Shipments of DDR3 memory growing fast

DDR3 memory shipments should overtake DDR2 this year

Shipments of the speedy DDR3 memory are growing at a fast pace as implementations of its predecessor, DDR2 memory, slow down, research firm iSuppli said in a study released on Tuesday.

Prices of both memory forms are coming closer, which is boosting the adoption of DDR3, iSuppli said. At the same time, chip makers are equipping their processors with DDR3-capable memory controllers while phasing out implementations of older memory forms.

During the fourth quarter of 2009, DDR2 memory accounted for 48 percent of DRAM shipments, but the numbers are declining, iSuppli said. DDR3 accounted for 35 percent of shipments during the fourth quarter of 2009 and will overtake DDR2 shipments this year.

Prices of both memory technologies will remain close as memory makers shift production between DDR3 and DDR2 to generate the most revenue, iSuppli said. However, increasing demand for DDR3 could keep its price slightly higher.  

The average selling price for memory was US$2.66 in the fourth quarter in 2009, compared to an average price of $1.71 in the fourth quarter of 2008, iSuppli said. According to DRAMexchange, the price of 1GB DDR3 memory averaged around $2.90 as of May 4, while the average price of 1GB DDR2 was around $2.60.

Intel made a major shift to DDR3 memory in 2008 when it introduced the Nehalem microarchitecture. The DDR3-capable processors allow data to be exchanged faster between the memory and CPU, translating to better overall system performance. Intel will transition netbooks to DDR3-capable processors later this year.

HP last week had advertised a new netbook, the Hewlett-Packard Mini 210 running Intel's upcoming Atom N455 chip, on Amazon's retail site in Germany. The N455 supports DDR3 memory. The listing has been pulled from the site.

AMD released DDR3-capable desktop processors early last year and is in the process of implementing DDR3-capable memory controllers in its laptop processors.

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