In past years, the release
of a new Windows OS would spur PC OEMs to increase DRAM orders to comply
with the heavier system requirements, spurring big increases in bit
shipments. For example, at the time Windows 98 was released in the third
quarter of 1998, bit shipments increased by 40 percent, IHS said. The
releases of Windows 2000 and Windows XP created even bigger increases,
the firm said.
But this trend has slowed with the releases of
the past two versions of Windows, IHS said. The release of Windows Vista
in 2007 spurred only a 24 percent increase in bit shipments, while the
release of Windows 7—which did not require more memory to
operate—resulted in just an 18 percent increase in the fourth quarter of
2009, according to IHS.
With DRAM amounts in PCs increasing at a
slower rate, the increase in DRAM uptake in the fourth quarter is
attributed mainly to smartphones and tablets, as well as refreshed PCs,
Moving forward, IHS expects that PCs will be less
important to the overall DRAM market. PC share in the DRAM space dipped
below 50 percent for the first time earlier this year, while alternative
devices using DRAM—such as smartphones and media tablets—are raising
their usage and DRAM market share, IHS said.