DDR4 Memory Will Remain Expensive Until Late 2015 – Analysts

Transition to DDR4 Expected to Take Several Years

by Anton Shilov
09/16/2013 | 11:15 PM



DDR4 dynamic random access memory (DRAM) will enter the market sometimes in 2014 beginning with various servers and then will start to target client personal computers, e.g., desktops and notebooks. Just like in case of transition from DDR2 to DDR3, the transition from the latter to DDR4 will take a rather long time. This time, however, it could be even longer than originally expected due to condition of the DRAM market.

IHS, a leading market tracking firm, believes that it will take DDR4 around two years before its shipments will crossover 50% of commodity DRAM (e.g., memory maiunly used for desktops, notebooks and servers, but not for tablets, smartphones or game consoles). In its first 1.5 years on the market, DDR4 will be used for mainly for servers as well as high-end desktops, which will let it capture around one quarter of commodity memory market. Starting from Q3 2015, DDR4 will be adopted by client systems based on Intel Corp.’s code-named Skylake, which means that the pace of the adoption from that time will depend on the speed of Skylake’s ramp up.

Unfortunately, there is a catch. There are currently just three major makers of DRAM on the planet (Samsung Electronics, Micron and SK Hynix), which means that the competition between them is not as cut-throat as it used to be between four and five major manufacturers several years ago. As a result, HIS expects DDR4 to remain premium memory until late 2015, but claims that the condition of DRAM market in general will influence pricing of DDR4 much more significantly than actual adoption.

According to IHS slides demonstrated by Intel Corp. at IDF, initially 8GB DDR4 RDIMM will cost around $90, but eventually it price will reduce to around $50 three years after the launch.