SAN FRANCISCOSouth Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. believes that DDR3 will become the mainstream DRAM chips in 2009. But will the move to the next generation of commodity memory parts provide relief for an industry in the midst of a crushing downturn?
Citing information from market research firm Gartner Dataquest, a Samsung executive said during the company's Tech Forum here Monday (Dec. 8) that DDR3 would become the dominant DRAM architecture by the fourth quarter of 2009, when roughly 66 percent of DRAM bits consumed would be DDR3, the third generation of double-data rate (DDR) synchronous memory.
So far, DDR3 has shown up mostly in high-end PCs and gaming systems, where its ability to access information faster than its predecessor has a noticeable impact on advanced graphics, video processing and other computing intensive applications.
Meanwhile, DRAMwhich even for the volatile IC industry is especially prone to huge boom- and bust-cyclesis hurting. DRAM and the broader memory IC markets were already in the midst of a tough year when the world financial crisis hit and the market collapsed.
DRAM contract prices declined by 34 percent and spot prices dropped by 52 percent in the third quarter, according to the memory clearing house DRAMeXchange (Taipei, Taiwan). Average selling prices for some DRAM parts have fallen below manufacturers' variable costs, according to Nan Hyung Kim, a memory analyst for market research firm iSuppli Corp. (El Segundo, Calif.).
T.S. Jung, senior vice president of Samsung's memory division, said Samsung will have 1-Gbit DDR3 devices in full production at the 56-nm node by the end of this month. The company is currently manufacturing 1-Gbit DDR3s at the 68-nm node.
In April the company developed the first 56-nm, 2-Gbit DDR3s, Jung said. These parts have been in production since October and completed Intel platforms certification in November, he said.