NAND flash edges in on PC memory

It appears that the days of DRAM use in PCs could be numbered.

A report by Objective Analysis has concluded that the use of NAND flash as PC memory could knock DRAM memory in its biggest market.

The NAND industry is already getting a massive boost with the growth of mobile devices, with chip manufacturers such as Elpida diverting their attention to production of the memory.

And now the report contends that it could further hit the slowing DRAM market by offering an increasingly viable alternative.

A series of 288 PC benchmark tests of the performance of DRAM and NAND capacities showed that a dollar spent on NAND will already give a better performance than the same amount spent on DRAM.

This is only expected to continue as software is optimised for NAND architecture, as well as the continuing NAND price drops.

DRAM is already suffering from the declining interest in personal computers, and the report forecasts a drop in revenues if NAND is to take over PC duties in the future.

If it seems altogether too rosy in the NAND sector, research by IHS iSuppli shows some dark clouds on the horizon here too – but not any time soon.

Apple – which has so far helped boost the NAND flash sector with its mobile devices – could be responsible for a weakening market.

With the introduction of the iCloud storage service, the massive demand for Apple’s various mobile devices could have a detrimental effect as less memory is required.

Ironically, NAND’s biggest supporters in the iPhone and iPad would cause a drop in demand, as the devices would lead in a move towards iCloud storage.

However this isn’t likely to have a big effect just yet, with mass migration away from local storage and into the cloud not on the cards any time soon.

In fact Apple is set to remain the largest purchaser of NAND memory this year, accounting for 28.3 percent of global demand.

This is expected to increase after staying at 29 percent over the next couple of years, before decreasing by 2015.