The SRAM cache market is looking grim for SRAM manufacturers. According to a Semico Research study just
released, merchant market revenue will decline nearly $1.5 billion
by 2002, while units will decline at a compound annual growth rate
of -15 percent from 1997 to 2003.
Level 2 cache market will be mostly phased out by
2001 to 2002. Taking its place will be the communications market,
for which many new
SRAM chips are being developed.
The only bright spot is average selling prices. ASPs will rise from
$3.49 this year to $5.25 in 2003, reflecting the shift to
larger-density SRAM chips, says Semico in its report, titled "SRAM:
Soon Cache Will Be Just An Embedded Memory."
With the introduction of embedded SRAM in L2 cache and other
applications, the demand for discrete SRAM parts is slowly
eroding. Even with declining market demands, SRAM
manufacturers are becoming more technologically competitive,
trying to capture profits from non-commodity parts, such as the ZBT
and DDR SRAM chips.
These, along with late-write SRAM chips and copper interconnects, are
innovations manufacturers have taken to improve the speed of the
SRAM to match the ever-increasing speed requirements of certain
networking applications and high-end workstations.
In the L2 cache market, desktop and notebook computers will see
the L2 cache integrated first, so the discrete SRAM consumption
from these markets will drop dramatically from $2 billion this year
to only $15 million in 2002. Servers and workstations will still use
discrete SRAM through 2003, because it will take some time for
manufacturers to integrate the higher densities required for these
Total megabits shipped for the SRAM market will decline 25 percent
(compounded) between now and 2003, while the cost per megabit
will decrease from $3.15 to 68 cents during the same time period.
SRAM shipments for the cache market will drop about 240 million
in units during the forecast period, and revenue will fall
approximately $1.6 billion. From 2001 to 2003, revenue will come
mainly from the 4-, 8-, and 16-megabit parts, with some 32-megabit
sales coming when 32-megabit parts become available in a few years.