Micron this week announced financial results for its fourth fiscal quarter and 2011 fiscal year ended September 1, 2011, and the numbers aren't pretty. The company's revenue from DRAM in the third quarter dropped 12 percent compared to Q3, a slump Micron said was the result of declines in the average selling prices. Revenue from sales of NAND flash products picked up some of the slack and grew 11 percent, but doesn't have enough volume to make up for the downturn in DRAM.
One of the many awesome things coming out of this year's Intel Developer Forum (IDF) is a new DRAM concept Intel claims will deliver a 7-fold improvement in energy-efficiency over today's DDR3 modules. It's called Hybrid Memory Cube and Intel is working closely with Micron to turn this concept into a shipping product. So what exactly is a Hybrid Memory Cube?
We've been monitoring the sorry state of the DRAM market closely for some time now, and whenever there's an update, it's almost always bad news for manufacturers. In recent weeks, it's also been bad for consumers who've grown accustomed to rock bottom pricing. Seemingly faced with no other choice, DRAM makers have started to cut production, and it's no longer just one or two companies.
Powerchip Technology announced plans to cut its total PC DRAM output in half, and perhaps even more. The move is intended to slow, stop, or even reverse the massive slide in revenues that were recorded in August, and in the meantime, Powerchip will look to other markets as it tries to increase its bottom line.
You'd probably have a better shot at turning a profit selling ice cubes to Eskimos than churning out DRAM chips at today's prices. That's less of an exaggeration than you might think, and to cope with continually falling prices, some DRAM makers have decided to scale back operations until chip prices bounce back up.
The law of gravity dictates that what goes up must come down, and unfortunately for DRAM chip makers, there's nothing that says what goes down must also go back up. DRAM pricing continues to find new rock bottoms, and according to market research firm IHS iSuppli, things are about to get a whole lot worse.
The gluttonous system building gurus over at AVADirect just added a 48GB DDR3 RAM option to a handful of non-ECC setups, including two gaming machines, a recently launched silent PC, and a workstation system. Who in their right mind could possibly justify such a superfluous amount of system memory? The answer is not many, though it's nice to have the option, isn't it?
DRAM chip makers can quit singing the summertime blues, but only because autumn is right around the corner and not because prices and profits are up. There was a point when making memory chips was almost like printing money, at least before the market got turned on its head. Now things are at an all time low.
A bucket full of RAM is still nearly as cheap as a bucket full of filtered water, and that means the DRAM market is still in shambles. It's a tough business to make money in, unless you're Samsung, in which case you're so far ahead of the pack you can hardly hear the others complaining about how bad it is while reminiscing about the days when making memory chips was like printing money.
If Ali G had any interest in owning a computer, we'd be willing to bet ten pounds of bling he'd insist on Mach Xtreme's new Urban Series DDR3 DRAM, if not for his PC than at least fashioned into some sort of jewelry. These funky looking modules sport regular sized heatsinks with graffiti style graphics, and if you're into that sort of thing, this will probably be the coolest memory you've ever seen.