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New technologies will help erase bad memories

By John Tu

The global recession in 2009 slowed down PC sales in both the consumer and enterprise segments, thereby affecting the memory market. But the year 2010 will bring back confidence in the market and for manufacturers. Technologies such as solid state drives (SSDs), USB 3.0 and DDR3 will help revive consumer sales.

The following predictions and trends in the memory market will give an insight into technologies that will be prevalent in 2010.

SSD technology adoption to kick off

Greater production of Nand (flash-based technology) and the wide adoption of Windows 7, which includes a number of SSD-specific performance-enhancing features, will make this technology a mainstream part of the PC storage portfolio for corporate and personal users in 2010. A SSD is a data storage device that uses solid-state memory to store persistent data. Memory manufacturers will continue to educate end users on the real price to performance ratio that SSDs have over traditional hard disk drives.

Pricing and capacity evolution of SSDs

With pricing getting closer to the $100 (Dh367) barrier, prices for SSDs will continue to decline in 2010 as vendors refine production processes and Nand die shrinks continue. The lower pricing will directly result in capacity increases as costs come down. Thus, capacities of SSDs will continue to soar, with one terabyte drives on the horizon already.

USB sticks capacity to further rise?

USB drives have reached a staggering capacity of 256GB. In 2010 the trend will be to keep on increasing capacities as technological advancements of chip density will further push this tendency.

Improved confidence and consolidation

As predicted last year, consolidation in the DRAM market has taken its toll in 2009, helping the industry's recovery. The continued increase in prices and the recent narrowing of chipmakers' losses come as an indicator of the upturn in the industry. Yet, with consolidation expected to continue in 2010, caution will be a top priority for manufacturers. DRAM supply and demand is projected to improve in 2010 in junction with the general global economic resurgence.

Cloud Computing

The buzz around cloud computing reached its highest this year, with Gartner placing cloud computing at the peak of its hype cycle. However, widespread implementation of cloud services has not taken the industry by storm yet, as enterprises still need to understand the real benefits and the best way to use the technology.

Increase in power and costs savings

The uptake of lower energy IT equipment, such as SSD drives, and higher capacity memory modules have proved that organisations are definitely looking further into the future, by investing to reap costs saving benefits over the next years. During the course of 2010, we will see more organisations upgrading and extending the use of their server and client systems as well as implementing technology, software and solutions to reduce overall costs and become much more efficient.

DDR3 technology take up

JEDEC-based DDR3 memory modules were launched by most manufacturers in 2007, however, as with most new technologies implementation has taken some time. It is predicted that DDR3 shipments will rise to account for more than half of the global DRAM market by the second quarter of next year. What is more, according to DRAMeXchange, DDR3 based platforms are expected to account for 90 per cent of new systems sales by the end of 2010, leading the PC memory technology.

SuperSpeed USB 3.0

USB 3.0 technology has been in the news for quite some time, however we are yet to see a move from major vendors seeking to push compatible motherboards. With specifications confirmed to support data transfer rates of up to 4.8GB/s, more than three times faster than a USB 2.0, this new interface will truly set a new standard and also push demand for high capacity USBs as data transfer times are reduced. The first boards supporting USB 3.0 have begun shipping, with compatible USB drives expected in 2010. How quickly this new interface will find its way into the market is yet to be seen.

- The author is President and co-founder of memory manufacturer Kingston Technology. The views expressed are his own


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