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Intel offers Elpida $100m to drive DDR 2 production

Buys non-voting stock, signs R&D deal

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Intel confirmed today that it plans to investing $100 million in Japanese DRAM maker Elpida.

The real deal is that the two companies will align their DRAM development plans allowing them to co-create "new DRAM architectures". For that, read 'DDR 2', which Intel plans to implement in its server chipsets next year, and so wants to encourage memory makers to start down that route ASAP.

Elpida isn't one of the major DRAM player - it was formed when Hitachi and NEC merged their chip operations during the last semiconductor industry downturn - but DDR 2 is one of its focus products.

Last month, the company announced that Intel had validated its 533MHz 512Mb DDR 2 chips for use in future Intel servers, due next year. Intel will offer its DDR 2 Twin Castle and Lindenhurst chipsets during the second half of 2004.

The investment, made through Intel's Intel Capital subsidiary, gives the chip giant no say in Elpida's future - the cash will be exchanged for non-voting stock.

Elpida said it will use the money to grow the number of production lines at its Hiroshima plant that can churn out sub-0.11 micron DRAM chips on 300mm wafers. The Intel investment is part of a broader funding programme the company has put in place to help it increase high-end DRAM production. ®

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