TrendForce analysts have studied the situation with the suspension of the Samsung plant in Austin, Texas. The plant was shut down on February 16 at the request of local authorities. Since February 14, the state has declared a state of emergency due to a critical drop in temperature for these places and a massive power outage. The Samsung plant, like other enterprises, was obliged to curtail the work so as not to cause a global collapse of the power supply system.
According to TrendForce estimates, Samsung Line S2’s Austin plant produces approximately 5% of the world’s semiconductor volume. By Monday, Texas promises to get warmer, and the plant will resume its work in full. A week of downtime for this enterprise, as experts expect, will reduce the global supply of chips by 1–2%. This is usually not something to worry about. But not this time, TrendForce adds.
Samsung’s Austin plant manufactures semiconductors on 300mm silicon wafers using process technology from 11nm to 65nm. The main products are 11nm and 14nm RF chips ordered by Qualcomm for 5G smartphones. The plant produces LSI Samsung and flash memory controllers with 28 and 65 nm standards. In addition, the Samsung factory produces automotive chips for Tesla and Renesas.
It should be noted that the peculiarity of shutting down the plant on February 16 was that Samsung stopped the equipment in normal mode, which did not lead to its failure and damage to the plates with chips. Therefore, the damage will be minimal and associated solely with the delay in deliveries by one week.
The biggest impact of shipping delays could be on the SSD market, TrendForce said. There are always impatient OEMs on the market who are willing to pay more, just not to wait a week or so. Fear of possible delays can be a factor that will provoke a rise in prices for flash memory controllers and, ultimately, for SSDs. At the same time, TrendForce has not yet changed its forecast regarding purchase prices for these products. According to analysts, in the second quarter, prices for client SSDs will be “largely unchanged”, while prices for enterprise SSDs will be “slightly reduced.”
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