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More 4 GB DDR3 Modules Will Ship as Prices Decline

Memory IC buyers at PC OEMs can expect to buy more 4 GB DDR3 memory modules over the next year as the prices have declined 47 percent since last year and more of the modules will be used in desktops and portable computers, according to researcher DRAMeXchange.

While the average price of 4 GB DDR3 modules increased to a high of $33.50 following the Japanese earthquake, the price has been declining since May. The average price is now $19.50. The price is nearly 10 percent less than the price of two 2 GB modules combined, DRAMeXchange reported.

Because of the low price, some PC OEMs have quietly increased the memory capacity of some computers to 4 GB and more are expected to follow suit by the end of the year.

In 2012, total DRAM content per box may increase to an average of 4.2 GB, mainly due to the rise of ultrabooks and the introduction of Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system, according to DRAMeXchange. Although Windows 8 is not expected to have a huge impact on memory content per box, it may stimulate consumers and businesses to upgrade their computers which will help drive DRAM demand.

Four gigabyte DDR3 modules may become the mainstream specification for ultrabooks next year, according to the researcher. That will increase DRAM demand as ultrabooks books are expected to grow market share in 2012.

Researcher TrendForce forecasts that notebook content per box will gradually increase from 3.5 GB in the third quarter of 2011 to 3.7 GB in the fourth quarter. This will contribute to shipments of DDR3 4 GB devices surpassing DDR3 2 GB parts in the fourth quarter.

DRAM manufacturers are expected to reduce production costs of 4 GB chips used in memory modules by about 20-25 percent as they transition manufacturing to 30 nm process technology. That could lead to more price cuts for DRAM.