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.
Current HDD prices in line with pre-recession levels
The hard drive industry was hit particularly hard by the 2011 floods in Thailand, which is the second biggest producer of hard drives behind China. The devastating deluge was accompanied by a sharp increase in hard drive prices, with the average selling price for HDDs shooting up 28 percent to reach $66 in Q4 2011 (Q2 FY2012). Although a return to pre-flood prices does not seem likely in the immediate future, things aren’t nearly as bad as they were an year ago.
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For far too many years now Windows laptops have been catering to the sub $500 crowd, practically ceding the high end market to Apple. Of course the Alienware’s of the world have continued to pump out impressive gaming notebooks, but mainstream users were all too often deciding between a cheap PC, or a more expensive Macbook. Ultrabooks have done a great job of capturing back consumer mindshare, and according to NPD, have helped keep the $700-$900 PC price bracket from eroding away completely. They also noted that the $900+ price point managed to grow a whopping 39 percent from last year.
Eight out of ten geeks agree: once you've taken an SSD's blazing fast speeds for a whirl, it's hard to go back to standard HDDs. (The last two geeks horde ripped HD video files like they're going out of style.) The problem is, the comparatively sky-high price point of SSDs have kept most folks away from their oh-so-sweet performance. New reports indicate that may change in the coming months, however, as the big movers and shakers in the SSD industry lower prices to try and squeeze out the little guys.
Sick of hearing about Ultrabooks yet? If so, you'd better grab some Pepto Bismol. PC manufacturers have jumped onto Intel's slim n' fast bandwagon with almost astonishing vigor; the first Ultrabooks didn't even hit the streets until the end of last year, and a whopping 21 variations have dropped in the scant 5 months since. That's just the tip of the iceberg, however. Intel says that there are a full 75 more Ultrabooks already in development, and that lower price points and stricter standards are also coming.
While more of a steady smolder than a spectacular blaze when compared to the iPad, the Kindle Fire has shown that consumers are not averse to buying a non-iPad tablet as long as the price is right and the specs not too shabby. Amazon has literally lit up the tablet market, with a number of vendors now taking its lead in releasing affordable Android tablets. All the combustion metaphors aside, this surge in the ranks of decent budget tablets is only going to make the task that much harder for Wintel tablets, especially given Microsoft and Intel’s reluctance to subsidize their products. Everyone wants to know just how the duo would respond. Will the two giants try and enter into a price war with their rivals?
In these lean economic times, a punch to the wallet hurts almost as much as a punch to the gut – and rising HDD prices have us all stumbling and woozy. Creative problem solvers with hefty mobos may have found their thoughts turning towards a mind-blowing RAM disk as one possible solution, given the rock-bottom prices of memory these days. Toss that out the window. Adata’s Chairman and CEO said that the DRAM production cutbacks that memory makers kicked in earlier in the year will take effect as early as January, which means – yep – you’ll be paying more for DRAM soon, too.
If the latest report from Taiwanese news site DigiTimes proves correct, you may want to consider upgrading that aging power supply sooner rather than later. The reason? Taiwan-based PSU companies have either already hiked prices, or are planning to do so, DigiTimes says.
It's important to note here that most PSUs, regardless of branding, are manufactured overseas, so this could potentially affect PSUs in the U.S. According to DigiTimes, Taiwan produces about 80 percent of the worldwide power supplies used in notebooks, 50 percent of those used in PCs and LCD TVs, and nearly 50 percent of the PSUs in servers.
So is there reason to panic? Not likely. DigiTimes says prices are poised to rise by 10 percent, and this appears to be mostly related to system companies rather than the DIY community. Even still, it's worth keeping an eye on, especially if you're getting ready to upgrade your PSU or put together a new system.
The ever-volatile DRAM market continues to battle its share of supply and demand issues, the latest of which could affect smartphones and other gadgets with embedded RAM. Citing un-named industry sources, DigiTimes says prices for 512Mbit DDR, which are used for multi-chip package (MCP) memory products found mainly in mobile handsets, have shot up over 40 percent the past month due to tight supply.
The average spot price for 512Mb (64Mbitx8) SDRAM has gone from $1.53 a month ago to over $2.20 currently, the sources said. But mobile handsets aren't the only sector being affected.
Demand for 64Mb and 32Mb DDR memory in DVD players, hard drives, consumer electronics, and even home appliances have started to exceed supply.
Part of the reason for the widespread supply and demand issues can be traced to Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC)'s withdrawal from the SDRAM foundry business. Prior to discontinuing the line earlier this year, SMIC used to allocate capacity of around 20,000 wafers for production of SDRAM chips.