According to industry sources on the 14th, SK Hynix is actively expanding its 5th generation 1b DRAM production. The company has confirmed that it is placing orders with several equipment manufacturers, which is interpreted as an investment in response to the increasing demand for HBM and DDR5 DRAM. This investment is expected to increase SK Hynix's 1b DRAM production capacity from 10,000 wafers per month at the beginning of the last quarter to 90,000 wafers by the end of this year. Additionally, SK Hynix has set a goal to further increase the production of 1b DRAM to 140,000 to 150,000 wafers by the first half of next year.

The expansion of 1b DRAM is taking place at the M16 factory in Icheon, Gyeonggi Province. It is reported that the production line, which was previously used for 1y DRAM, will be converted to produce 1b DRAM. The current production capacity for 1y DRAM is about 120,000 wafers per month. If fully dedicated to 1b, the production of 1y DRAM is expected to decrease to 50,000 wafers per month by the first half of 2025.

A semiconductor equipment industry insider stated that for the M16 expansion investment, the customer (SK Hynix) has requested equipment relocation and modification. It is understood that only additional process equipment required for 1b production will be introduced, focusing on key equipment such as deposition, photolithography, and etching equipment.

The 1b DRAM is utilized for HBM3E core dies. As SK Hynix is increasing the production of HBM3E this year, the expansion of 1b DRAM is also being carried out concurrently.

The equipment industry is also positively observing that SK Hynix may further expand its investment plan. One source noted that if the sales department of SK Hynix requests 100, the production or investment department only provides about 70-80%, explaining that they are very cautious in formulating investment and production plans due to past difficulties when they produced and invested according to the requests during the downturn. Another industry insider reminded that the equipment order volume is increasing compared to the initially announced estimates.

Meanwhile, SK Hynix decided in April to make the M15X in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province, the next-generation DRAM production base and is currently under construction. It is expected to be completed by November next year, and the equipment for M15X is expected to start being ordered from the beginning of next year.