4GB memory modules jumped in price by more than 11 percent last month, DRAMeXchange says.
Anyone remember when a 2GB overclocking kit would run a couple hundred dollars? Those days are long gone, replaced by the current landscape in which you can scoop up a 32GB DDR3 memory kit for around $150 or $160. DRAM prices are dirt cheap, as they have been for some time now, and it's taken a toll on DRAM makers. According to DRAMeXchange, top tier memory makers continue to reduce shipments of commodity DRAM to drive up prices, and it's working.
With all the damage caused by the flooding in Thailand, it's a terrible time for your mechanical hard drive to give up the ghost. HDD prices have shot way up and show no signs of coming back down anytime soon. But if your system memory coughs up a hairball, you're in luck, assuming you don't make a living building DRAM. According to market research firm DRAMeXchange, the DRAM outlook is still looking "gloomy."
Timing the purchase of RAM can be as maddening as trying to predict the stock market. It's entirely possible to plunk down a wad of cash on a memory kit, only to watch as prices plummet a week later. That said, if you're in need of a memory upgrade, now might be a good time to buy.
Or at least that's the message we take away from market research firm DRAMeXchange, who warns that a DRAM shortage looms. The firm notes a lack of capital investment as the reason why, adding that there's already a shortage of some memory densities because of a recovery in the PC market. DRAMeXchange says some OEMs paid as much as $55 for 2GB DDR2 modules in the sport market.
The firm says that year-on-year PC shipment growth could climb to 13 percent in 2010, putting pressure on memory makers to keep up with demand.
PC builders continue to jump for joy at the rock bottom prices of memory, leading to an easy decision to go with a 4GB kit in lieu of a 2GB kit of RAM. Never has memory been so cheap, and some say the market for memory makers is the worst it has been in 15 years.
And therein lies the problem. While end users are celebrating low prices, DRAM makers have been cutting back production, reducing workers' hours, and laying off employees all in an attempt drive prices back up and cope with decreased revenue. But it isn't enough, and now it appears that memory makers have reached a crossroads.
"We believe that the DRAM industry has entered the key adjusting stage of 'reduce or retire,'" DRAMeXchange stated. "The big scale reduction is now in progress and even some DRAM vendors will be out of the DRAM market in 2009. This adjusting wave will continue until the demand and supply come to balance."
According to DRAMeXchange, the cash cost of the market's 70nm technology is between $1.3 and $1.5 and is expected to drop to $1.0 to $1.2 as DRAM makers migrate to the 6x nm process. Total 12-inch wafer output continues to fall, with the reduction for November expected to be 125,000 less wafers, which is equivalent to 10 percent of the total 12-inch wafer output. The situation looks to get even worse in December, with another 17,000-wafer reduction expected, with more reductions possible in January.
"We expect the oversupply situation will be eased starting from the end of Q1 2009," DRAMeXchange said. "Therefore, the DRAM price may have a chance to rebound at the end of Q2 09 and Q3 09 with the rising demand of PC OEMS."
The question is, which memory makers will be left standing by then?