://www.kitguru.net/channel/gene...-price-fixing/

    Speaking with the China Daily newspaper (via Reuters) this week, senior official Xu Xinyu said that authorities have “noticed the price surge and will pay more attention to future problems that may be caused by ‘price fixing’ in the sector”. China’s National Development and Reform Commission’s (NDRC) Pricing Supervision Department is concerned that a number of DRAM and NAND manufacturers have coordinated to increase prices and push profits as high as possible.

    This price fix would be achieved by tightening supply and watching demand grow. This would result in more money for companies like Samsung, SK Hynix and a few others. Chinese regulators have already approached Samsung on the matter, though no public comments have been made just yet.

    If the NDRC finds evidence of price fixing, then government penalties could be passed down to the companies involved.
    I honestly hope Chinese companies enter the market and they get what they deserve. Are phones suddenly getting three times more expensive?? Nope. TVs? Lots of other electronics?? Nope.

    Just like with Apple,etc who thought they could make the phone market more expensive and now Chinese companies are rapidly gaining sales. Serves them right.

    This is the history of technology - if companies don't innovate and price fix since they have a dominant position they eventually do get screwed over. Cheaper technology eventually wins out most times.

    I also expect some of these companies to try and beg the US to "act" against the upcoming Chinese firms due to "reasons".
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 12-02-2018 at 01:52 PM.


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