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Micron VP remains upbeat on NAND future

Posted: 17 Aug 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:NAND  SDRAM  DRAM  memory scaling 

There is a general feeling of doom and gloom at the Flash Memory Summit. Some say NAND vendors will continue to lose money for the foreseeable future while others believe new applications—such as solid-state drives (SSDs)—are taking longer than expected to take off. And, of course, there is the prevailing theme: NAND scaling is nearing the end.

Brian Shirley, VP of Micron Technology Inc.'s memory group, has a different—and upbeat—viewpoint about the future of memory.

In his keynote, Shirley took on four main points: 1) Business is coming back; 2) NAND scaling is alive and well; 3) NAND is expanding in new and emerging markets; 4) And contrary to popular belief, the enterprise will adopt NAND, as Micron is readying a new product line in the arena, dubbed eNAND.

Regarding the business climate, the memory market is improving amid a downturn. "A number of people were writing off the memory market in 2009, but it looks better," he told EE Times.

First, on the DRAM side, there are shortages of DDR3 SDRAM due to surprising demand in the server and other markets. Shortages of DDR3 have caused OEMs to scramble for older DDR2 devices. "DDR3 has been tight," he said. "It also looks like DDR2 is tightening up."

The price and demand picture for NAND are also improving. Last week, "NAND spot prices increased across nearly all densities, but it was the low-volume SLC device types, led by the 8Gbit part, that witnessed the greatest price increases. The 32Gbit MLC device showed a minor price decline as it retreated slightly from previous pricing gains at the end of July," said Joseph Unsworth, an analyst with Gartner Inc., in a report.

"Anticipation of demand for the back-to-school season continues to heighten and will play an important role in determining consumer spending and confidence," he said.

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