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    SLCentralArticlesInterviews Aug 21st, 2019 - 10:30 AM EST
    Interview With Crucial Technology: July 2001
    Author: Drew Lanclos
    Date Posted: July 27th, 2001
    If you plan on purchasing Crucial memory, please use this link to help support this site. Crucial currently offers great prices like 256MB PC2100 DDR for only $41.


    RAM...You use it every day, but how often do you stop and think about all the people behind that sweet stick of silicon? We wanted to know some things about memory's past, present, and future. With that goal in mind, we set out after the big guys, lookin' to interrogate them for as much information as we could glean. We managed to corner Shelly Baldiga from Crucial Technology to give us some answers. When we couldn't get what we wanted to know out of her, we held her for ransom until Echo Sarlya from Micron Technologies would tell us what we wanted to know. Here's the intelligence report. And we're pleased to announce that both captives have been safely returned to their families, with our thirst for information satisfied.

    The Interview

    Micron has been in the business for over five years now, originally under the banner of Micron Technology. What are some of the major customers you've had, and how many different OEM vendors and system integrators do you estimate you've served over the years?

    You're right, Micron has been in the memory upgrade aftermarket business for over five years now with its direct sales and service division, Crucial Technology. But Micron has actually been in the DRAM business a lot longer than that. Micron Technology, Inc. was founded in 1978.

    As for information about Micron's customers, we typically don't disclose the names of our customers, however we do sell memory to all the major PC OEMS. I'll have to refer you to Echo Sarlya, Micron's Product Public Relations Manager, for additional comment.

    Echo Sarlya's Comments: We do not disclose our customers.

    At one point nearly ten years ago, it was not unheard of for 4 MB of memory to cost upward of $600 US. Now we're seeing the market taking an unprecedented slide. Do you see an end to the pricewars and selloffs that have ensued for the last year? If so, is there any idea on when the prices might go back up?

    I sure wish we could predict where DRAM prices will go, but we can't. In fact, no one can predict what memory modules will cost tomorrow or a month from now. You're right, currently prices are low, so many of our customers consider it a particularly good time to buy. How long will that last? Where will prices go next? Who knows? But no matter what's going on in the memory market, we expect memory upgrades will continue to be the least expensive and easiest way to boost a computer system's performance.

    At one point, DDR SDRAM was cheaper to purchase than PC133 SDRAM. Any comment on this?

    Actually, that's not true at Crucial, and we're not aware of any memory upgrade provider that has priced DDR lower than PC133. At Crucial, we have set our DDR SDRAM prices equal to PC133 SDRAM. The reason? DDR SDRAM is built using essentially the same technology as SDRAM. There is virtually no learning curve for the DRAM makers, and the manufacturing equipment is already in place. This keeps the cost of production down, allowing us to pass on the savings to the customer.

    Also, Crucial's prices are typically some of the most competitive in the memory market because selling direct from the manufacturer and selling over the Internet saves a lot of money. We offer products for the best price we can. DDR provides the opportunity to get cutting edge memory technology without a price bump.

    Originally the price drops affected only SDRAM products, but now RDRAM and DDR SDRAM is getting quite a price drop as well. How much more expensive is it to manufacture next-generation memory parts, as compared to SDRAM?

    DDR SDRAM is built using essentially the same technology as SDRAM. There is virtually no learning curve for the DRAM makers, and the manufacturing equipment is already in place. This keeps the cost of production down, and allows Crucial to pass on the savings to the customer. As for RDRAM, I can't speak to that because we don't sell it.

    If you'd like more information about manufacturing costs, please contact Echo Sarlya in Micron Public Relations.

    Echo Sarlya's Comments: Different architectures will have their own inherent manufacturing costs, so it is difficult to answer this question across the board. Revolutionary architectures are more likely to have added costs than evolutionary ones. DDR SDRAM is a good example of an evolutionary architecture. Micron is able to manufacture DDR SDRAM at cosst comparable to SDRAM. This is because the manufacturing process is very similar, and the retooling of the line from SDR to DDR is minimal.

    >> Questions Part 2

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    1. Introduction/Questions Part 1
    2. Questions Part 2
    3. Questions Part 3

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