As we are seeing DRAM spot prices trading nearly record lows - a 4 Gb 4DDR3 chip can be purchased for as little as $1.75 - it appears that DRAM makers will not get much relief from the release of Windows 8.
While the release of a new Windows OS has traditionally created a double-digit jump in DRAM demand, that will not be the case this time, according to IHS iSuppli. The reason can be found in the fact that Windows 8 does not call for more DRAM in computers as previous Windows upgrades typically have, and Windows 8 itself is not expected to bring consumers out and convince them to buy a new PC just because there is a new Windows.
IHS said that global DRAM bit shipments are expected to increase by only 8 percent sequentially in the fourth quarter. This number already counts in the demand from smartphones and tablets, which are becoming increasingly important for DRAM makers. The demand will be about the same as it was in the fourth quarter of 2011, IHS said.
Windows 8 is, in this view, a big disappointment for the hardware industry already. IHS noted that Windows 3.1 caused DRAM bit shipments to increase by 29 percent, Windows 95 by 23 percent, Windows 98 by 40 percent, Windows 2000 by 49 percent, Windows XP by 41 percent, and Windows Vista by 26 percent. Windows 7 brought the number down to 18 percent. Windows 8 may hit a record low at 8 percent - and even that may be a rather optimistic forecast since much of the increase does not depend on Windows anymore, but on tablets and smartphones.