Memory chip glut may be on way

A South Korea-based study says 64-megabit chips may face a supply glut.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
2 min read
A South Korean government study said that the growing supply of 64-megabit memory chips may lead to a glut in 1998, according to a report that appeared in Japan?s Denpa Shimbun newspaper.

The study was released by a South Korean organization called KIET, which is described as a government-related think tank, according to brief outline of the report posted on Japan?s Comline news service.

KIET expects the glut to occur on the world market by early 1998. One reason is that large memory chip manufacturers have been aggressively promoting sales of 16-megabit DRAM memory, which has been in surplus supply for well over a year. This sales campaign may negatively impact sales of 64-megabit DRAMs when the latter begin to hit the market in volume, according to the report.

Declining prices in the memory market make it likely that computer vendors next year will start using the newest 64-megabit memory chips in high-end desktop PCs--quadrupling the amount of memory most users get in today's desktops. Also next year, memory chip makers are expected to begin shipping 128-megabit memory chips.

Today's standard memory is the 16-megabit chip. A 64-megabit chip can pack four times as much data in the same size chip package.

The memory chips themselves are delivered on small circuit boards called modules. New modules containing 64-megabit memory chips would allow PCs that currently come with 16 megabytes (MB) of memory to pack in 64MB in the same space.

Modules with 128-megabit chips would offer double the capacity of 64-megabit-chip-based modules, making personal computers with 64MB or 128MB of memory more commonplace.