How a .07-second Power Cut Killed Memory Chips

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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  • Anonymous
    lol if this happened at apple, someone would've been sued for sure.
  • Silmarunya
    Just when memory prices are once again reasonable, this happens. Sounds suspicious :p
  • dillyflump
    SilmarunyaJust when memory prices are once again reasonable, this happens. Sounds suspicious

    I totally agree, same in the UK, remarkably as a cold winter sets in again the wholesale cost of gas goes through the roof causing peoples electricity and household gas prices to rocket. Perfectly ok that British Gas made nearly 600 million quid after tax profits during the summer without passing on lower wholesale prices to consumers.

    Another example of capatalist greed at work, and those who can just ripping off everyone else.