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DDR 2 demand 'disappointing' - analyst

Not catching DDR as quickly as anticipated

When will DDR 2 SDRAM outship memory based on the original DDR specification? According to market watcher iSuppli, not as soon as it had previously forecast.

The company yesterday pushed back the so-called DDR/DDR 2 cross-over point from Q4 2005 to Q1 2006, citing "the weak market reception for DDR 2".

iSuppli's comment follows claims from Taiwanese motherboard maker sources earlier this week that Intel's widening chipset shortage could hinder the uptake of DDR 2. Intel is pushing the higher speed, lower-power second-generation memory technology aggressively. Other chipset vendors - and, for that matter, AMD, which incorporates a memory controller into its Athlon and Opteron processors - have been generally slower to embrace DDR 2 in place of DDR.

"DDR 2’s performance has been generally disappointing," said iSuppli principal analyst Nam Hyung Kim. "In the second quarter, DDR 2 - excluding graphics DRAM - captured only 21.8 per cent of the total DRAM market, up only 4.5 percentage points from the first quarter.

"DDR 2 will account for only 38 per cent of total DRAM shipments in the fourth quarter of 2005," he forecast.

Samsung announced in August it had begun producing more DDR 2 than DDR. The company said it has seen demand for DDR 2 grow by a factor of 30 since August 2004.

Yesterday, memory market watcher DRAMeXchange said DDR 2 output rose to 33.9 per cent of total 256Mb equivalent chip production in August. The proportion has been rising consistently month-on-month through the year with exception of July, when the proportion fell below June's 27.6 per cent to 2.65 per cent. The growth rate these figures suggest would indicate production cross-over coming in December 2005 at the earliest or April 2006 at the latest, with sales cross-over following a month or so after. ®

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