(May 8, 2009) LYON, France — The memory semiconductor industry is about to go through a period of major technological changes as new integration trends and disruptive packaging technologies pave the way to the future growth of this industry, reports Yole Développement. Yole’s recent study presents the end applications driving the use of 3D integrated memories and their key players. It also includes an overview of the memory packaging market, its forecasted evolutions with new applications and growth in flash and DRAM.
Historically, the DRAM memory market has been mostly driven by computing applications, while NOR Flash has been mainly deployed into consumer and communication devices, Yole states. More recently, NAND flash memory has emerged as the most promising solid state storage solution for current consumer devices and is showing as the best candidate for hard disk drive replacement in the near future.
Wireless is growing and enabling new market segments from smart-phones to mobile pocket computing devices. As a result, connectivity and integration have become major industry drivers. Demand for data is increasing everywhere: faster pipes, more pipes (WAN, LAN, PAN), HD multimedia, and others. Current complexity and concurrency require higher data capacity and improved power consumption, which is stress-ing established architectures. New interconnects, integration schemes, and packaging technologies are needed to support higher performance, breakthrough density and low-power-consumption devices. 3D IC integration is showing as a major solution path to tackle these challenges; memories will be key components in achieving this successful integration.
3D integration will open a new application space for memory market growth, ac-cording to Yole, which sees the economic downturn as a challenge to thru-silicon via (TSV) adoption in high-volume applications such as low-cost memory. “However, we see concrete signs that this market is definitely taking off, with the first 3D integrated DRAM memories being shipped this year. We estimate that about 20,000 wafers of DRAM memory will be shipped with 3D TSV by the end of 2009, with production moving forward to higher volumes in 2010,” asserted Jérôme Baron, technology and market analyst at Yole. By 2013, Yole expects that telecom and computing industries will drive more than 70% of the total volume for 3D TSV stacked memories.
3D integration with memories is a hot topic because of the challenging market conditions and the required investment to build 3D’s infrastructure. Pre-competitive alliances and partnerships may be necessary to drive the risk down while accelerating product adoption, Yole reports. Memory manufacturers, CMOS foundries, outsourced semiconductor assembly and test (OSAT) packaging houses, fabless IC players, and integrated device manufacturers (IDMs) are concerned and actively preparing for this ultimate integration.
Yole’s study addresses the end applications driving the use of 3D integrated memories in flash and DRAM; the key players doing it; how it will progress and ramp up; and the impact of the current economic turmoil application per application. It also includes data on the forecasted size of the 3D memory market and costs.
To support its investigations in this complex market, Yole is also distributing the “Memory LSI — 2008 Report” from Nikkei BP Consulting, a market research company based in Tokyo, Japan that has been focusing on the analysis of the key market metrics of the memory industry, based on strong interactions all the year with memory fabs worldwide. The two complementary reports are available separately or both in a bundle package.