It's the same old song and tune for the DRAM market, which continues to sing the blues over falling chip prices. How bad is it? According to market research firm iSuppli, "DRAM continued to head down a grim path of unstoppable decline in December." Yikes.
It's the lowest point of the year for DRAM makers, who had plenty of low points in 2010. By the second week in December, the contract price for a 2GB DDR3 DRAM module was only $21, down more than half of the $44.40 selling price just six months ago. And it's not just DDR3; DDR2 modules are suffering the same kind of price drops.
"DRAM pricing appears to be reaching critical levels, and nothing is likely to stop prices from continuing their slide in the next six months," iSuppli says. "In particular, as DDR3 reaches $1 per gigabyte, DRAM manufacturers operating at the 60-nanometer (nm) process node will start to face the painful economics of costs exceeding prices. In 2008 when prices dropped below $1 per gigabyte, manufacturers with lagging process technology were forced to throttle down production."
Things don't look to improve for DRAM makers through at least the first half of 2011. On the flip side, PC makers have been able to load up machines with more RAM without jacking up the price.
Egads. Zoinks. Aw shucks. These are all expressions you're likely to hear emanating from DDR3 factories in Taiwan, because all the more colorful ones have already been used ad nauseum. Things areb't getting any better, either.
Contract prices for 1Gb (gigabit) DDR3 chips averaged just $1.09 for the first half of December, the lowest they've been in all of 2010, DigiTimes reports. That's down 10.66 percent so far for the month, after having already tumbled 13.35 percent in the second half of November.
In terms of actual memory modules, 2GB DDR3 sticks slipped to $20 for the first half of December, a 9 percent drop sequentially, according to data by DRAMeXchange. Looking ahead, DRAMeXchange predicts more of the same (falling prices) through at least the first half of 2011.
Do memory modules really get hot enough to justify active cooling? Maybe you're wondering if your case's poor airflow is affecting your RAM. The problem here is that temp monitors for memory modules are few and far between, at least that's the case if you're running run-of-the-mill memory.
Crucial set out to solve this dilemma by injecting a thermal sensor into select Ballistix kits, and these specially equipped modules now come in speeds of DDR3-1866MHz in capacities of 2GB, 4GB (2x2GB), and 6GB (2x3GB), and DDR3-2133 in capacities of 2GB and 4GB (2x2GB).
Crucial says these kits come with an improved finned heatspreader design resulting in up to 30 percent better performance in heat dissipation over previous kits, and to prove it, you can download the Ballistix MOD Utility to see just how hot (or cool) these modules are running.
The new kits are available now direct from Crucial, and you can download the temp monitoring software from here.
Samsung this week unveiled what it claims is the industry's first monolithic four gigabit (Gb), low power double-data rate 2 (LPDDR2) DRAM built on a 30nm manufacturing process. The new chip is specifically intended for high-end smartphones and tablets
"The mobile device market is gaining momentum with the advent of tablet PCs, which is adding significantly to the already surging smartphone segment," said Jun-Young Jeon, vice president, memory product planning team, Samsung Electronics. "Samsung will work closely with mobile device designers to bring high-performance, high-density mobile solutions to market as rapidly as possible."
According to Samsung, its new LPDDR2 part can transfer up to 1,066Mbps, offering similar performance to desktop memory. It's also more than twice as fast as previous mobile DRAM technology.
Samsung said it will begin sampling 8Gb (1GB) LPDDR2 DRAM this month by stacking two 4Gb chips in a single package, whereas previous 8Gb LPDDR2 DRAM used four 2Gb chips. The upshot here is a 20 percent height reduction, which should help result in slimmer mobile devices, and 25 percent less power consumption.
We often preach how easy it is to roll your own rig, once you know how. And even if you don't, it's not hard to take that next step -- all it requires is a little bit of research, some careful planning, and the right parts.
One of the best ways to learn how to piece together your own system is to build up experience by upgrading your existing PC. If you think about it, a full system install is really just one big upgrade, and some of the steps are so easy even a chimpanzee can do it. Literally. Don't believe it? Check out Mushkin's new video showing a chimp installing a kit of RAM, and then celebrating (which is perfectly acceptable after completing your first build/upgrade).
