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When Windows 7 goes on sale 2H’2009 (maybe on October 23), it is expected to create a positive side-effect for the DRAM industry. The OS’s large memory needs will produce a notable increase in DRAM demand, according to Powerchip Semiconductor Corporation (PSC) Chairman, Frank Huang, who expects it to exceed capacity when launched.

Huang believes 3Q DRAM supply will fall short of demand sparked by the hardware and machine ramp-up in advance of Windows 7 going on sale. Windows 7 is expected to not only lift PC purchases, but also spawn upgrades in previous Vista users who will take advantage of the lower cost memory available today.

It’s believed the new OS and its memory requirements will contribute to the entire DRAM chip sector, which for the last two years has been in the midst of its largest ever decline — something caused by DRAM makers erroneously believing previously that Vista would spark a huge increase in DRAM demand.

Huang reported that, due to the decline, Samsung and Hynix have begun phasing out their 200mm wafer production lines, and have allocated new capacity for expansions in NAND flash chip production.

DRAMeXchange shows that spot prices have increased to $1.30 per 1Gb eTT DDR2 chips, which is notably higher than the sub-$1.00 price seen at the end of April, and well on its way to projected $1.50 by the start of 3Q, as was predicted earlier by Kingston Technology’s Scott Chen.

Microsoft is receiving extremely positive reviews from its Windows 7 beta program, which is unprecedented in scope in the company’s history. The company has also officially announced Windows 7 will be available by “the holiday season”.

Rick’s Opinion

DRAM is cheap, cheap, cheap. For those who build computer systems as a hobby or for family and friends, if you’ve been out of the game for a year or two, you might be amazed. NewEgg is selling 4GB DDR2-800 (PC2 6400) modules for $55.49 with free shipping (8GB will cost you $110.98). And if your motherboard has four slots, you can go with 4x 2GB chips, which are selling for $37.99 for DDR2-800 (PC2 6400) in 2x 2GB blocks, for $37.99 (meaning 8GB will cost you $75.98).

I can remember buying 1GB of memory for my old dual-socket Intel Pentium III Xeon machine (4x 256MB DIMMs) and paying well over $400 for it. Today, DDR2-667 (PC2 5400) 512MB DIMMs sell for $7.99 each. It’s just amazing.

When these per-chip prices (each DIMM is made up of several eTT DDR2 chips of various capacity, such as 16Gb, 32Gb, 64Gb, etc.) reach the $1.50 per 1Gb mark, the end-user won’t see much of a price change — at least not at first. However, the companies selling DRAM will again become either profitable, or they’ll begin losing less money as DRAM has always been an extremely tight industry for revenue, cost of manufacturing and market conditions. (Source)

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