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Windows 8 Not Much Help For Depressed DRAM Industry

By - Source: IHS | B 55 comments

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.

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  • 33 Hide
    Anonymous , October 28, 2012 7:35 AM
    @rahulkadukar "chip" is referring to the actual chips on the PCB not the entire module just fyi
  • 31 Hide
    rahulkadukar , October 28, 2012 7:22 AM
    4 Gb 4DDR3 chip can be purchased for as little as $1.75

    Where ?
  • 30 Hide
    nieur , October 28, 2012 7:15 AM
    why would anyone buy new PC just because new OS is available? on top of that it does not demand improved hardware
Other Comments
  • 30 Hide
    nieur , October 28, 2012 7:15 AM
    why would anyone buy new PC just because new OS is available? on top of that it does not demand improved hardware
  • 31 Hide
    rahulkadukar , October 28, 2012 7:22 AM
    4 Gb 4DDR3 chip can be purchased for as little as $1.75

    Where ?
  • 33 Hide
    Anonymous , October 28, 2012 7:35 AM
    @rahulkadukar "chip" is referring to the actual chips on the PCB not the entire module just fyi
  • 14 Hide
    hp79 , October 28, 2012 7:36 AM
    nebunwhat does a software company have to do with memory prices....I am a little confused

    The idea here is that assuming Windows being a dominant OS, had Windows 8 required more RAM than Windows 7, there would have been more demand for RAM. But since Windows 8 is even more efficient, it's not going to encourage people to buy more RAM. I think most people already have at least 4 GB in their system now.
  • 7 Hide
    ronch79 , October 28, 2012 7:39 AM
    The jump in graphics quality and OS capability has improved markedly with past OSes. Today I think the improvement between successive OS releases grows smaller and smaller, so any big jump in RAM requirement is seen as sloppiness in part of the OS (and its code). Take Vista, for example, it was deemed inefficient (and yes, even if it's graphically much prettier than XP) because of its RAM requirements. MS had to go back to the drawing boards, clean up the code, and re-release it as Windows 7. Just my $0.02.
  • 5 Hide
    teodoreh , October 28, 2012 7:42 AM
    1st: You can't just increase the memory requirements without major leaps on services. You can't launch W8 requiring 8GB of RAM with no apparent reason. You need new more memory hungry applications to be written to say "you will need 8GB of RAM but, we will provide u with this new feature".

    2nd: If Windows 8 were as stupidly memory hungry as Windows Vista at their time (where most laptos were shipped with 512MB~1GB RAM) then that would hurt W8 adaptability as Vista.

    3rd: The majority of current motherboards support 2~4 slots and 8GB~16GB of DDR3, and laptops usually do have 0~1 empty slots for upgrades.

    4th: We are in the mid to end of life of DDR3 and the prices are extremely low.

    5th: Who cares? Semiconductor companies should focus on the SSD wild race. Magnetic media, WD, Toshiba and Seagate will soon disappear from the market, and someone will have to fill the gap.
  • 4 Hide
    dark_wizzie , October 28, 2012 7:48 AM
    I don't like Windows 8, but this article doesn't make sense to me. Windows 8 isn't a ram-hungry mess, and thank god for that. Why would ram decrease a lot if the OS is relatively light?
  • 19 Hide
    Someone Somewhere , October 28, 2012 8:12 AM
    rahulkadukar4 Gb 4DDR3 chip can be purchased for as little as $1.75

    Where ?


    That's a 4 gigabit chip, or 512MB. Plus it's only the actual chip, not the PCB, assembly, other chips for SPD etc. It's also probably the price for buying thousands of them
  • 17 Hide
    unksol , October 28, 2012 8:13 AM
    Quote:
    4 Gb 4DDR3 chip can be purchased for as little as $1.75

    Where ?


    That's the low end ones, and that's Gb. You need 8 of them to make 4 GB. Plus the PCB, spreaders, manufacturing and other parts.

    Edit: beat by "someone" by 51 seconds lol
  • -6 Hide
    bigshootr8 , October 28, 2012 8:19 AM
    ram in general is really cheap now I don't think its because consumers wouldn't pay more. I mean come on if you say hey for 40 dollars you can get 8 gigs of solid ram who isn't going to buy it or for people who need 32 gigs hey 32 gigs for 120 dollars. Also, the problem is we've been on ddr3 for a long time so of course the prices will be as low as they are as well.
  • 12 Hide
    CaedenV , October 28, 2012 9:30 AM
    nebunwhat does a software company have to do with memory prices....I am a little confused

    A lot actually. The transitions of bloatware in Ram requirement and Ram usage moving from each version of Windows was HUGE until Win7 came out. I mean we went from a few hundred KB of ram needed in 3.1 to several MB of ram in win95. By the time we hit winXP you needed a minimum of 512MB of ram for things to run properly (though more was always welcome), and then we hit Vista which would run on 1GB of ram, but really needed 2GB. Win7 could run fine on 1GB, but will run a little better with 2GB. Finally with Windows 8 you need 2GB of ram to run effectively, but 4+GB is really suggested.

