SAN FRANCISCO—PCs accounted for less than half the market for DRAM chips in the second quarter for the first time in about 30 years, according to IHS iSuppli.
In what IHS described as another sign that the tech industry has entered the post-PC era, PCs accounted for 49 percent of DRAM bit shipments in the second quarter, down from 50.2 percent in the first quarter. It was the first time that PCs accounted for less than half of the DRAM market since the 1980s, when PCs emerged as the biggest consumer of DRAM and other chips, IHS said.
[ARM TechCon 2012, the largest ARM design ecosystem under one roof, is Oct. 30 - Nov. 1 in Santa Clara. Click here to learn more]
After accounting for the overwhelming share of DRAM buying for decades, PCs accounted for an average of about 55 percent of DRAM bits from the beginning of 2008 through the end of 2011, IHS said.
"The arrival of the post-PC era doesn’t mean that people will stop using personal computers, or even necessarily that the PC market will stop expanding," said Clifford Leimbach, memory analyst at IHS. "What the post-PC era does mean is that personal computers are not at the center of the technology universe anymore—and are seeing their hegemony over the electronics supply chain erode."
According to Leimbach, the focus for DRAM suppliers will increasingly be on smartphones and tablets, at the expense of the PC business.
"PCs are no longer generating the kind of growth and overwhelming market size that can single-handedly drive demand, pricing and technology trends in some of the major technology businesses," Leimbach said.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.