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Average Price of U.S. Computer Storage Devices Is $190 per Unit


Average Price of U.S. Computer Storage Devices Is $190 per Unit

U.S. Computer Storage Device Import Price in July 2023

In July 2023, the computer storage device price stood at $190 per unit (CIF, US), remaining stable against the previous month. Overall, the import price, however, saw a relatively flat trend pattern. The growth pace was the most rapid in September 2022 an increase of 15% against the previous month. Over the period under review, average import prices reached the peak figure at $250 per unit in October 2022; however, from November 2022 to July 2023, import prices remained at a lower figure.

There were significant differences in the average prices amongst the major supplying countries. In July 2023, the country with the highest price was Thailand ($145 per unit), while the price for China ($66.4 per unit) was amongst the lowest.

From July 2022 to July 2023, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by Taiwan (Chinese) (-0.3%), while the prices for the other major suppliers experienced a decline.

U.S. Computer Storage Device Imports

In July 2023, overseas purchases of computer storage devices decreased by -15.9% to 2.6M units, falling for the second consecutive month after two months of growth. In general, imports recorded a noticeable curtailment. The pace of growth was the most pronounced in February 2023 when imports increased by 28% against the previous month. Imports peaked at 5.2M units in August 2022; however, from September 2022 to July 2023, imports failed to regain momentum.

In value terms, computer storage device imports declined rapidly to $502M (IndexBox estimates) in July 2023. Overall, imports showed a deep setback. The growth pace was the most rapid in April 2023 when imports increased by 19% m-o-m. Imports peaked at 1.1B units in October 2022; however, from November 2022 to July 2023, imports failed to regain momentum.

U.S. Computer Storage Device Imports by Country

In July 2023, Thailand (1.8M units) constituted the largest computer storage device supplier to the United States, with a 67% share of total imports. Moreover, computer storage device imports from Thailand exceeded the figures recorded by the second-largest supplier, the Philippines (280K units), sixfold. The third position in this ranking was taken by China (251K units), with a 9.5% share.

From July 2022 to July 2023, the average monthly rate of growth in terms of volume from Thailand amounted to -4.8%. The remaining supplying countries recorded the following average monthly rates of imports growth: the Philippines (-4.2% per month) and China (-5.6% per month).

In value terms, Thailand ($254M) constituted the largest supplier of computer storage device to the United States, comprising 51% of total imports. The second position in the ranking was taken by the Philippines ($24M), with a 4.9% share of total imports. It was followed by Taiwan (Chinese), with a 4% share.

From July 2022 to July 2023, the average monthly growth rate of value from Thailand totaled -6.5%. The remaining supplying countries recorded the following average monthly rates of imports growth: the Philippines (-9.1% per month) and Taiwan (Chinese) (-2.4% per month).

Source: IndexBox Market Intelligence Platform 

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Applied Materials’ Innovative Pattern-Shaping Technology Reduces the Cost, Complexity and Environmental Impact of Advanced Chip Manufacturing

Applied Materials, Inc. today unveiled a breakthrough in patterning technology that allows chipmakers to create high-performance transistors and interconnect wiring with fewer EUV lithography steps, thereby lowering the cost, complexity and environmental impact of advanced chipmaking.

Customers increasingly use EUV double patterning to print chip features smaller than the resolution limits of EUV to optimize chip area and cost. Using EUV double patterning, chipmakers split a high-density pattern in half and produce two masks that adhere to the resolution limits of EUV. Both halves of the pattern are combined on intermediate patterning films and then etched into the wafer. While double patterning is effective at increasing feature density, it adds design and patterning complexity along with process steps that consume time, energy, materials and water – and increase the cost of wafer fabs and wafer production.

Introducing the Applied Materials Centura® Sculpta® Patterning System

To help chipmakers continue shrinking designs without the added cost, complexity, and energy and materials consumption of EUV double patterning, Applied Materials worked closely with leading customers to develop the Centura Sculpta patterning system. Chipmakers can now print a single EUV pattern and then use the Sculpta system to elongate the shapes in any chosen direction to reduce the space between features and increase pattern density. Because the final pattern is created from a single mask, design cost and complexity are reduced, and the yield risk from double-patterning alignment errors is eliminated.

EUV double patterning requires a number of added manufacturing process steps that generally include CVD patterning film deposition, CMP cleaning, photoresist deposition and removal, EUV lithography, eBeam metrology, patterning film etching and wafer cleaning. For each EUV double patterning sequence it replaces, the Sculpta system can provide chipmakers with:

  • Capital cost savings of approximately $250 million per 100K wafer starts per month of production capacity
  • Manufacturing cost savings of approximately $50 per wafer
  • Energy savings of more than 15 kwh per wafer
  • Direct greenhouse gas emissions reduction of more than 0.35 kg of CO2 equivalent per wafer
  • Water savings of approximately 15 liters per wafer

The Sculpta system is receiving high interest from leading chipmakers and has been selected as a production tool of record for multiple steps in high-volume logic manufacturing.

