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Niche DRAM market analysis and prospects for 2012
Nobunaga Chai, DIGITIMES Research, Taipei [Friday 16 December 2011]
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Since 2009, niche DRAM has been one of the rising stars in the memory sector, with bit growth soaring over 70% annually and outpacing standard DRAM growth. This Digitimes Special Report looks at the three major niche DRAM segments - mobile DRAM, specialty DRAM and graphics DRAM - with regard to applications, technology and market forecasts for 2012 and 2013.Technology roadmaps of the major memory makers, such as Samsung, Hynix, Elpida and Micron, as well as Taiwan makers such as Nanya, Etron, Winbond and Powerchip, are analyzed and compared.
Abstract
Global mobile DRAM demand, 2009-2013 (million GB)

Since 2009, niche DRAM has been one of the rising stars in the memory sector, as well as the semiconductor industry in general, with growth soaring over 70% annually and outpacing standard DRAM's annual bit growth. Niche DRAM's outstanding performance has been fueled by strong growth in demand.

Hot sales of smartphones and tablet devices have made mobile DRAM the main driving force of the niche DRAM market. Significant demand has also been coming from other market segments. In first-quarter 2009 a quick recovery from the economic doldrums sent shipments of such end-market applications as GPS devices, HDDs and flat-panel TVs rising. Increases in shipments of these end-market devices boosted the niche DRAM market.

In 2010 the global economy was starting to slow down, but the niche DRAM market remained strong mainly because higher integration of functionalities in end-market applications made it more demanding for the devices' computing capabilities, which in turn boosted the amount of niche DRAM used in a single device.

DIGITIMES Research estimate that the global niche DRAM market will grow 59.4% on year to reach 509.8 million GB in 2011, and that such strong growth will continue in 2012-2013.

With niche DRAM growing much faster than PC-related DRAM, it is expected that the niche segment's share of the overall DRAM market will increase to 22% in 2011 from 16% in 2010.

The present report first looks at the three major niche DRAM segments - mobile DRAM, specialty DRAM and graphics DRAM - with regard to their applications and technological development.

Then it analyzes and compares the technological roadmaps of the major memory vendors, such as Samsung, Hynix, Elpida and Micron, for mobile DRAM, specialty DRAM and graphics DRAM. Taiwan-based players, such as Nanya, Etron, Winbond and Powerchip, are also studied in terms of their niche DRAM development. There is also an analysis and comparison of the process shrink roadmaps of Korean, Japanese and Taiwanese players.

The report also offers an analysis of the niche DRAM market, looking at the individual segments of mobile DRAM, specialty DRAM and graphics DRAM in 2011, and making predictions for 2012 and 2013.

Table of contents
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