The CompactFlash Association only recently released the CF6.0 specification, which calls for a maximum transfer rate of 167MB/s. That's fast, but not nearly fast enough for SanDisk, Sony, and Nikon. The tech trio is proposing a new specification that will essentially triple transfer rates to 500MB/s via PCI-Express.
"This ultra high-speed media format will enable further evolution of hardware and imaging applications, and widen the memory card options available to CompactFlash users such as professional photographers," said Mr. Shigeto Kanda, Canon, and chairman of the Board, CFA. "This next generation formation is expected to be widely adapted to various products, including those other than high-end DSLRs."
The proposed specification isn't just about speed, but capacity as well. According to the three companies, capacities beyond 2TB would be possible, which would better allow for continuous burst shooting of massive RAW images and HD video applications.
Corsair's new Vengeance high-performance DDR3 memory kits don't just look mean, they purportedly back up their aggressive styling with plenty of overclocking potential. According to Corsair, the Vengeance line consists of "carefully selected RAMS to enable excellent overclocking results," whether you're sporting an AMD or Intel processor inside.
"Customers have been asking for outstanding memory with a lower price tag, and we have been listening," said Thi La, Vice President of Memory Products at Corsair. "I believe that our users will love both the exciting new look and the overclocking results they are able to achieve with our new Vengeance memory."
Vengeance kits come in a variety of high tech flavors, including single, dual, and triple-channel kits ranging from 4GB to 16GB in capacity.
We're starting to sound like a broken record here, but that's only because the DRAM market keeps playing the same old tune over and over again. It's a sad melody about falling DRAM contract prices, and according to Digitimes, those prices plummeted another 12-13 percent in late November.
Contract prices for 2GB DDR3 modules have tumbled to $22, and they're not selling for that much more online. A quick glance on Newegg shows several 2GB DDR3 sticks going for less than $30 shipped, some as low as $24 shipped.
Citing un-named industry sources in Taiwan, DigiTimes says the recent price drop has to do with an oversupply caused in large part by Samsung, Inotera, and Nanya kicking out too many modules. By the end of 2010, there's the chance contract prices will fall even further, below the $20 mark.
Sure, OCZ is all about SSDs these days, but the company hasn't forgotten its roots as a memory maker. To prove it, OCZ on Tuesday unveiled a handful of new kits, including the Blade 2 Series, Platinum XTE (Xtreme Thermal Exchange) Series, and Gold XTE Series.
"Building on our previous lines of enthusiast overclocking memory, the new XTE and Blade 2 DDR3 memory series are designed to set the benchmark once again and deliver the ultimate in performance and stability," said Alex Mei, CMO of OCZ Technology Group. "Featuring new compact, yet highly efficient heatspreader designs, these hand-tested kits are the ideal solution for overclockers, gaming, and productivity applications, and are optimized for th latest generation of platforms from Intel and AMD."
The Blade 2 kits come rated for 2133MHz or 2400MHz in both dual- and triple-channel configurations, while the Platinum XTE and Gold XTE range in frequency from 1600MHz to 2133MHz..
The way things are going, we'd rather run a lemonade stand than try to make a buck selling RAM. The DRAM market continues to struggle, but in an attempt to turn lemons into lemonade, PNY has teamed up with Sony to offer a bonus full-length movie download with the purchase of one of PNY's new memory kits.
The new kits include 8GB and 4GB capacities in both 1333MHz desktop and 1066MHz notebook configurations. PNY says the 8GB kit is now the highest capacity memory in the company's line-up, which sells for $130 direct through PNY, and little less street.
As for the bonus flick, buyers can choose from "over 35 movie titles from a broad selection of genres... The bonus Sony movie downloads include recent blockbuster hits as well as favorite classics, such as The Da Vinci Code, Hitch, Big Daddy, As Good As It Gets, 21, and S.W.A.T."