DDR4 Memory Now Projected to Debut in 2014, But Ramp Up Rapidly

DDR3 to Remain Leading DRAM Tech Till at 2014

by Anton Shilov
06/27/2011 | 02:31 PM

It took over three years for DDR3 dynamic random access memory (DRAM) to take off and become dominating type of memory and it looks like it will remain on the market till at least 2015 as the debut of DDR4 is now delayed till 2014 and even with rapid ramp of the latter shipments will crossover only sometimes in 2015 (more likely later).

 

DDR3 in 2011 is projected to account for 89% of the 808 million DRAM module units shipped this year, up from 67% last year and 24% in 2009, according to market tracking IHS iSuppli. In comparison, the older and slower DDR2 will make up 9% of the module market in 2011, down from 29% last year. The legacy-type product of DDR will take up the remaining module shipments in the market.

With plenty of life left in it, DDR3 will see its share of DRAM module shipments actually rise during the next two years - to 92% in 2012 and to 94% the year after - before it heads down an irreversible cycle of decline that starts in 2014, when DDR4 finally enters mass production.

Originally, the DDR4 standard was supposed to be finalized in 2011 and the first production was expected to start in 2012. However, it looks like, according to iSuppli, the DDR4 got delayed by over one year; probably, due to new point-to-point topology, manufacturing complexity, high clock-speeds (~4266MHz) and other reasons. But the production ramp up of the fourth-generation double-data rate DRAM will be rapid. At present the analyst expect DDR4 to immediately garn about 12% share. By 2015, DDR4 modules are projected to take a majority share of market at 56%, compared to 42% for DDR3, out of total DRAM module shipments of approximately 1.1 billion units.

While erstwhile leader DDR2 remained at the pinnacle of the DRAM module market for approximately four years, DDR3 will enjoy a run at the top for a total of five, starting from 2010 until its projected end as the dominant force by 2014. By then, the main densities of DRAM modules also will have shifted from 1GB in 2009 to 8GB in 2015, IHS iSuppli research shows.

With DRAM technology stabilizing for the time being, a new module form factor appears ready to make an initial foray into the higher-performance world of server computers. Load-reduced LRDIMM, mainly in the form of higher densities at 16GB and up, are set to vastly increase the memory capabilities of high-capacity computing workhorses such as enterprise servers and mainframe computers. LRDIMMs will combat the problems associated with signal integrity degradation and hampered performance that start to occur at very high memory densities, with LRDIMMs allowing continued loading and increases in megabyte capacity on specialty systems.

Not compatible with older systems, LRDIMMs will only begin shipping as new computer systems are procured, appearing in the second quarter of 2011.