|Amid Intel's aggressive push to supporting DDR3-powered platform, DRAM makers are working with the processor giant to advance their volume production schedules in the hope that the joint effort will result in a less than 10% price gap between DDR3 and DDR2 in the second half of 2008.
Some DRAM makers believe that DDR3 will grow its role more obviously in 2008, after seeing DDR2 remain the mainstream memory standard for several years. The relatively high price premium of DDR3 over DDR2 so far has however discouraged PC OEMs to migrate. The price gap should shrink more noticeably this year, they projected, due to the aggressive push by Intel.
The DRAM makers expect some PC vendors will be subsidized by Intel to migrate to DDR3-based platforms, and this should help encourage the entire industry to migrate accordingly. They noted that some PC vendors will only introduce DDR3-based systems in the second half of the year. About 30% of new PCs shipping worldwide will be powered by DDR3 in the fourth quarter of 2008, they estimated.
DRAM makers, who have already seen growing consumer interest in DDR3, will also count on DDR3 production to free them from the stiff DDR2 pricing environment. As DRAM makers are expect to speed up their pace over DDR3 production, the price premium between the two standards of memory is expected to shrink to 10% in the second half of the year, the DRAM makers commented.
In the memory backend production sector, Taiwan packaging and testing houses are also ready for the memory standard migration. In the packaging segment, backend production houses do not have to upgrade their equipment as both DDR2 and DDR3 are packed in fine pitch ball-grid array (FBGA) form.
In the memory testing segment, Powertech Technology (PTI) is acting the most aggressive among Taiwan testing houses in its move to support DDR3. In order to meet the demand of key customer Elpida Memory, PTI has already purchased three testers from Verigy with shipments in small volume already underway.
Other testing houses in Taiwan are claiming their existing equipment is suitable to perform DDR3 testing. Formosa Advanced Technologies Company (FATC) said it has completed development on DDR3 testing, while ChipMOS Technologies and Thailin Semiconductor also said they are ready to meet DDR3 testing demand.