The trade press has recently carried reports of a NAND shortage which The Memory Guy finds to be very premature. True, NAND prices are not at their lowest point – today NAND can be found for 38 cents per gigabyte, up from a low of 31 cents in July. But does this constitute a shortage? No, not really.
One of the key indicators of a shortage is a crossover between spot and contract pricing – during an oversupply spot pricing is lower than contract pricing since OEMs and suppliers both place excess product on the market and compete on price. During a shortage the opposite is true – suppliers don’t have any Continue reading “Is there a NAND Shortage? Not quite.”
DRAM manufacturers often refer to “The Windows Bump” – a phenomenon that is believed to occur after every release of a new version of the Windows operating system. According to this theory DRAM demand increases for a period following an introduction.
An example: in a recent article Kingston VP Scott Chen said that an increase in sales for Windows 8 might help raise DRAM demand, leading to more stable prices.
Demand is expected to pick up on the upcoming launch of Windows 8 tablets and Ultrabook PCs later in the second half of 2012.
Does the Windows Bump really exist? The Memory Guy thought Continue reading “Does the ‘Windows Bump’ Really Exist?”
In a surprise announcement Toshiba has said that it will immediately cut NAND flash production by approximately 30%. The company explains that this is being done “to reduce inventory in the market and improve the overall balance between supply and demand.” Toshiba’s release implies that this move is expected to improve prices, which have dropped as low as $0.31/GB recently.
By common measures of market share, which typically leave out SanDisk (for reasons too complex to discuss here) Toshiba holds a share of roughly 30% of the NAND flash market. By cutting its output by 30% Toshiba would be reducing overall NAND supply by 10%. If we were to include SanDisk, then that percentage would decrease to about 7.5%. Either one of these is significantly more than Continue reading “Toshiba to Cut NAND Production by 30%”
Last January at the Storage Visions Conference in Las Vegas (held every year just prior to CES) I asked the audience what they would do when NAND flash reached a price of 35¢ per gigabyte. My projection (the dotted red line on the chart at left) was that prices would reach that level by the end of the year.
My audience was shocked to hear such a low price!
Price declines open up new markets. It was time to think creatively, I said, because that’s where pricing would be by the end of 2012.
Well, I was wrong – according to Continue reading “NAND Flash at 35 Cents per Gigabyte”
It seems that DRAM makers are still unaware of the impact NAND flash will have on DRAM revenues. Even though many are paying a lot of attention to the impact of the Tablet PC on Notebook PC shipments, few understand that even a healthy notebook market will start to place a decreasing focus on the system DRAM in the near future.
The reason why is simple, and it’s explained in great detail in a report: How PC NAND will Undermine DRAM. In a nutshell, once a basic minimum DRAM requirement has been met, NAND flash yields a greater performance return per dollar than does DRAM. This is illustrated in the graphic to the left.
Forget about the fact that NAND flash is nonvolatile, and that it offers Continue reading “Why DRAM Bit Growth will Suffer”
Over lunch today I had a conversation with an alum of McKinsey Consulting who remarked that the DRAM business behaved in a way that was similar to the McKinsey Steel Model. For those unfamiliar with this model I found a slideshow HERE that refers to it a good deal. (So far I have not found a tutorial on the model itself, but if anyone knows were to find it The Memory Guy would highly appreciate hearing about it.)
One interesting thing is that this particular McKinsey alum was not the first to point this out to me. About 15 years ago a family friend/McKinsey alum told me exactly the same thing. It seems that the economics of the DRAM business have changed little over the past 15 years, and the McKinsey steel model applies to DRAMs just as well now as it did then.
In a nutshell, the model posits that the market price for Continue reading “Why DRAMs are Like Steel”
For months rumors have abounded regarding Elpida’s viability and plans the company has to overcome its current financial woes. Although the company has been questioned about advanced payments and loans from its customers, takeover and merger possibilities, and even government intervention, Elpida has remained silent, refusing to comment.
Today the company finally made a statement that it will be adding a note to its Q3 results and earnings report: “on Matters concerning the Assumed Going Concern.”
This statement, which looks like it was written very carefully by either Continue reading “Elpida Finally Makes Statement”
2012 is likely to be a year in which the DRAM market consolidates a little bit more.
- At its peak in the late 1980s the DRAM market sported 23 suppliers.
- Today there are 6 suppliers of any note: Samsung, Hynix, Micron, Elpida, Nanya, and Powerchip
- The already-depressed market is only going to worsen in 2012. Capital spending in 2010 is seeing to that. Although many believe that prices cannot get any lower, that is exactly what they will do in 2012. Continue reading “DRAM Consolidation in 2012?”
During the Flash Memory Summit in August three panelists were asked to tell what they thought would be the top ten trends for NAND flash in 2012.
The panelists were:
- Troy Winslow, director of product and channel marketing for the Intel NAND group
- Radoslav Danilak, SandForce founder and now CEO of StorCloud
Here are mine:
- Enterprise SSDs will be used in all data centers
- There is still a lot of growth in NAND
- Controllers will get more sophisticated
- System software will be designed for NAND first
- Tablet PCs will morph into newer devices
- Not everyone can be a successful SSD supplier
- NOR has a long future in code storage
- NAND in PCs is a threat to DRAM, not HDDs
- The death of flash is not imminent
- SSDs in PCs will lose out to NAND + HDD
Over ten future posts I will elaborate on these. As I do I will add hot links to the list above to guide readers to these predictions. If any of the hot links are inactive, come back later and check again.
Many are detailed in reports on the Objective Analysis Reports page.