iSuppli: DDR4 crossover to come in 2014

Market research firm iSuppli has released a new report that takes a closer look at the DRAM module market. As one might expect, DDR3 dominates. It’s expected to make up the lion’s share of the market until 2014, when iSuppli thinks next-gen DDR4 modules will take the lion’s share of the market.

DDR3 debuted on desktops with Intel’s P35 Express chipset just over four years ago. Although it was relatively expensive at the time, prices fell pretty quickly, allowing DDR3 to reach 24% market share in 2009. The third-gen DDR standard took over the following year, and iSuppli expects an even quicker ramp for DDR4. The research firm predicts that DDR4 will more than quadruple its market share after its first year on the market.

While DDR2 prices are predictably on the rise, DDR3 is incredibly cheap these days. You can snag an 8GB dual-channel kit of name-brand DIMMs for only $65. A similiar SO-DIMM kit for notebooks costs just $3 more.

Comments closed
    • Kaleid
    • 8 years ago

    RAM generations are amongst the less interesting upgrades there is.

    • Prion
    • 8 years ago

    Am I reading the chart right? Looks like DDR4 gets introduced in 2014 but doesn’t hit the crossover point/take the majority of the market until 2015.

      • lilbuddhaman
      • 8 years ago

      The first year are so is going to be extremely limited, expensive, and likely slower than DDR3 (similar to how DDR3 was slower than DDR2 at first). But I haven’t researched the tech so i could be very wrong.

    • NeelyCam
    • 8 years ago

    Is DDR4 expected to consume less power than LPDDR3? If not, I would argue that the market will instead focus on low-power memory.

    I don’t see consumer desktops having more than a 5% market share of all consumer PC computing; tablets and “ultraportable” laptops are going to own the rest of the market. Low power consumption will be the key to market success. If DDR4 is focused on performance instead of power efficiency, it will be relegated to server market only – everything else will demand low cost, low power and sufficient performance.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 8 years ago

      I believe it’s meant for 3+ GHz at 1.2v at the high end of things. That [i<]is[/i<] an emphasis on power efficiency, but not minimal power use at all costs. It can't use less power than LP RAM because that will likely end up embedded in 15nm SoCs by the time DDR4 is prevalent. It will be for servers, as always is the case, and then it will find its way into PCs that need it for lots of graphics bandwidth.

      • bhassel
      • 8 years ago

      AMD and Intel will probably be coming out with their next-next-gen of integrated GPUs by then. Those will be what’s going into those ultra-portable laptops, and if they really are going to replace dedicated GPUs then I suspect they’ll need all the memory bandwidth they can get.

      • bcronce
      • 8 years ago

      In order to increase density, you must reduce the transistor size. As transistors get smaller, the amount of voltage they can handle drops.

      This means if they want to make memory cheaper to produce, they must move to a lower voltage spec. This is why DDR3 memory densities have plateaued and prices won’t fall much further. In order to make DDR3 cheaper and higher density, they must reduce the transistor size, which means falling outside the DDR3 voltage spec.

      DDR3 is 1.5v to 1.2v while DDR4 is 1.2v to 1.05v. Power consumption reduces by the square of the voltage. DDR3 will use about 33% more power than DDR4, for the same performance, just based on voltages and nothing else.

      DDR4 will use 25% less power and DDR3 will use about 33% more power. I love percentages, they can be deceiving based on what they’re relative to.

        • NeelyCam
        • 8 years ago

        Dynamic power consumption reduces by the square of the voltage (assuming the capacitance stays the same… some capacitances won’t as they are nonlinear), but if I remember right, DDR3 receive termination was done through resistors shorting supply to ground… DC power consumption scales linearly with current. I sure hope the DDR4 spec addresses that somehow..

        Percentages are fun. My favorite is when someone gets confused and thinks 50% more is the same as 100% less.

