Gartner: Flash saved DRAM from collapse in 2005

Flash memory saved the DRAM industry from collapse in 2005, Gartner Dataquest said.

The flash memory chips popular in consumer devices from iPod music players to memory cards for digital cameras and mobile phones saved the DRAM (dynamic RAM) industry from a major collapse last year, market researcher Gartner Dataquest said Monday.

DRAM makers such as market leader Samsung Electronics and Hynix Semiconductor would have faced falling prices amid massive overproduction had it not been for the popularity of NAND flash memory. DRAM production lines require minimal fine tuning to switch to NAND flash from DRAM and back, giving DRAM makers a choice of which product to make.

The popularity of digital music, photos and other data on consumer electronic devices created the need for NAND flash, which boasts massive data storage capacity, a low price and use in a range of gadgets. And the popularity of NAND flash was what kept companies from over producing DRAM last year, according to Gartner.

"It's very clear, NAND flash saved the DRAM industry from a major collapse," said Andrew Norwood, research vice president at Gartner, in a statement. "2005 was not a good year for the DRAM industry, but it could have been a lot worse," he added.

The DRAM industry normally runs in a boom bust cycle because cutthroat competition among makers causes them to invest heavily in new factories in order to gain market share. The investment often overshoots what's needed and causes a glut. Over the past several years, the industry has faced more gluts than good times, which reduces prices for users in the short term but could damage the industry over the long term.

Last year, DRAM skimmed by with a slight year-on-year decline in overall market revenue. Worldwide DRAM revenue declined 5 percent to US$25 billion last year, from US$26.3 billion in 2004, according to preliminary estimates from Gartner. It was the first contraction of DRAM industry revenue since 2001, when revenue declined a massive 63.2 percent.

South Korea still dominates the DRAM sector thanks to Samsung and Hynix. Despite their focus on NAND flash last year, the two companies still sold nearly half of all DRAM chips that went to market last year, Gartner said.

Samsung took first place in the DRAM industry with a 32.1 percent share of the market, followed by Hynix at 16.4 percent, Gartner said. U.S. chip maker Micron Technology grabbed third place with a 15.5 percent share of the market, while Germany's Infineon Technologies hit 12.7 percent and Japan's Elpida Memory was fifth with 7.1 percent.

Taiwanese companies rounded out most of the remaining top ten, with Nanya Technology number six and the top performer in terms of year on year growth. Nanya took a 5.8 percent global market share last year as its sales increased 21.4 percent over the previous year.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Dan Nystedt

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?