How a .07-second Power Cut Killed Memory Chips
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.