SK Hynix is preparing to end its business relationship with its design house partner ADTechnology, TheElec has learned.
The South Korean memory giant had used the design house to have TSMC make its NAND flash controllers.
But as ADTechnology recently ended its value chain aggregator (VCA) contract with TSMC, SK Hynix is looking to do all the necessary process to procure controllers on its own, starting with its newly designed controller, people familiar with the matter said.
SK Hynix is planning to mass produce its new mobile NAND controller codenamed Voyager 2, in the second half of the year. The controller its used in universal flash storage, embedded multimedia card and other mobile NAND flashes. SK Hynix is planning to use TSMC as the foundry for the controllers, just as it did before.
The South Korean memory giant has previously had ADTechnology handle the last steps of its chip design. This included designing of the necessary masks. Wafer manufactured by TSMC were also tested by ADTechnology. Now, SK Hynix will be doing all these processes on its own.
The company will have to use ADTechnology for the controllers that are already commercialized until they are discontinued but won’t be giving new orders to the design house, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said.
SK Hynix, besides Voyager 2, is planning to due all design works for controllers for solid-state drives as well, they said. It will also use TSMC as the foundry for these works.
Design houses like ADTechnology conventionally work with only one foundry due to confidentiality.
ADTechnology was the only South Korean partner of TSMC. But last year, it has partnered up with Samsung Foundry, which ended its relationship with TSMC. ADTechnology has recently hired ex-Samsung Foundry personnel and is ramping up sales activities.