SK Hynix Downplays Scale Of Widespread Defective DRAM Wafer Allegations From Customers

SK Hynix RAM Module
SK Hynix suddenly finds itself in the midst of damage control (both literally and figuratively) over a batch of defective DRAM products that shipped out to customers. In a statement on the matter, the South Korean chip maker confirmed that some faulty DRAM left the factory, but says early reports of the number of affected DRAM wafers are "absolutely not true."

It's still not clear exactly how many DRAM wafers were found to be defective. Rumor had it that SK Hynix shipped out around 240,000 defective DRAM wafers to clients, presumably for a range of products that use its memory (graphics cards, PC RAM modules, smartphones like the ASUS ROG Phone 5, and so forth). But according to SK Hynix, that figure is "exaggerated."

SK Hynix also suggested that whatever the real number is, it would not be abnormal or significant.

"We can confirm that a defect was found in a few DRAM products," SK Hynix said in a statement. "We're currently talking to a limited number of customers affected by this to address the issue. While it’s too early to estimate the potential losses, we don't think they would be that significant as the defect is within the range of typical quality issue check."

If true, it raises the question as to how the defective wafers slipped through the cracks, instead of being caught by a "typical quality issue check." Whatever the case might be, SK Hynix does seem to be fretting over the situation, other than wanting to set the record straight in light of earlier reports on the scale of the defect.

"The scale of the potentially losses mentioned in the rumor is absolutely not true and exaggerated," the company said.

SK Hynix is also said to be pushing for a police investigation into the source of the original 240,000 defective wafers claim. We doubt it will amount to anything. It's said SK Hynix produces around 1.8 million wafers per month. Earlier reports, which SK Hynix is refuting, suggested that 240,000 defective wafers would amount to a loss of $1.7 billion.

Such a loss due to a defect could also have a temporary trickle effect on the industry at large, potentially leading to a shortage of DRAM and higher prices for consumers. But it does not look like that will be the case.