DRAM demand to remain strong in 2007

Samsung predicts demand for DRAM will be boosted by the release of Vista

Demand for DRAM (dynamic RAM) will remain strong into next year, thanks to the introduction of Microsoft's Vista operating system and Sony Computer Entertainment's PlayStation 3 game console, a Samsung Electronics executive said Monday.

"We have strong demand, strong pricing," Woo-Sik Chu, Samsung's senior vice president of investor relations, told investors at a meeting in Singapore. "Think about what that will do to our bottom line."

Demand for DRAM will be boosted by the introduction of Sony's PlayStation 3 and the release of Vista, Chu said. "We see a very strong picture for DRAM," he said.

On the PC side, vendors have already begun ordering DRAM for "Vista-ready" systems, which require more memory than computers that run its predecessor, Windows XP, Chu said. Vista will be available to business customers later this month, with consumer systems running the operating system due to be released early next year.

The release of Vista means PC makers will increase the average amount of memory shipped with each PC from around 800MB per system now to about 1.2GB next year -- a 46 percent increase, Chu said.

Most of the DRAM used in PCs next year will be DDR2 (double data rate, second-generation). But Samsung expects to begin shipping the first DDR3 chips, a more advanced memory technology that offers better performance and lower power consumption than existing DRAM chips, said Tae-Sung Jung, the senior vice president of Samsung's memory division.

The first desktop systems using DDR3 memory will hit the market during the second half of 2007, Jung said, noting that a prototype system running DDR3 was demonstrated by Intel and Samsung at the Intel Developer Forum last month.

The expected introduction of DDR3 systems during the second half of the year corresponds with Intel's previously announced plans to add DDR3 support to its chip sets at the same time.

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