Additional information about Applied’s Sculpta system will be discussed at the company’s “New Ways to Shrink: Advanced Patterning Products Launch” event being held today.

About Applied Materials

Applied Materials, Inc. (Nasdaq: AMAT) is the leader in materials engineering solutions used to produce virtually every new chip and advanced display in the world. Our expertise in modifying materials at atomic levels and on an industrial scale enables customers to transform possibilities into reality. At Applied Materials, our innovations make possible a better future.

From Micro to Megachips

The world is home to lots of valuable stuff. But in 2022 the technology that powers most of this valuable stuff is where the real value lies. Microchips have been omnipresent in the news as of late. The most notable headline was the passage of the CHIPS Act, designed to stimulate US domestic microchip production. Currently, America imports many high-tech chips which have proven tricky when supply chains falter and shortages become more commonplace. Meanwhile, supply chain issues or not, the demand for chips is exploding. This in turn places pressure on engineers. 

We all want our devices faster and better. Yet, the chip industry is confronting challenges in getting more out of the same size chips. Currently, most chips measure the size of a quarter or a dime. To increase performance, engineers are jamming chips closer and closer together. The jamming effect is now prompting some to argue – instead of jamming microchips, why not create megachips? 

The megachip is not an impossibly large snack. Rather, megachips are the natural result of our demand as consumers for increased power. For example, the Sony Playstation or Microsoft Xbox have megachips the size of playing cards or even a dinner plate. This might sound untenable, but engineers argue this trend in bigger is following something known as Moore’s Law. Intel founder, Gordon Moore, noticed early on that every couple of years consumers began to expect more and more transistors (computing power once it’s broken down). Megachips are simply a response to this demand with Mac Studio computers boasting an inconceivable 114 billion transistors. 

In everyday devices, chips receive and transmit radio waves. The new packaging of megachips, however, is akin to putting all these chips receiving and transmitting radio waves under one, condensed roof. Think of a skyscraper, where the floors are chips, and they’re stacked upon each other. A microchip on its own renders a third of its area to the circuits that communicate to the rest of the operating device. When you stack chips the communication is close and nearly instantaneous. It’s faster to travel by elevator than walking between floors. 

Microchips were invented in the US. In fact, nearly 40% at one point were manufactured Stateside. Should the CHIPS Act reinvigorate domestic chip manufacturers, look for megachips to continue their expansion. Machine learning systems along with artificial intelligence are just two areas experts point to that will fuel demand for megachips moving forward. Cerebras is a start-up that has successfully created a chip the size of a silicon wafer with dozens of additional chips etched upon it. Others are experimenting in ways where smaller chips can be connected to larger megachips to power computers that are flexible.

Regulatory moves that either prohibit or incentivize production make and break industries. For now, domestic chipmakers are pleased and we’ll see where this megachip movement takes us.  


Samsung, Nvidia Trade Broadsides in Patent War

Washington, D.C. – South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co Ltd has filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) seeking to block from the U.S. market any and all products using computer-graphics chips made by  Nvidia Corp.

Samsung called on the federal agency to investigate Santa Clara, California-based Nvidia for what it says are violations of Samsung patents and for making false claims about its products.

The Korean company’s lawsuit came in response to Nvidia’s charges that Samsung and rival Qualcomm Inc of infringing patents on its graphics-processing unit (GPU).

Samsung, which had filed the lawsuit in a U.S. federal court last month, is seeking damages for deliberate infringement of several technical patents, including a few that govern the way semiconductors buffer and use data.

Also named in the complaint were 11 other Nvidia partners – computer-parts manufacturers Biostar Microtech, Elitegroup Computer Systems, EVGA, Fuhu, Jaton, Mad Catz, Ouya, Sparkle Computer, Toradex, Wikipad and ZOTAC – all of which sell products using Nvidia graphics cards and system chips.

The complaint is the latest in a series of patent-related legal actions between the two companies that started in September with Nvidia suing both Samsung and mobile-chip maker Qualcomm.

Samsung’s ITC filing is the latest broadside in a patent battle between Nvidia and Samsung.

In September, Nvidia filed a suit in U.S. Federal Court in Delaware claiming that Nvidia’s graphics patents were being violated and a complaint with the ITC calling for the agency to block shipments of some of Samsung’s best-selling smartphones and tablets into the U.S.

Last month, the ITC agreed to investigate Nvidia’s complaint.Samsung fired back in early November with its own civil suit in Virginia, claiming Nvidia and its customer Velocity Micro, as a whole, violated eight of its patents.

The ITC is expected to determine whether to initiate an investigation within 30 calendar days of a complaint being filed.