New NV memories to be $1.6bn market in 2018.

MRAM/STTMRAM and PCM will lead the Emerging Non-Volatile Memory (ENVM) market, reaching a combined $1.6bn by 2018, says a report from analysts Yole Developpement.

“By 2018, MRAM/STTMRAM and PCM will surely be the top two ENVM on the market,” says Yole’s Yann de Charentenay, “combined, they will represent a $1.6bn business by 2018, and their sales will almost double each year, with double-density chips launched every two years.”

Until recently, only FRAM, PCM and MRAM were industrially produced and available in low-density chips to only a few players, says the report, so the market was quite limited and considerably smaller than the DRAM and flash markets which had combined revenues of $50bn+ in 2012.

Chip density

In the next five years the scalability and chip density of those memories will be greatly improved and will spark many new applications, says the report.

With the adoption of STT MRAM and PCM Cache memory, enterprise storage will be the largest ENVM market. ENVM will greatly improve the input/output performance of enterprise storage systems whose requirements will intensify with the growing need for web-based data supported by cloud servers.

Mobile phones will increase its adoption of PCM as a substitute to flash NOR memory in MCP packages thanks to 1GB chips made available by Micron in 2012.

Higher-density chips, expected in 2015, will allow access to smart phone applications that are quickly replacing entry-level phones.

STTMRAM is expected to replace SRAM in SoC applications thanks to lower power consumption and better scalability.

Smart card MCU (microcontrollers) will likely adopt MRAM/STTMRAM and PCM as a substitute to embedded flash.

3D NAND 

Mass storage markets served by flash NAND could begin using 3D RRAM in 2017-2018, when 3D NAND will slow down its scalability as predicted by all of the main memory players.

When this happens, a massive RRAM ramp-up will commence in the next decade that will replace NAND, if sufficient 3D RRAM cost-competitiveness and chip density are available.

Non-volatile memory 

Overall, the global emerging non-volatile memory market will grow from $209M in 2012 to $2B in 2018, equating to an impressive growth of + 46 %/year. Nevertheless, this is a forecast based on a conservative scenario, and the report also provides a best-case scenario for an even broader adoption of ENVM.

FeRAM will grow at a steadier growth rate (+10%/ year) and will focus on industrial & transportation applications because of the low-density available. RRAM revenues won’t really surge until 2018, with the availability of high-density chips of several 10’s of Gb that could replace NAND technology.

The memory supply chain has been highly concentrated in the last 10 years, supporting a huge price/Gb decrease (-20 to 40 %/year for NAND and DRAM).

Five players (Samsung, Micron, SK Hynix, Toshiba and SanDisk) hold 90 % of DRAM and NAND sales. These leading players will have a key role in the competitive landscape of ENVM.

Tags: Yole

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