Rising Demand from Data Centers Pushed Up 4Q17 Server DRAM Revenue by 13.9% QoQ, Says TrendForce

27 Feb

The total server DRAM revenue of the top three DRAM suppliers (Samsung, SK Hynix, and Micron) rose by 13.9% QoQ in 4Q17 on the back of rising average selling price (ASP), reports DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce. The supply of server DRAM has not kept pace with the demand even as suppliers have assigned more capacity to their server product lines. Furthermore, the data center projects in North America have been contributing to the strong demand growth.

DRAMeXchange analyst Mark Liu points out that tight supply will persist in the server DRAM market during 1Q18 as server shipments continue to show strength. Quotes of server DRAM modules are also expected to remain high.

Samsung

Samsung’s server DRAM business had a stellar performance in 4Q17 due to the demand generated by data center projects and the growing demand for high-density modules. Compared with 3Q17, Samsung’s server DRAM bit shipments went up by 8%. The supplier also saw higher ASP. Revenue-wise, Samsung posted a 14.5% QoQ increase for 4Q17 to US$2.919 billion. Its market share was around 46.2%. Currently, Samsung has been adjusting shipment fulfillment rates of orders from OEMs and ODMs. This maneuver can help satisfy the demand of major clients while increasing the profit.

SK Hynix

SK Hynix has allocated more resources to the production of server DRAM as to capture more opportunities in North America’s data center market, the share of server DRAM in its product mix has grown by more than 30% in 4Q17. At the same time, the transition to the new server processor platform drives the sales of SK Hynix’s high-density modules, and resulted in a sizable 10.9% QoQ increase in revenue, totaling US$1.988 billion in 4Q17. The supplier’s operating margin also improved substantially compared with 3Q17. Because the demand for server DRAM is still at a high level entering 2018, SK Hynix is expected to raise the output share of its server DRAM products on a quarterly basis. SK Hynix this year will also focus on transition to the 18nm process and on increasing the penetration rate of 18nm products.

Micron

Micron has benefitted from rising prices as well as cost savings from the shrinking of processing nodes. It also saw notable increases in both ASP and bit shipments for server DRAM between 3Q17 and 4Q17. The supplier’s 4Q17 server DRAM revenue advanced by 17.2% QoQ to US$1.414 billion, amounting to a market share of 22.4%. On the other hand, Micron has kept the share of server products in its total DRAM output at the near 30% level. The supplier’s profitability in this application market will therefore depend on continuing rise of the ASP.

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