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How PC NAND will Undermine DRAM

NEW YORK July 20, 2011

How PC NAND will Undermine DRAM

This report explores the performance of NAND flash versus DRAM in PCs as measured by industry standard benchmarks and finds that NAND flash provides more performance per dollar spent than does DRAM. This somewhat surprising result leads to Objective Analysis’ natural conclusion that DRAM’s position in the PC is threatened by NAND, and that changes that will undermine the DRAM market will start to evolve in the near term, forcing the DRAM market toward a foundry model over the longer term.

Key Findings:

• NAND flash already brings a greater performance boost per dollar to the PC than does DRAM.

• This has been verified through an exhaustive series of 288 benchmarks performed by Objective Analysis that are detailed in this report.

• Software is being developed to magnify this advantage.

• The price gap between NAND and DRAM is widening, to further amplify the difference.

• The price gap between HDD and NAND varies between 20-40 times and has settled into that ratio for the long term. This will prevent SSDs from displacing HDDs in PCs.

• Existing consumer purchasing patterns will help rather than hinder the adoption of NAND in PCs while it works against SSD adoption.

• NAND’s adoption in PCs will cause DRAM bit growth to slow.

• DRAM is entering a phase of protracted overcapacity that will last from late 2011 well beyond the term of the forecast (2016).

$10 billion

$1.6 billion

• Between the market’s revenue declines and the growing costs of installing new production capacity DRAM vendor consolidation will accelerate, pushing this market to a foundry model by 2020.

Companies Mentioned

Princeton University

Executive Summary 1

Dollar 2

General Observations 2

DRAM Yields Diminishing Returns 3

NAND Is Now Cheaper Than DRAM 6

NAND GBs Will Always Cost More than HDD 10

Benchmarks Run Faster on NAND than DRAM 13

Is Price a Legitimate Measure? 14

A Chart that Summarizes the Argument 14

How NAND Price Decreases Impact These Curves 18

PCIe Survey: Less DRAM 25

Cutting DRAM Cost & Power 25

DRAM Cache Replacement 25

From the Enterprise to the PC 26

How Consumer Behavior will Support NAND Use 27

OEM Decision Matrix 29

MLC: A Legitimate Choice? 30

Software Changes Will Drive NAND Adoption 31

Upgrades to Exisiting Software 31

Automatic Data Placement 32

Manual vs. Automatic Data Placement 33

Caching Firmware on a Hybrid Drive 35

Intel Smart Response Technology 37

NVELO’s Dataplex 38

New Software Custom-Written for SSDs 41

University Research 41

University of California San Diego

Princeton University

How Will the DRAM Market be Impacted? 45

The Long-Term Outlook 48

PCs’ Impact on NAND 49

The Tests 51

SYSmark 2007 Preview 54

HDxPRT 2010 56

PCMark Vantage 57

Applications 59

Methodology 61

Figures 63

Tables 65

To order this report:

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SOURCE Reportlinker

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