LONDON – By 2016 magnetic RAM and phase-change memory will be a billion-dollar annual business, according to market research firm Yole Developpement (Lyon, France).
Five application areas will fuel market growth for four emerging nonvolatile memory technologies MRAM, PCM, resistive RAM (ReRAM) and ferroelectric RAM (FeRAM), the firm reckons, although the emerging technologies will continue to be much smaller than the standard memory types of DRAM and NAND flash memory which had combined revenues of more than $50 billion in 2012.
Overall, the global emerging non-volatile memory market will grow from a value of $209 million in 2012 to $2 billion in 2018, equating to a compound annual growth rate of 46 percent for the period. MRAM and PCM will lead the emerging NVM market ahead of ReRAM, reaching a combined annual value of $1.6 billion in 2018, Yole forecasts
Yole asserts that enterprise storage is set to provide the largest opportunity for emerging non-volatile memory, with both spin-torque transfer (STT) MRAM and PCM being used for cache memory in front of NAND flash.
At the same time mass storage, currently served by NAND flash memory could begin to start using 3-D ReRAM in about 2017 or 2018. This is the time when the scalability of 3-D NAND with data words arranged vertically through the silicon stack is predicted to slow down. When this happens, ReRAM is expected to ramp up rapidly to replace NAND.
Mobile phones will adopt PCM as a replacement for NOR flash memory in multichip packages thanks to the 1-Gbit chips made available by Micron in 2012 and higher density PCM chips are expected to arrive in 2015, Yole said.
Meanwhile STT MRAM is set to replace SRAM in system-on-chip applications due to the technologies lower power consumption and superior scalability.
Yole also expects microcontrollers to adopt some form of MRAM and PCM as a replacement for embedded flash.
The more mature FeRAM technology will grow at a CAGR of 10 percent with a focus on industrial and transportation applications because only relatively low-capacity chips are available.
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Annual market for emerging nonvolatile memories market for applications including cache memory for enterprise storage, industrial & transportation, mass storage, mobile phones, smartcard MCU. Source: Yole Developpement.