          • willmore
          • 8 years ago

          Some googling found this, check the paragraph starting “The DDR4 I/O voltage has been reduced to 1.2V”:
          [url<]http://low-powerdesign.com/sleibson/2011/05/12/the-ddr4-sdram-spec-and-soc-design-what-do-we-know-now/[/url<] I can't find a good reference for POD. Most of what comes up just seems to be links to press releases what keep mentioning the term but never defining it.

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            Good info – thanks!

            I found a JEDEC spec for 1.35V POD (I think that was for GDDR5). It looked like a basic pullup/pulldown driver, but driving a load terminated to (in this case) VDDQ.instead of mid-VDDQ like in DDR3

    • tootercomputer
    • 8 years ago

    Three years until DDR4. So what happens with DDR3? Will it just stay cheap, get faster, get bigger and cheaper (16G dual channel kits at $39)?

      • sweatshopking
      • 8 years ago

      no, it like all other ram before it, will get more expensive. as production slows, to make more ddr4, ddr3 will rise in price.

        • UberGerbil
        • 8 years ago

        He’s asking about this year and next (and most of 2013 too), before the manufacturing begins to switch over to the new tech. The largest capacity for any given tech (4GB DIMMs for DDR2, 2GB DIMMs for DDR1, 1GB DIMMs for SDR) tend to command a premium, and I’d expect that will hold for 8GB DIMMs for DDR3. We are going to be in the low-cost part of the DDR3 cycle longer than most, so there may be some opportunity for those costs to come down, but unless a reason comes along to drive a lot of people towards that much memory, it’ll be a boutique option with commensurate pricing.

      • SomeOtherGeek
      • 8 years ago

      I don’t know, but wiki says that they will start coming out next year. Most like very, very expensive and will very like support.

      • smilingcrow
      • 8 years ago

      RAM is a traded commodity like copper, oil etc which is why prices can and do fluctuate wildly over time. This is unlike other components in PCs where you invariably get more for your buck every year with no significant spikes in the opposite direction.
      So asking about where DDR3 pricing will go is a like asking where will the stock market or house prices be next year.

    • UberGerbil
    • 8 years ago

    Unless something has changed, DDR4 is going to be point-to-point, which is going to have all sorts of implications for motherboard design, personal upgrade habits (you’ll probably be swapping all your DIMMs out for larger DIMMs, rather than just adding a couple), etc. Though realistically, even in the mid-teens timeframe, it’s hard to imagine consumers, even enthusiasts, will be doing a lot of memory upgrading. Demand for memory always increases, of course, but when you start off with a couple of 8GB DIMMs you won’t be feeling the crunch very quickly. (Oh, wait, Windows 9 will virtualize everything, so you’re effectively running several different versions simultaneously. Nevermind, bring on the RAM)

      • designerfx
      • 8 years ago

      Plenty of people have 12-16GB of ram already and actively use it. To consider 16GB by DDR4 is not at all unreasonable. Why are we waiting 4 more years for DDR4, though?

        • UberGerbil
        • 8 years ago

        At one time it actually was going to be worse — a year or so ago the industry was not expecting to [i<]begin[/i<] rolling out DDR4 until 2015, and a lot of articles you'll find on the net still reference that prediction. (Or course there once was a 2012 date for it too, but that was just guesswork back in the pre-DDR3 days based on the usual intervals between memory techs). The industry players have had disagreements and changed their minds about the post-DDR3 direction for memory tech a couple of times; throw the economic crisis wrench into things just as they were going into the profitable part of the DDR3 cycle and you can maybe see why they haven't moved on as quickly as usual.

        • Farting Bob
        • 8 years ago

        Some people does not make up the majority of the market. For every 1 person that needs more than 8GB of RAM right now in their PC there are probably 50 who dont. RAM usage generally isnt increasing, and its the same few tasks and programs that require GB’s at a time. Most programs still use only small amounts, and windows is generally smarter about how it handles it these days.

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