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【Market View】The Upcoming Connected Era Will Drive the Demand for Memory Products, Yet Suppliers Need to Make Breakthroughs in Costs and Overcome Technical Barriers, Says TrendForce


Published May.22 2018,13:45 PM (GMT+8)

The Upcoming Connected Era Will Drive the Demand for Memory Products, Yet Suppliers Need to Make Breakthroughs in Costs and Overcome Technical Barriers, Says TrendForce

The upcoming fully connected era has witnessed influx of data, driving the construction of data centers. The amount of data will keep growing at multiples in the next 5 to 10 years. Key techniques like edge computing and 5G, which emphasizes high transmission efficiency, low latency and wide area connection, will lead the next wave of smart technology. Against this background, various types of chips and sensors will see explosive growth, says DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce. The demand for DRAM and NAND products will also increase.

In the framework of 5G, not only communication devices or handsets, but also other smart devices like smart vehicles, smart homes, smart cities, will all benefit from the wider and denser connection of 5G networks. As for edge computing, a computing unit is added between traditional cloud and end devices to help retrieve, filter, aggregate, and analyze real-time data before giving prompt respond to the devices. In this process, there is no need to upload all the data to the cloud. Meanwhile, edge computing reduces the time delay caused by data transmission and lowers the costs for data storage. In addition to complementing 5G technology, edge computing also enhances the data processing with the help of AI. In the future, data processing will be first performed at the edge, which will provide better consumer experiences.

“Issues still remain for the future development of memory products, including the pursuit of higher bandwidth and computing speed, better performance in power saving and lifespan, as well as the dispersion and diversity of products”, says Avril Wu, senior research director of DRAMeXchange. Furthermore, as the manufacturing process technology proceeds to the physical limit, it remains a considerable challenge for the suppliers to continue the technical innovation while lowering the costs.

Server DRAM has become the mainstream in market driven by demand from data centers

In the sector of DRAM, continuing construction of data centers in recent years has significantly pushed the shipments of server DRAM, which recorded higher growth rate than mainstream mobile DRAM did. In the next two or three years, server DRAM will surpass mobile DRAM to become the mainstream product for both demand and supply sides, says DRAMeXchange. As the techniques and equipment needed for IoT gradually maturing, the demand for small-density specialty DRAM will increase. Despite the low content per box, specialty DRAM will still consume considerable capacity in the industry due to the wide range of products.

Smart end devices will push NAND Flash demand

As for NAND Flash, emerging fields like smart homes and autonomous driving in the 5G era will lead to more end products with computing capabilities, thus increasing the shipment of mid- and low-density NAND Flash products. In the long term, the shipments of eMMC/UFS products are the most likely to see significant increase.

On the demand side, mainstream consumer electronics like notebooks and smartphones have higher requirements for data processing ability and other specs. Price-wise, NAND Flash price per box is very likely to drop in the next two to three years as the suppliers make constant process in capacity expansion and manufacturing process. As the result, specs upgrade and price decline will jointly improve the capacity of NAND Flash products beyond current 256/512GB.