DDR3 to Dominate PC main memory market in Q2

El Segundo, Calif. — Double data rate (DDR3) SDRAM is projected to dominate the next-generation main memory technology for PCs in the second quarter of 2010, according to iSuppli Corp.

iSuppli predicts DDR3 shipments will account for more than half of the global DRAM market by the second quarter of 2010, 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 percent in the second quarter of 2010, up from just 1 percent in the second quarter of 2008 and 14.2 percent in the second quarter of 2009, according to iSuppli.

iSuppli said by the end of 2010, DDR3 will account for 71 percent of shipments.


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

The report, DDR2 to DDR3 – The Anatomy of a Technology Transition, also reveals that 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, uses 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, said iSuppli.

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, which has resulted in all major DRAM suppliers producing DDR3, said iSuppli.

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, said iSuppli. Despite the rapid rise of DDR3, iSuppli expects DDR2 to command significant volumes throughout 2010, accounting for 15.4 percent of gigabit-equivalent shipments the fourth quarter.

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