The DRam module market is looking at a healthy 27 per cent growth in 2004, according to the latest estimates from analyst iSuppli.
The market watcher said it expects the growth to come from a general recovery in the PC market, combined with rising upgrade sales, resulting in a market worth $17.6bn. DRam suppliers are expected to capture 39 per cent of the market, with third-party module makers controlling the rest.
About half of all modules will go to PC OEMs in 2004, followed by 39 per cent to system builders and 11 per cent to the upgrade sector.
Desktop PCs will remain the biggest application for DRam modules, accounting for almost 60 per cent of total sales.
Mobile PCs come second, while thanks to increased notebook sales, small outline dual in-line memory modules (SODIMMs) will increase their share of the total market to 23 per cent in 2007, up from 19 per cent in 2003.
Registered DIMMs for high-end server applications will account for eight per cent of total DRam module unit consumption in 2004, iSuppli said.
Dave Flack, sales and marketing director at memory distributor Memory Plus, was sceptical about the impact on DRam sales of a recovering PC market.
"The yearly growth estimate seems a little high at the moment," he said.
"I can't see PC manufacturers putting any more memory into their machines than is already there. Many are doubling up memory for free at the moment. There will be rising upgrade sales, but just because there are more PC sales does not necessarily mean more memory will be sold."
ISuppli claimed the dominant memory type will remain 256MB modules with 58 per cent market share - nearly 250 million are expected to ship this year. The US is still the biggest consumer, but China will soon catch up, according to Nam Hyung Kim, senior memory analyst at iSuppli.
"The Americas region will consume 30 per cent of all DRam modules sold worldwide in 2004. However, growing DRam module demand in China will allow that country's consumption to overtake the Americas by 2007, by which time it is expected to account for 29 per cent of worldwide module purchases," Kim said.
Kingston Technology remained the number-one module supplier in 2003 worldwide, with 20.9 per cent share of the market. Smart Modular Technologies was second with 8.1 per cent, and third was TwinMOS Technologies with six per cent.
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