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Win8 not expected to spark DRAM shipments

Posted: 31 Oct 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Operating System? Windows 8? DRAM Shipments? Vista? PC Shipments?

According to the latest IHS iSuppli DRAM Market Brief Report, the roll out of Windows 8 is not expected to generate a significant rise in DRAM shipments. This bucks the trend of double-digit percentage increases in quarterly DRAM shipments generated by Microsoft's debut of its new PC operating systems.

Global DRAM bit shipments are expected to increase by only 8 per cent in the fourth quarter compared to the third. This lower growth number not only includes DRAM for PCs, but also in smartphones and tablets. Windows 8 is not expected to generate the kind of bump in DRAM shipments seen in the past partly because of its lean hardware requirements. Even more importantly, the arrival of Windows 8 is not likely to deliver a significant increase in PC shipments in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011.

Clifford Leimbach, an analyst at IHS, stated that the release of a new Microsoft OS traditionally has been accompanied by a more advanced system requirements, which then fuels growth in the DRAM market as more bits are shipped. However, he added that starting from Windows 7 and continuing with Windows 8, Microsoft has taken a leaner approach with its operating systems, maintaining the same DRAM requirements as before. Meanwhile, consumers are continuing to eschew new PC purchases in the fourth quarter, with Windows 8 not expected to change this situation.

Windows' History with DRAM shipments
Traditionally, the release of a new OS is accompanied by more advanced system requirements. This, in turn, fuels growth in the DRAM market as more DRAM bits are shipped out. At such times, DRAM shipments grow because of increased orders from PC original equipment manufacturers that need to put the additional memory into their products, as stipulated by the requirements of the new OS. Many consumers also decide that the release of a new operating system represents a good time to purchase a new computer or to upgrade their memory, driving further DRAM sales.

Figure: Historical DRAM Bit Shipment Percentage Growth (Sequential Quarterly Change in Unit Shipments)
Source: IHS iSuppli

For instance, the release of Windows 3.1 caused DRAM bit shipments to increase by 29 per cent sequentially in the first quarter of 1992, compared to just a 12 per cent climb in the earlier quarter. A similar heady expansion was seen with Windows 95 in light of a 23 per cent advance during the fourth quarter of 1995. Prior to the surge, DRAM bit shipments had been growing on average by 11 to 14 per cent in the previous four quarters.

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