SK hynix: Leading Revolutions for Nearly 40 Years

By March 18, 2021 March 30th, 2021 No Comments

Since 1983, SK hynix has ventured through numerous changes and crises, thereby transforming the company into a leading global semiconductor manufacturer. In 1984, SK hynix completed the first pilot production of Korea’s very first 16Kb SRAM, and by 1985, the company was mass-producing 16Kb SRAM, 64Kb DRAM and 256Kb DRAM, all groundbreaking technologies at the time.

From then on, SK hynix has been reinforcing its technological leadership by introducing a series of world’s first, smallest, fastest, and lowest-power innovations in the semiconductor industry. At SK hynix, we’re in a state of constant movement – learning, searching, refining, questioning and creating. Constantly charging towards “the next big thing,” we systematically seek out new technology and work studiously to implement it.

In this article, we look at the biggest revolutions over the last few several years, and how our company has been at the forefront of them all. Our industry has always been very dynamic, where things change rapidly, but as we’ve been in the industry for nearly 40 years, we’ve learned how to adjust quickly to meet the needs of our customers and embrace emerging technology.

1. Video Game Revolution

From bringing Nintendo to Korea with the Hyundai Comboy in 1989, to providing the top tier SSD’s for modern gamers with the Gold S31 and P31, SK hynix has always been a true game-changer. Now, the era of gaming continues to bloom. With the increased popularity of open-world titles and game modes, gamers are continually looking for powerful memory and increased reliability in their technology, allowing them to play with minimal difficulties.

As the video game population grows rapidly, the gaming hardware market is tenacious to keep up. Solid-state drives (SSD) are leading this growth as the technology is extremely versatile across a variety of high-performance devices and provides a faster speed to reduce the interference of the game.

“The video games revolution has a significant impact on the SSD market; and in taking an important part in SSD section, we at SK hynix are proud to be one of the drivers of the technological innovations in the video games sector,” said Alexander Sapozhnikov, Functional Manager, FW Development at SK hynix memory solutions Eastern Europe. “By adopting SSDs, the gaming industry has seen a significant increase in loading bandwidth with predicted QoS, which allows showing higher quality content at a faster rate.”
SK hynix entered the SSD market for the first time in 2012, and since then, we have become the world’s leading memory provider by rigorously producing products that require proven performance, reliability and durability. During that period, our focus centered on server clients and PC OEMs (original equipment manufacturer) to provide enterprise and client SSD.

However, since 2019, SK hynix has pivoted into the consumer SSD market, with the launch of the SK hynix Gold S31 SSD, and more recently, the groundbreaking launch of the Gold P31 SSD just last month. The world’s first 128-layer NAND Flash-based consumer SSD, P31 is one of the fastest and most innovative consumer SSDs on the market.

“The video game industry is rapidly increasing the quality and reality of its scenes, thus new challenges are coming,” exclaimed Mr. Sapozhnikov. “The gamer’s needs are challenging and to help to solve them, we have talented and curious engineers and mathematicians on board.”
By maintaining a laser-sharp focus on our semiconductor innovations for nearly 40 years, SK hynix has continually refined its reputation, and with its Gold SSDs, SK hynix is again pushing the envelope on performance and durability through every title, every save, and every boss battle.

2. Dot Com Boom and personal computers

The creation of the internet changed the world like few times ever before as it began turning into a place where computers exist everywhere. The internet instantly ingrained itself into culture, becoming the largest news channel, research library, social club, shopping center, and multimedia kiosk. It disrupted our daily lives for the better with the increased use of personal computers, and in turn memory.

In the early 2000s, our developers anticipated that this DRAM technology will be suitable for multiple cost-effective computing platforms of the future. As we always do, we collaborated with our partners to help ensure that the DRAM roadmap was consistent with microprocessor and system architecture evolution in a variety of future systems.

“We have broadened the breadth and depth of collaboration with industry leaders in order to develop better products to meet customer demands and help industrial development, which has been triggered by this revolution,” stated Minho Kim, Project Leader, Server Product Planning at SK hynix Inc. “In this process, SK hynix executives and employees have devoted enthusiasm for the past 40 years, having made great efforts; And as a result, we are leading technology industry in the computing and server markets, including developing the world’s first DDR5 DRAM.”

