Dell


2021-08-11

Server DRAM Prices Expected to Rise by 5-10% QoQ in 3Q21 Due to Peak Season, Says TrendForce

Suppliers and clients in the server DRAM market are still having difficulty in reaching agreements on prices for 3Q21 contracts even though the quarter is well underway, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. Hence, server DRAM contract prices are much more varied than before. Regarding the price trend in July, contract quotes for the mainstream 32GB RDIMMs rose by 5-7% MoM.

However, the price hikes have led to a reduction in demand, and there are indications that server DRAM sales bits will register some decline for 3Q21. The release of server CPUs based on the new platforms is driving the procurement of higher-density 64GB RDIMMs, but this has not resulted in a significant corresponding increase in content per unit. The general trend for buyers is to replace two 32GB modules with one 64GB module, rather than a one-to-one replacement as DRAM suppliers previously expected. Contract prices of 64GB RDIMMs rose by 5-7% MoM for July, though prices were below this range for some transactions.

TrendForce’s analysis shows that server DRAM suppliers and buyers are finding it difficult to reach a consensus on prices because DRAM suppliers expect that the demand for server DRAM modules is going to surge in 3Q21 as the third quarter is the traditional peak season for the server market. As well, suppliers also anticipate that the adoption of new server processor platforms will increase the memory content in servers.

With a more optimistic demand outlook, suppliers have adjusted their product mixes to allocate more of their production capacity to server DRAM. Hence, the supply fulfillment rate has risen significantly in the server DRAM market in 3Q21. Server DRAM buyers, on the other hand, already have a high level of inventory. Clients in the data center segment were aggressively stockpiling during the first half of this year due to worries about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the supply chain. They now need some time to consume their inventories and are reluctant to procure more DRAM modules.

Contract prices will be constrained to rise further in 4Q21 as demand side has turned conservative

Currently, enterprise server OEMs in North America have finished arranging their quarterly contracts, whereas numerous cloud service providers and Chinese enterprise server OEMs are still in the midst of negotiations. TrendForce believes that, in order to reach their targets for sales and shipments, server DRAM suppliers may be willing to cut more “special deals” for server DRAM products in August. Specifically, suppliers will push for lock-in contracts that offer adjustable prices for fixed quantities.

On the whole, the general behaviors of DRAM buyers with regards to procurement have changed noticeably form the first half of this year. As the demand related to servers, PCs, and other major applications slows down, the whole DRAM market will gradually shift to the state of oversupply. Since the DRAM market is an oligopoly, the major suppliers will still have significant leverage in price negotiations. Quotes for server DRAM products could therefore rise further by 5-10% QoQ in 3Q21. However, given that prices have yet to be finalized for a substantial portion of 3Q21 contracts, the transaction volume is also very limited. This, in turn, will inevitably create a lot of uncertainties with respect to the price trend in 4Q21.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Semiconductor Research, please click here, or email Ms. Latte Chung from the Sales Department at lattechung@trendforce.com

2021-06-11

Third-Generation Semiconductor GaN Technology Expected to Revolutionize the Fast Charging Industry

In response to the increasing demands of mobile applications, manufacturers are now placing a priority on extending the battery life of such devices like smartphones and notebook computers. However, due to the inherent limitations of physical space in these devices, the quest for ever-greater battery capacity has seemingly reached a bottleneck, forcing them to look elsewhere for solutions, hence the development of fast charging technology. As such, fast chargers equipped with GaN (Gallium nitride, which is a third-generation semiconductor) chips have are now expected to introduce the next chapter for the fast charging market.

According to TrendForce’s latest investigations, as smartphone brands including Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo have successively been releasing fast chargers since 2018, the market demand for GaN power devices has undergone a corresponding growth as well. Given the continued upward trajectory of the market, GaN power device revenue for 2021 is expected to reach US$61 million, a 90.6% YoY increase.


Due to their low portability and tendency to overheat, traditional fast chargers are increasingly unable to meet consumer demand

In the past, fast chargers were generally based on Si (Silicon) chips. However, as these chargers increase in wattage, their mass and physical dimension increased as well, meaning they suffered from low portability and a tendency to overheat when fast charging. On the other hand, as battery capacities expanded past the 4000mAh mark, traditional Si chargers began to see a drop in charging efficiency. In light of this, after certain breakthroughs in GaN manufacturing technologies were achieved, next-gen GaN chargers are likely to completely transform most consumers’ preexisting impressions of fast chargers.

Nonetheless, the manufacturing costs of GaN chargers are still 80%-120% higher compared with Si chargers at the moment. That is why very few devices bundle GaN chargers as a standard accessory included with the purchase and why GaN chargers are consequently sold separately instead. TrendForce expects the market for GaN chargers to experience rapid growth in 2021, with about 57 million units shipped for the year.

