You can now submit claims for your piece of a $310 million settlement reached between a dozen different Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM) makers in a federal class-action lawsuit accusing the companies of price fixing shenanigans. That may be putting it lightly -- in court documents, the Department of Justice (DoJ) called it "one of the largest cartels ever discovered."
Hynix is still trying to recover from a fire at one of its fabs
The DRAM market pretty much bottomed out a few years ago and has never fully recovered, though we've seen prices slowly rise from time to time. In most cases we're only talking about a few dollars difference for a memory kit, which isn't so bad except that it adds up over time. That trend is likely to continue throughout 2014 as SK Hynix struggles to fully resume wafer production at a fab that suffered fire damage in China.
Mobile DRAM will soon become the most popular type of DRAM around
Samsung is closing out the year by introducing what it claims is the industry's first 8-gigabit (Gb), low power double data rate 4 (LPDDR4), mobile DRAM built a on 20nm-class manufacturing process technology. Using the new chips, DRAM players can cram 1 gigabyte (GB) on a single die, which is the largest density available for DRAM components today, Samsung says. The chips are also fast and power efficient.
Prices likely won't return to normal until next year
DRAM prices are on the rise after a Hynix fabrication plant fire in Wuxi, China. After a September 4th blaze that raged on for nearly two hours, the plant was left ravaged, filled with damaged equipment and problems that have caused DRAM prices to inflate up to 35 percent.
Micron, the memory maker based out of Boise, Idaho, has completed its acquisition of Elpida, a struggling DRAM player in Tokyo. All of Elpida's equity and assets now belong to Micron, including a 300mm DRAM fabrication facility located in Hiroshima, Japan. Other notable assets include a 65 percent stake in Rexchip, which itself owns a 300mm DRAM plant in Taiwan, and 100 percent ownership interest in Akita Elpida Memory, which owns an assembly and test facility in Akita, Japan.
Adata is clearly making a fashion statement with the redesigned heatspreaders it slapped onto its new XPG V2 series of DRAM products designed for 3rd Generation Intel Core processors and the Z87 platform. Exactly which statement is up for debate. Some might view them as funky fresh, others might consider them fugly, but Adata says they were designed with a "futuristic form."
Analysts at IHS iSuppli spent some time pondering what would happen if current tensions in Korea escalate to the point of a war on the Korean peninsula, and what they determined is that it could theoretically cripple the global electronics business. South Korea is a major cog in the electronics supply chain, as it accounts for half of the world's DRAM output, two-thirds of NAND flash manufacturing, and 70 percent of the world's tablet display.
Even with prices going up, it's still a great time to be a PC gamer.
Are you planning to build a gaming PC for the summer? If so, you might want to get started early in order to get the most bang for your buck. Yesterday we told you that desktop DRAM pricing is on the rise as contract chip prices have already jumped 50 percent in 2013, spiking 20 percent in March alone, and now we're hearing that graphics cards are getting more expensive.
DRAM makers are shifting focus from desktop RAM to mobile memory.
Growing demand for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets is prompting memory chip suppliers to commit more capacity to mobile DRAM parts. With only so much capacity to go around, DRAM production for PCs is dropping, resulting in a sharp spike in contract prices. What all this means is that if you spot a good deal on RAM and are in need of an upgrade, go ahead and pull the trigger.
The solution to pricey DRAM is memcached for flash.
You can stuff your home system full of DRAM without putting a hurt on your bank account, but when you're talking about servers on the scale of what's needed to keep Facebook up and running, things tend to get expensive. It's for this reason that Facebook has decided to reduce its dependance on DRAM. In its place, the social networking site built a data cache that runs on flash memory.