Dracus Explains: Recent RAM Price Increases

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Dracus Explains: Recent RAM Price Increases

As many of you might have noticed already, RAM prices have increased steadily for a while now – that is, pretty much since the second half of 2016, or since 1-2 years ago.

In many cases, RAM prices have more than doubled in price.

Here are the price graphs for RAM since last August 2016, courtesy of pcpartpicker.com:

We can easily deduce from the above graphs that RAM prices have been constantly increasing ever since August 2016.

There are two main reasons that explain this phenomenon.

The first reason is that there exists a high demand for DRAM chips from the smartphone industry, which will not cease to affect RAM prices until DRAM chip production is increased.[1]

The second reason is somewhat more of a tricky nature. Reuters reports that Chinese authorities are investigating the possibility of malevolent price fixing by DRAM manufacturers – which would mean that prices are “deliberately” high, always in accordance with the Reuters report.[2] It is worth noting that price-fixing of RAM has happened in the past as well.[3]

A third, perhaps less important, reason, is the DRAM manufacturing process change to 10nm by Samsung[4], which should logically raise production costs, due to the use of more advanced and newer technology to produce DRAM chips.

For these reasons, I would recommend to all new PC builders to refrain from buying new RAM, until prices normalize.

Now, the following question easily arises: When are RAM prices going to go down?

EPSNews reports that Samsung is willing to cooperate with the authorities to moderate RAM prices[5] and that Samsung (and other DRAM manufacturers) are eager to put a stop to DRAM shortage soon, also according to Korean ETNews.[6][7]

Now, one might say, “So we should expect prices to go down soon, huh?” Maybe so, or maybe not. Nobody knows that for sure. Personally, I wouldn’t be so optimistic, but time will tell. Hopefully, 2018 turns out better, in this regard (aside from other matters).

Sources:

  1. Moore, B. (2016, October 20). Here’s why DDR4 RAM prices have spiked. Retrieved January 14, 2018, from http://www.pcgamer.com/heres-why-ddr4-ram-prices-have-spiked/
  2. Goh, B., Lee, A. J., & Cadell, C. (2017, December 27). China regulator flags greater scrutiny on chips after price surge. Retrieved January 14, 2018, from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-chips/china-regulator-flags-greater-scrutiny-on-chips-after-price-surge-idUSKBN1EL017
  3. DRAM Price Fixing. (2017, December 09). Retrieved January 14, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DRAM_price_fixing
  4. Shilov, A. (2016, April 07). Samsung Begins To Produce DDR4 Memory Using ’10nm Class’ Process Tech. Retrieved January 14, 2018, from https://www.anandtech.com/show/10226/samsung-begins-to-produce-ddr4-memory-using-10-nmclass-process-tech
  5. Roos, G. (2018, January 05). TrendForce: Samsung, China Meeting Could Moderate DRAM Prices. Retrieved January 14, 2018, from https://epsnews.com/2018/01/05/trendforce-samsung-china-meeting-moderate-dram-prices/
  6. Roos, G. (2017, November 07). Samsung Could End Tight DRAM Supply Earlier Than Expected. Retrieved January 14, 2018, from https://epsnews.com/2017/11/07/samsung-end-tight-dram-supply-earlier-expected/
  7. Samsung Electronics Plans to Increase Quantity of Supply of DRAMs with Extension of Its Plants. (2017, October 31). Retrieved January 14, 2018, from http://english.etnews.com/20171031200001

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