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DDR3 SDRAM to reign supreme by Q2 10

Posted: 25 Nov 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:DDR3  SDRAM  PC memory 

iSuppli predicts the rise of Double Data Rate 3 (DDR3) SDRAM as the next-generation main memory technology in 2H of 2010, promising a faster performance and lower power consumption from the next PC.

iSuppli predicts DDR3 shipments will rise to account for more than half of the global DRAM market by Q2 10, surpassing DDR2 for the first time as the leading technology for PC main memory. DDR3's share of the DRAM market in terms of gigabit-equivalent shipments will rise to 50.9 per cent in Q2 10, up from just 1 per cent in the Q2 08 and 14.2 per cent in the Q2 09. By the end of 2010, DDR3 will grow to account for 71 per cent of shipments.

"DDR3 is 50 per cent faster than today's dominant DRAM technology, DDR2, while using about 30 per cent less power," said Mike Howard, senior DRAM analyst for iSuppli. "For PC users across the board, this means faster performance. For notebook users, it can result in longer battery life."

Global DRAM shipments by technology

Two major factors are driving the industry's transition to DDR3: new Intel Corp. microprocessors and the increasing manufacturability of the part.

Intel's latest-generation microprocessor microarchitecture, dubbed Nehalem, employs a memory controller that supports only DDR3, unlike the previous Penryn line, which works with both DDR2 and DDR3. With Intel transitioning its microprocessor line to Nehalem-based chips, PC makers will have no choice but to migrate to DDR3 SDRAM.

On the supply side, production of DDR3 has advanced to the point were memory makers can produce it at a competitive cost using leading-edge semiconductor process technology. Because of this, all major DRAM suppliers now are producing DDR3, making the memory more attractive to PC makers who are loathe to be beholden to a single source.

"With DDR3 commanding higher pricing than DDR2, memory makers realise where the big money will be in 2010," Howard said. "Because of this, they are more than willing to transition production to the new memory technology."

As availability has increased and prices for DDR3 have fallen, the cost of DDR2 to PC makers actually has risen in recent months because of supply constraints. And despite the rapid rise of DDR3, DDR2 is expected to command significant volumes throughout 2010, accounting for 15.4 per cent of gigabit-equivalent shipments in Q4 10.

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