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Ten month Flash memory drought ahead

Semi-firms puff and blow to keep up with demand

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CeBIT 2000 A massive shortage of Flash memory will affect the ability of manufacturers to deliver solutions to the market, one of the founders of French firm Dane-Elec said today. According to Nessim Bodokh, director general of the firm, semiconductor firms have put Flash memory on allocation for a total of 10 months, as they struggle to satisfy existing demand. The reason for the shortage is due not only to the massive number of products that now use Flash, but because the chip manufacturers were caught short after the downturn in semiconductor prices, and are now being forced to build new fabs to supply Flash memory for the market. He said that the same considerations were also likely to affect synchronous memory, although the situation here was much easier. He also spoke about synchronous and DDR (double data rate) memory, and said that the crossover between the types was likely to happen in around six months. But, he said, it was unlikely that Rambus would reach anything like critical mass for at least a year. Bodokh warned end users that some large semiconductor companies were selling inferior grades of memory, and that the high specifications of personal computers these days meant that if these chips were used in modules with high grade memory, incompatibilities and system crashes were bound to happen. ®

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