LONDON – The market for discrete power transistors was worth $12.3 billion in 2012, a year-on-year fall of 8 percent brought about by weak economic growth, according to market researcher IC Insights.
Power transistor sales are forecast to increase 7 percent in 2013 to $13.2 billion, followed by an 8 percent rise in 2014 to a new all-time high of $14.3 billion (see figure).
IC Insights is not forecasting another economic recession or semiconductor downturn in the next five years and power transistor annual revenues are expected to increase by a compound annual growth rate of nearly 8.5 percent between 2012 and 2017.
The overall discrete semiconductor market fell 7 percent in 2012 to $21.7 billion after growing 12 percent in 2011 to an all-time high of $23.4 billion. Power transistor products accounted for 57 percent of total discretes sales in 2012, and that share is projected to reach 61 percent in 2017.
The market for power transistors is being driven by the rising significance of battery-operated equipment, battery-operated vehicles and renewable electricity generation.
Sales of MOSFETs handling up to 40V are forecast to show the strongest growth in the next five years with sales increasing by a CAGR of 9.7 percent, said IC Insights. Insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) modules are the next fastest growing segment with sales increasing by a projected CAGR of 9.2 percent, followed by discrete IGBT transistors, which are forecast to grow by an annual rate of 8.8 percent in the 2012-2017 period. Sales of FETs handling over 400 volts are projected to rise by a CAGR of 8.6 percent over the five-year period.
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.