Operating system have been one of the major drivers for DRAM demand, and have experienced an almost persistent boost since the introduction on Windows 95 in 1994 - back then we were asked to upgrade our computers from a modest 4 MB of DRAM to 8 MB.
"The growth rate of dynamic random access memory content in personal computers is set for a historic decline, with the average annual increase in DRAM amount for each new PC not expected to exceed 35% after 2012, down from an average 48% during the last quarter-century," IHS said. "After climbing 38% in 2009 and 25% in 2010, average DRAM content per PC will rise 30% in 2011 and 35% in 2012," IHS noted. "The year 2012, however, will represent the last high point for growth, with the amount of annual DRAM content growth in the following years expected to be significantly less than 35%." IHS said that DRAM growth per PC was 48% between 1985 and 2009 and ranged from 40 to 45% in the early 2000s.
The market research firm stressed that, historically, each new version of Windows demanded more memory, but that pattern broke with Windows 7: "From Windows 7’s release in 2009 until a year later, DRAM content growth per PC actually dropped 13% - auguring the kind of lower expansion rates likely to be seen in the years to come."
Microsoft already said that Windows 8 will not have hardware requirements that exceed Windows 7's requirements. Instead of operating systems, it appears that memory drivers will be shifting to more computing devices as well as applications, which would include more applications running at the same time as well as increased use of multimedia.
"As the appetite for digital data swells continually among consumers, so too will the memory requirements needed to feed the ravening beast," IHS said.