IC design company Navitas is the biggest winner in the GaN charger supply chain

The GaN charger supply chain encompasses virtually all major companies in various industries, and companies for which GaN businesses account for a larger share of their sales or technologies are more likely to benefit from the booming GaN charging market as well. As the largest supplier of GaN charger chips at the moment, Navitas has a clientele consisting of such major brands as Xiaomi, OPPO, Lenovo, Asus-Adol, and Dell. TrendForce’s investigations find that Navitas’ share in the GaN charger chip market surpassed 50% as of last year.

Navitas’ chips are currently fabricated with TSMC’s GaN on Si technology on 6-inch wafers, while TSMC is planning to increase its GaN production capacities by outsourcing its epitaxial processes to Ennostar subsidiary Unikorn. As Navitas expands its shipment volume going forward, TSMC and Ennostar are expected to benefit as well.

(Cover image source: Unsplash)

2021-01-06

Global Notebook Computer Shipment Expected to Reach 217 Million Units in 2021, with Chromebooks Accounting for 18.5% of Total Shipment, Says TrendForce

Owing to the stay-at-home economy brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, not only did yearly notebook computer shipment surpass 200 million units for the first time ever, but the 22.5% YoY growth was also the highest on record, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations.

However, in comparison with 2Q20, during which production lines resumed operations, and notebook demand saw an uptick, the current global market is plagued by the ever-intensifying pandemic, with various countries instating border control and lockdown measures, making it impossible at the moment to accurately forecast the state of the notebook market in 2H21. Nevertheless, TrendForce currently expects global notebook shipment for 2021 to reach 217 million units, an 8.1% increase YoY. Incidentally, it should be noted that the increasing popularity of distance education has also galvanized a rising demand for Chromebooks, which have contributed substantially to the growth of the overall market. Chromebooks accounted for 14.8% of the global notebook shipment in 2020, while this rate is expected to rise to 18.5% in 2021.

As WFH becomes the new normal for office work, online meeting functionalities will be a major focus of business notebook designs

Since 2020, various companies worldwide have announced the implementation of WFH measures, with certain companies adopting WFH until September this year. In order to meet the audiovisual demands of online meetings, as well as the personal and entertainment needs of end users, notebook brands have been making improvements to their business notebooks’ functionalities, including AI, camera modules, sound quality, background noise removal, and image qualities. In particular, HP, Dell, and Lenovo are each releasing new mid-range and high-end mixed-use business notebooks in response to the commercial opportunities generated by the aforementioned user demands. Demand for this product category is expected to peak in 1H21 and in turn massively raise overall notebook shipment for the period as well.

In addition to mixed-use business notebooks, the new normal in the post-pandemic era has compelled brands to quickly establish dominance in the Chromebook market as well. Although Chromebook shipment reached 29.6 million units in 2020, an impressive 74% YoY growth for year, current demand from most educational markets has yet to be met. This, along with continued Chromebook adoption in Central America, South America, and the Asia-Pacific regions, resulted in peak Chromebook demand. At the moment, TrendForce projects yearly Chromebook shipment to exceed 40 million units in 2021, a 37% YoY growth. Moreover, given Google’s aggressive product strategies, this projection may have even further room for growth.

Continued high demand for Chromebooks has resulted in shifts in the OS and CPU markets

With regards to operating systems, Windows remains the dominant choice in the notebook market. However, due to the rapid growth of Chromebooks in 2020, Windows’ market share dropped below 80% for the first time ever. Windows is unlikely to recover its lost market shares in the short run, since its decline is expected to persist going forward. TrendForce expects the market shares of Windows, Chrome OS, and MacOS to each stabilize at about 70-75%, 15-20%, and below 10%, respectively.

With regards to notebook CPUs, AMD’s Zen+ microarchitecture-based CPUs saw a major uptick in notebook adoption in 2019, with about an 11.4% market share. This figure rose to 20.1% in 2020 after a period of product ramp-up. In particular, the Ryzen 3000 series CPUs have been receiving excellent market feedback in the entry-level and mid-range notebook segments, thereby convincing notebook brands to start equipping their Chromebooks with AMD CPUs, bringing about a further and considerable growth in AMD’s market share.

The Apple Silicon M1 processors, based on the ARM architecture and officially released in November 2020, reached a mere 0.8% market share for the year. Apple adopted the ARM architecture primarily to optimize MacBook performances. Along with the release of Apple Silicon M1, Apple has also completed the integration between its hardware, software, and SaaS platforms. The company is expected to release 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros, both of which will be equipped with Apple’s in-house CPUs, after 2Q21, raising Apple’s notebook market share to about 7%. The 7% and 20% market shares from Apple and AMD, respectively, mean that Intel will be faced with increasing competitive pressure in the market and need to deliver an appropriate product strategy in response.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Display Research, please click here, or email Ms. Vivie Liu from the Sales Department at vivieliu@trendforce.com

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