Computing memories used in PCs and servers are continually evolving high performance and high-capacity data processing. Initially, starting with Single Data Rate (SDR) DRAMs and quickly advancing as the CPU’s processing speed increased. DRAM required faster processing speeds as well as higher memory bandwidth to keep up with demands.

Over the years, the industry has iterated newer, faster products like DDR2, DDR3, DDR4, and DDR5, which have continued to accelerate clock speed and meet the demand of consumers. The data generated annually is doubling every two years, and at the end of 2020, we were expected reach 44 zettabytes, or 44 trillion gigabytes.

3. Smartphone Revolution

The proliferation of smartphones in the late 2000s, suddenly had millions of people around the world equipped with a high-performance computer and camera that could fit into the palm of their hand. The wealth of data on the internet was instantly in your pocket, and photography was no longer restricted to photographers with the easy transfer of visual information widely available.

“LPDDR development began to secure the portability of smartphones, and LPDDR now occupies a large part in other markets such as notebooks and automotive,” said Jason Lee, Technical Leader, Mobile Product Planning at SK hynix Inc. “Recently, the demand of such LPDDR memories has been propelled by COVID-19-induced stay-at-home activities and the customers are increasingly demanding high-end applications for smartphones and notebooks. In line with this, SK hynix is always striving to lead such market changes and provide quality products to customers.”

The explosive growth of mobile markets such as mobile phones and tablets has contributed to the development of the mobile application memory field. The demand for mobile-oriented NAND is expected to increase as well since the trend of flagship smartphones, such as multiple camera adoption, would require more capacity.

SK hynix is increasing the level of integration of the CIS pixels through the continuous development of device and process technologies and supporting various application fields through the ISP technology development. SK hynix’s CIS will be utilized in various application fields including smartphone cameras to contribute to the creation of economic and social value and to grow as a key component of information sensors in the future.

4. The 4th Industrial Revolution

At SK hynix, we must acutely understand these technologies as we work with partners to bring the 4th industrial revolution to life. Industries such as artificial intelligence, AR/VR, autonomous vehicles, big data, IoT and 5G are expected to lead the future. Together, as a company, we have used our collective power to drive the 4th industrial revolution, pushing the world into an altogether novel chapter of progress and innovation.

“Collecting, storing, transferring and computing data efficiently just becomes ever more essential and pressing with the pace of industrial digitization,” said Jingjian Ren, Senior Staff Engineer, from NAND Algorithm & Failure Analysis Team in Firmware Group at SK hynix memory solutions America. “The data is big – a few Exabytes are being generated every day, and the data is fast – it has to be processed at the speed of thought to adapt to the need of real-time decision-making particularly in light of AI adoption. Therefore, advanced memory and storage technologies/solutions are playing an increasingly critical role.”

The expansion of the 4th industrial revolution technology will continue to see semiconductor memory prosper. By delivering innovative, high-performance and reliable products to our customers, SK hynix will continue to be a leader in the industry.
SK hynix has always been the world’s top tier semiconductor supplier among Dynamic Random Access Memory chips (“DRAM”) and with our NAND flash business, we will work to build a new future together. We will proactively respond to various needs from customers and optimize our business structure, expanding our innovative portfolio in the NAND flash market segment, which will rival what we have achieved in DRAM.

“As an employee, I’m proud to see that our company SK hynix, a pioneer in the semiconductor memory domain, has always been committed to exploring and enabling new paths to serving our customers and partners with our cutting-edge DRAM/3D NAND/next-generation NVM solutions,” affirmed Mr. Ren. “We will keep confronting the tremendous opportunities as well as challenges while riding on this 4th wave of another great revolution in human history.”

As we look ahead into the years to come, we are confident that the industry will keep growing exponentially as it looks to bring forward the next generations of technology. From 2021 and beyond, there are going to be many new applications being rolled out in these industries, and they will all require more memory, higher performance, higher capacity and a lower latency.

Our continued commitment

These are just a few of the many ways in which SK hynix has continually defined technology and been at the forefront of technological revolutions. Revolution is at the core of all our products – and at the core of our entire business.

Our proven track record of bringing our exceptional, high-performance, reliable products to more people in even bigger, bolder ways dates back nearly 40 years, and we’re not stopping there. SK hynix will continue to focus on our key technology competitiveness while developing next-generation technology.

While no one knows for sure what the next revolution will bring, but we certainly can say that the innovations of SK hynix will be at its core.