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How a .07-second Power Cut Killed Memory Chips

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 94 comments

Death to memory chips due to just a blink in the power.

Toshiba experienced a 0.07-second power outage at one of its NAND memory production plants. Normally a blip like that might even go unnoticed, but for Toshiba, it was a huge deal that essentially set back memory production for months.

The Japanese company estimates that the slight power blip could set back memory production by 20 percent through February. Given Toshiba's big position in the memory supply chain, this means that the single outage could cause a 7.5 percent drop in worldwide shipments, according to the Wall Street Journal.

While Toshiba normally has backup power to avoid incidents such as what happened, the voltage drop was too great for what the backup system was designed to handle. As a result, the entire line shut down.

The brief outage stalled the production of the silicon wafers from where the chips come, which ruined a process that may take eight to 12 weeks to complete. Furthermore, the air purifying and conditioning system that ensures a clean and dust-free environment for the chips was also temporarily disabled.

Although Toshiba isn't the memory maker in town, the supply drop could be enough to raise prices to the benefit of the entire industry, which major players include Samsung, Micron and Hynix.

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  • 17 Hide
    chickenhoagie , December 12, 2010 6:07 PM
    thanks for all the replies guys, i now understand how big of an idiot i am.

    *killing one's self due to trolling in 5..4..3..2..1..*
  • 16 Hide
    house70 , December 12, 2010 4:43 PM
    Quick! Stock up on memory!... LOL
    chickenhoagieso does this mean a power blip at home could destroy our SSD's as well? Is this a manufacturing flaw or what? need details..

    No, dude, it's a manufacturing process that got disrupted... so unless you do have in your basement a memory chip assembly line, you should be OK.
  • 13 Hide
    JerseyFirefighter , December 12, 2010 5:01 PM
    chickenhoagieso does this mean a power blip at home could destroy our SSD's as well? Is this a manufacturing flaw or what? need details..


    It's amazing how close we are to Mike Judge's "idiocracy" Dude reads the headline, and looks at the photo and decides to comment on the article based on assumption. We REALLY need to start thinning the herd.
Other Comments
  • 9 Hide
    derek2006 , December 12, 2010 4:42 PM
    Read the story again chickenhoagie. Obviously you have little understanding.
  • 16 Hide
    house70 , December 12, 2010 4:43 PM
    Quick! Stock up on memory!... LOL
    chickenhoagieso does this mean a power blip at home could destroy our SSD's as well? Is this a manufacturing flaw or what? need details..

    No, dude, it's a manufacturing process that got disrupted... so unless you do have in your basement a memory chip assembly line, you should be OK.
  • 5 Hide
    JamesSneed , December 12, 2010 4:43 PM
    No silly a power outage to a SSD at home will not ruin the drive. The power outage was while they were in the proccess of making the chips.
  • 3 Hide
    mdillenbeck , December 12, 2010 4:48 PM
    @chickenhoagie - with hints like production line, silicon wafers, and clean air purifying and conditioning (hinting at a clean room), I am going to assume they are talking about manufacturing plants. A power blip at home of this small scale shouldn't affect your already-made SSD chips.
  • 8 Hide
    Anonymous , December 12, 2010 4:49 PM
    Does anyone else think it's ironic that it was a 0.07 second blip? Bond's getting new tricks up his sleeves!

    In all seriousness though, that such a fraction of a second could cause such trouble, I have to wonder what they're depending on for power in the first place. I mean, they're not exactly just plugging everything into the wall, that would be ludicrous!
  • 3 Hide
    mdillenbeck , December 12, 2010 4:51 PM
    @the rest -

    I'm impressed at how many people responded to the same question at the same time! Guess we poster's on Tom's really have no life (unless your in a Midwest situation like me and procrastinating on digging yourself out of after the snowstorm).
  • 5 Hide
    Parsian , December 12, 2010 4:53 PM
    Butterfly effect.
  • 13 Hide
    JerseyFirefighter , December 12, 2010 5:01 PM
    chickenhoagieso does this mean a power blip at home could destroy our SSD's as well? Is this a manufacturing flaw or what? need details..


    It's amazing how close we are to Mike Judge's "idiocracy" Dude reads the headline, and looks at the photo and decides to comment on the article based on assumption. We REALLY need to start thinning the herd.
  • 3 Hide
    Ramar , December 12, 2010 5:04 PM
    The DRAMamurai strike again. Anyone else remember 06-08 when prices fluctuated like crazy because "Little tommy on the playground says he needs to find a new source of candy bars, so we're scared we might have to too, so our candy bars are now three times the price."
  • 4 Hide
    DM0407 , December 12, 2010 5:50 PM
    God forbid a person ask a question because he is unsure of the answer. If I read a medical journal I am sure there would be plenty of stupid questions for me to ask.

    I don't think its unheard of for someone to wonder if a power spike or outage would ruin their electronics.
  • -1 Hide
    someguynamedmatt , December 12, 2010 5:51 PM
    chickenhoagieso does this mean a power blip at home could destroy our SSD's as well? Is this a manufacturing flaw or what? need details..

    Quote:
    The brief outage stalled the production of the silicon wafers from where the chips come, which ruined a process that make take eight to 12 weeks to complete. Furthermore, the air purifying and conditioning system that ensures a clean and dust-free environment for the chips was also temporarily disabled.

    There you go, buddy. I know everyone else has already commented on your obliviousness, but I figure the more the merrier...
  • 8 Hide
    flightmare , December 12, 2010 6:02 PM
    SSD price drop just got delayed...
  • 17 Hide
    chickenhoagie , December 12, 2010 6:07 PM
    thanks for all the replies guys, i now understand how big of an idiot i am.

    *killing one's self due to trolling in 5..4..3..2..1..*
  • 3 Hide
    Assmar , December 12, 2010 6:12 PM
    flightmareSSD price drop just got delayed...

    Again
  • 2 Hide
    Unolocogringo , December 12, 2010 6:20 PM
    Quote:
    *killing one's self due to trolling in 5..4..3..2..1..*

    What no bang or loud explosion, nothing?
    pfffhtttt!
  • 6 Hide
    chickenhoagie , December 12, 2010 6:22 PM
    Rick_criswellWhat no bang or loud explosion, nothing?pfffhtttt!

    i used a silencer. wait shit i cant reply to you im dead..
  • 8 Hide
    stuart72 , December 12, 2010 6:28 PM
    house70Quick! Stock up on memory!... LOL
    No, dude, it's a manufacturing process that got disrupted... so unless you do have in your basement a memory chip assembly line, you should be OK.


    ??? The chip fab line goes in the attic. You put the fusion reactor in the basement
  • 1 Hide
    rohitbaran , December 12, 2010 6:52 PM
    Well, that speaks volumes about importance of power system reliability, at least to semiconductor industry.
  • 1 Hide
    beayn , December 12, 2010 6:58 PM
    Good thing they aren't where I live in Northern Ontario. Power goes out at least 20-30 times in summer randomly, a few times in winter, and they have scheduled 6-8 hour power outages 3-4 times a year to "upgrade the power grid", which then randomly goes out again after it's "upgraded".
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