    At any rate, the demand for system memory increasing 2 fold between early versions of Windows kept ram a lucritive business to be in. But then Vista came in the picture requiring a 4x increase in ram usage. Vista required so much more Ram than what was affordable at the time that ram manufacturers had a race to the bottom to see who could provide the most ram the cheapest. But when win7 came out, requiring less Ram to run effectively, people got use to the idea of cheap memory, and so the prices never went back up. With DDR3 prices actually went down because the die shrinks involved finally made bulk memory manufacturing affordable again.

    But now we are nearing the end of the life cycle for DDR3, and like the end of DDR2 manufacturers are hitting maximum yields at a minimum price. Win8 needs no more memory than the OS that came out ~6 years ago which keeps demand static per unit. The desktop market is nearly saturated (the real reason there is no PC market growth... not some silly tablet revolution) so the demand is not there. There is a huge market to add more memory to phones, but the battery hit from having extra active memory, as well as the sheer number of apps that can run in 2GB of ram which all need power, makes manufacturers not want to do it.

    So really, they are in a tight spot until DDR4 comes out in 2 years (really just over 1 year, but it will be 2 years before platforms become available). With DDR4 we get another die shrink, which should allow for 16GB sticks of ram, or at least make 8GB sticks normal. This die shrink also will make for higher yields per area, plus the use of larger wafers will make chips even cheaper. Plus we will see much lower power usage, which will make the phone and tablet industry more interested in putting 2-4GB of ram in devices without worry, which will increase demand further.

    But really, that is it. Not to sound like certain other futureistic nay-sayers, but once you hit the 4-8GB of system memory, there is very little that you cannot do anymore. 8GB is more than enough ram for 99.9% of workloads. I mean, I have 16GB, and intend to get 32GB in a little while, but it is just for the kicks of having it, and I am only using ~3GB of it in day to day use. Even right now with win8 and several apps and browser tabs I am at 2.8GB in use. Due to the fast random load times of SSDs you no longer have to have nearly as much ram on hand for things like photo and video editing either, as most things can be spooled from the disk in real time. It is truly a weird time for ram makers to be able to make so much ram... while programs tend to need less and less of it.

    The one area where Ram could baloon though: Video games! Look as how far games have gotten visuially with 2GB of video ram available! It is incredible how lifelike things have gotten with such relatively limited amounts of program space. Now imagine a world where consoles have 4-8GB of ram, and where desktops can have substantially more... no more repeated/tiled textures, much higher resolution backgrounds, support for substantially higher resolution monitors (retina will come to the desktop environment eventually)... all of these things need massive amounts of Ram that have been previously unavailable, but are quite possible when you have systems with 2-4GB of VRam and 8-16GB of system memory. We have high expectations for next gen consoles, mostly in how their limited games will look on PC hardware which is capable of real time ray tracing and life-like textures.

    But again, once you hit 16GB of ram, there is little motive to go beyond that. unless we change our model to use actual Ram drives instead of SSDs for file/program storage.
  • 0 Hide
    vaughn2k , October 28, 2012 9:32 AM
    maybe that's the way it is? maybe 4gb of ram is already enough? maybe we have already reached the threshold? who knows...what was the difference of speed by the way between a 4gb ram and an 8gb? is the diference significant?
  • 7 Hide
    tomfreak , October 28, 2012 10:27 AM
    where is my cheap 8GB module? I still waiting it to go as cheap as twice the price of 4GB ones.
  • -1 Hide
    photonboy , October 28, 2012 10:41 AM
    SSD's are also reducing the requirement for RAM.

    With a slow Hard Drive a system works much better when programs you used are buffered in the faster RAM. However, once we get to the point where most applications can cold start from the SSD with no RAM components in under ONE SECOND that changes the landscape.

    What happens when SSD's are even faster? Will 8GB feel much different than 1GB with SSD's with large file transfer rates over 2000MB/sec?
  • -1 Hide
    photonboy , October 28, 2012 11:06 AM
    Tomfreakwhere is my cheap 8GB module? I still waiting it to go as cheap as twice the price of 4GB ones.


