Capping off a busy week for fab-related news, South Korea authorities this week gave SK Hynix a green light to build a new, 120 trillion won ($106.35 billion) fab complex. The fab cluster will be primarily used to build DRAM for PCs, mobile devices, and servers, using process technologies that rely on extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV). The first fab in the complex will go online in 2025.

The new cluster will house four huge semiconductor fabrication plants, which will be located on a 4.15 million square-meter site, reports The Korea Herald. The four fabs will have a planned capacity of around 800,000 wafer starts per month (WSPM), which will make the site one of the world's biggest semiconductor production hubs. Keeping in mind that we are dealing with EUV fabs, it is not surprising that a huge 200,000-WSPM plant with EUV tools will cost SK Hynix north of $25 billion. The fab cluster will be located near Yongin, South Korea, 50 kilometers south of Seoul, according to Yonhap news agency that cites the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

The new fabs will be used to make various types of DRAM using SK Hynix's upcoming production technologies that will use extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography. And with a start date still years away, we're likely looking at a fab that will be used to manufacture DDR5, LPDDR5X, and other future types of DRAM.

SK Hynix reportedly plans to start construction of the first fab in the Yongin cluster in the fourth quarter of 2021. Given the expected size of the massive building and the amount of time needed to folly load it with production equipment, SK Hynix expects this first fab to be completed in 2025.

It is necessary to note that just several years ago SK Hynix and Samsung used to build fabs that could produce both DRAM and NAND flash memory – or at least be converted with a minimal amount of effort. This is not the case today as DRAM production now heavily relies on lithography equipment, whereas 3D NAND production uses loads of etching tools, which is why the fabs for different types of memory have to be equipped completely differently.

The fab cluster in Yongin will be SK Hynix's second major DRAM site in South Korea after the company's primary DRAM hub near Icheon that houses its M10, M14, and M16 fabs. The M16 fab was completed in February and will be used for DRAM production using SK Hynix's EUV-based 1a process technology starting the second half of 2021.

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  • Surfacround - Sunday, April 4, 2021 - link

    supermicro approved ram... 256Gib about 1000 dollars each. 64GiB about 406 dollars a piece...
    (using google search should be your friend... https://store.supermicro.com/64gb-ddr4-3200-mem-dr...

    funny thing, i one place where GiB should be used, isnt!... lol, don’t get me started on linux use of Gib when internet speed is listed... (your need to convert the speed to bit per second for the “real” number... before calculating the amount of data... (mixed Mib and Gib, nightmare, but i digress)
    Reply
  • Surfacround - Sunday, April 4, 2021 - link

    sorry i am WAY OFF on the 256Gib sticks... so much i do not think they exist... i was pricing out the ram on a 2 dual core and 7702 Motherboard... (whatbox seedbox uses amd 7702... was wondering if the prices were “reasonable)...”
    in any case, the 64GiB stick is accurate... (a 128GiB stivk is 1706 dollars... i was way off) sorry
    Reply
  • zepi - Saturday, April 3, 2021 - link

    If your die is 100mm² in size, you get about 600 dies per 300mm wafer. 800k wafers -> 480 million dies per month.

    Just about enough to provide 1cm² for every every adult on the planet once a year. How much ram is that?

    Seems like a lot. But then again, android handsets are already shipping with 12-16GB each...
    Reply
  • saratoga4 - Sunday, April 4, 2021 - link

    DIMMs are 8 or 16 chips each for DDR4, and there are at least 2 DIMMs per PC, so its 15-30 million PCs worth of memory per month, which is a lot, but not as enormous as it initially sounds. Reply
  • smalM - Monday, April 5, 2021 - link

    That would be 180-360 million PCs worth of memory per year. Last year 275 million PCs were sold.
    It is as enormous as it initially sounds.
    These new Fabs will double SK Hynix' capacity. Not that for DRAM, all of it.
    Reply
  • DougMcC - Tuesday, April 13, 2021 - link

    The pressure to move to a baseline of 64G is coming on fast. 32 doesn't cut it for anything but email grandmas these days. Heck, even 2022 phones are talking about 20/24G. Annual memory consumption will gladly eat every bit of capacity anyone is going to bring online in the next decade. Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Tuesday, April 6, 2021 - link

    640K ought to be enough for anyone. Reply
  • FunBunny2 - Friday, April 9, 2021 - link

    let me remember??

    Bill Gates
    or
    Matt Gaetz

    bytes or bimbos?
    Reply
  • FunBunny2 - Sunday, April 4, 2021 - link

    The problem with converting financial capital into physical capital: you're asking for intractable average cost, since no matter how much you shift to customers, you still have to pay off the notes. So you have to maximize output to spread all that amortization as thinly per unit as possible. Of course, if you're the only producer that's not so much a problem. Otherwise, yeah it is, since you along with your 'competitors' are all in the same boat. Some kinds of goods are just capital intensive, and labor scarce, so there's virtually 0 opportunity to trade machines for hands if demand slackens. IOW, SK (and their lenders, if any) are betting that there'll be so much demand increase from today's output level. They'll see. Reply
  • JimmyZeng - Tuesday, April 13, 2021 - link

    I don't get it, aren't lithography and etching heavily correlated? 1st you lithography a pattern on to a light sensitive mask layer on the wafer, then etching on that, how can one use one of the technology without the other? I know DRAM and NAND are vastly different and no wonder it's manufacturing process could be vastly different too, but I don't see how one can be lithography heavy and the other be etching heavy. Reply

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