PHOENIX The SRAM cache market is looking grim for SRAM manufacturers, according to a Semico Research Corp., which said merchant market revenues will decline nearly $1.5 billion by 2002 and units will decline at a compound annual growth rate of -15 percent from 1997-2003.
The once-lucrative L2 cache market will be mostly phased out by 2001 to 2002, according to a new report from Semico (Phoenix). Taking its place for SRAM suppliers will be the communications market, for which many new SRAMs are being developed.
Average selling prices for SRAMs will rise from $3.49 this year to $5.25 in 2003, reflecting a shift to higher-density parts, according to the Semico 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.
These, along with late-write SRAMs and copper interconnects, are innovations that manufacturers have taken to improve the speed of SRAMs 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 L2 cache integrated into other devices, so consumption of discrete SRAM for these markets will drop dramatically from $2 billion this year to only $15 million in 2002, Semico said. Servers and workstations will continue to use discrete SRAM through 2003, as the higher densities required for these systems will take longer for manufacturers to integrate.
Total megabits shipped for the SRAM market will decline 25% (compounded) between now and 2003, while the cost-per-megabit will decrease from $3.15 to $0.68 during the same time period, Semico said.
SRAM shipments for the cache market will drop about 240 million in units during the forecast period, and revenues will fall approximately $1.6 billion. From 2001 to 2003, revenues will come mainly from the 4-, 8-, and 16-megabit parts, with some 32-Mbit sales coming when those parts become available in a few years.