    8GB is approximately 2x the price of 4GB. You should buy in PAIRS usually and at NCIX 8GB (2x4GB) is about $30 for the cheapest and 16GB (2x8GB) is about $60 for the cheapest.

    RAM varies a lot in price based on FREQUENCY, TIMINGS and Quality. *It's interesting to note that while lower timings CAN make things faster at times (if bottleneck is not elsewhere) a higher frequency RAM with higher timings might cost the same and perform better overall.

    FYI:
    - 2GB works well with Windows 7/8 for desktop use (tested)
    - 4GB is optimal for Windows 7/8 for desktop use (no benefit to more)
    - 4GB also works well for gamers but in some games more benefits
    - 8GB is optimal for "gamers" with more providing little benefit
    - 16GB+ is only beneficial in certain scenarios (i.e. video editing, Virtual Machines etc.)

    *Does anyone else think:
    That RAM usage will never cross the 8GB barrier for the average user?
    That RAM requirements will DROP when SSD's become even faster due to a reduced need to pre-buffer files?
  • 3 Hide
    devBunny , October 28, 2012 11:07 AM
    rahulkadukar4 Gb 4DDR3 chip can be purchased for as little as $1.75Where ?


    Others have already said what "4Gb chip" means...

    Quote:
    DRAM spot prices trading nearly record lows - a 4 Gb 4DDR3 chip can be purchased for as little as $1.75


    You and I can't enjoy spot prices. :-) In fact a spot price isn't necessarily about purchasing actual chips. It's the current price in the markets and a plaything for of speculators as well the people who buy chips because they want to make memory sticks out of them or use them in embedded systems.
  • 0 Hide
    tomfreak , October 28, 2012 11:31 AM
    photonboy8GB is approximately 2x the price of 4GB. You should buy in PAIRS usually and at NCIX 8GB (2x4GB) is about $30 for the cheapest and 16GB (2x8GB) is about $60 for the cheapest.RAM varies a lot in price based on FREQUENCY, TIMINGS and Quality. *It's interesting to note that while lower timings CAN make things faster at times (if bottleneck is not elsewhere) a higher frequency RAM with higher timings might cost the same and perform better overall.FYI:- 2GB works well with Windows 7/8 for desktop use (tested)- 4GB is optimal for Windows 7/8 for desktop use (no benefit to more)- 4GB also works well for gamers but in some games more benefits - 8GB is optimal for "gamers" with more providing little benefit- 16GB+ is only beneficial in certain scenarios (i.e. video editing, Virtual Machines etc.)*Does anyone else think:That RAM usage will never cross the 8GB barrier for the average user?That RAM requirements will DROP when SSD's become even faster due to a reduced need to pre-buffer files?
    Unfortunately on the other-side of the world here those performance DIMM are still price >2x. I had to go similar Performance DIMM since I already had 2X4GB 1600 Corsair Vengence CL8 in my 2500K, I would love another same type but 2x8GB. SSD may give substantial boost in overall performance but they are still very pricy now. I think a 24GB system RAM could work out pretty well as RAM disk.
  • 4 Hide
    DirectXtreme , October 28, 2012 11:34 AM
    caedenvunless we change our model to use actual Ram drives instead of SSDs for file/program storage.

    The problem with RAM drives would be that the data would be lost after the PC is shut down as DRAM is volatile unlike the NAND flash inside of an SSD. Unless a type of non-volatile DRAM technology is invented with the same bandwidth as traditional DDR3 SDRAM or even DDR4, then RAM drives simply won't be a viable solution. But even with that kind of non-volatile DRAM, RAM drives will initially be expensive and slow to adopt into the market.

    photonboyWhat happens when SSD's are even faster? Will 8GB feel much different than 1GB with SSD's with large file transfer rates over 2000MB/sec?

    1 GB is barely enough to even store a Windows operating system post-Windows 2000. It is going to take a while for SSDs to catch up to DRAM in terms of bandwidth (currently the fastest I've seen is the FusionIO IODrive2 Duo at 3 GB/s v 17.666 GB/s for the fastest JEDEC-standard DDR3 SDRAM), but even then we'll see advancements in DRAM technology that will literally double the bandwidth.
  • -4 Hide
    DjEaZy , October 28, 2012 11:36 AM
    Windows 8 Not Much Help For Depressed DRAM Industry? Windows 8 is not much help for the whole PC industry...
    1) MS wanna build its own hardware, but the whole PC industry depends on MS, with the exception of apple...
    2) i got me a 27'' 2560 x 1440 monitor, and windows 8 is wasting my whole screenestate... ok, i testing win8 in VirtualBox...
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