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DRAM Prices Are Hardly Changing These Days

By - Source: IHS | B 20 comments

DRAM has been the poster child of rapidly fluctuating market prices for decades. DRAM vendors could get insanely rich one month and fall near bankruptcy the next. Not so right now.

Prices have entered a phase of unusual stability that has been caused by the bankruptcy of the third-largest DRAM maker, Elpida, and speculation what will happen to the company.

According to IHS, spot market prices for 2 Gb DDR3 DRAM fluctuated by 17 percent in the two weeks before the bankruptcy was announced. 12 weeks later, prices changed by only 0.7 percent. Also, prices are substantially higher. On IHS’ pricing index scale, DDR3 is currently listed at 243, a number that relates to the 1000 score when the index was launched in 2002.

“With things still very much up in the air on how events will unfold, industry participants seem to be waiting for some indication of what the resulting industry structure will be like after an Elpida takeover is finalized,” said Dee Nguyen, memory analyst at IHS. “As a result, the current pricing environment appears to reflect this mood with the DRAM market eerily quiet, accompanied by visibly less pricing volatility atypical of the industry. Clearly then, a direct correlation exists between decreased DRAM pricing volatility and Elpida’s announcement given that the current period of flat DRAM pricing occurred right after the bankruptcy notice. The big question also remains whether normal volatility will return once some clarity emerges on the future of Elpida.”

Neither bulk buyers nor the end-user is likely to get a particularly good deal on DRAM these days. If there is no urgent need to buy memory at this time, it may be a good idea to wait just like the rest of the industry. While there is a reasonable chance that the DRAM industry will learn from its weakness in the past and remain on a road of stable pricing, there is also a good chance that more volatility and, as a result, favorable buying opportunities, will return.

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Top Comments
  • 13 Hide
    Anonymous , June 28, 2012 3:15 PM
    The prices on 8gb modules of ddr3 have fallen, and 4gb modules have been at very reasonable prices

    im happy. getting 8 or 16gb of ram into a system isnt expensive.

    i remember when 1gb of ram was impressive

  • 11 Hide
    whiteodian , June 28, 2012 3:18 PM
    When I built my computer two years ago, I paid over $200 for 4x2GB. you can get a comparable kit for $60 or $49 for 2x4GB. DRAM prices are great right now. They have been for about a year (I think). I hope the prices stay as good as they are.
  • 11 Hide
    DRosencraft , June 28, 2012 3:29 PM
    It always struck me as a little insane that memory prices have always fluctuated so drastically. Most industries can't survive such instability, so it makes sense that someone like and Elpidia would fail (big enough to be well known and regarded, but not big enough to weather so many price storms). Once DDR4 starts becoming mainstream in a couple years, it's likely that there will be some more volatility. Even so, I imagine that time will show that DDR3 is right around its natural bottom.
Other Comments
  • -2 Hide
    dextermat , June 28, 2012 3:06 PM
    I think dram is at a descent price (if you compare % of full computer price)
    But I think it's too bad you have so many useless specs to confuse normal consumer, where specs won't make much difference unless you have high end parts and overclock. (frequency, timing and voltage)
  • 13 Hide
    Anonymous , June 28, 2012 3:15 PM
    The prices on 8gb modules of ddr3 have fallen, and 4gb modules have been at very reasonable prices

    im happy. getting 8 or 16gb of ram into a system isnt expensive.

    i remember when 1gb of ram was impressive

  • 11 Hide
    whiteodian , June 28, 2012 3:18 PM
    When I built my computer two years ago, I paid over $200 for 4x2GB. you can get a comparable kit for $60 or $49 for 2x4GB. DRAM prices are great right now. They have been for about a year (I think). I hope the prices stay as good as they are.
  • 9 Hide
    mouse24 , June 28, 2012 3:24 PM
    Considering a ram manufacturer went bankrupt and prices are more or less the same I'd say we are pretty well off.
  • 11 Hide
    DRosencraft , June 28, 2012 3:29 PM
    It always struck me as a little insane that memory prices have always fluctuated so drastically. Most industries can't survive such instability, so it makes sense that someone like and Elpidia would fail (big enough to be well known and regarded, but not big enough to weather so many price storms). Once DDR4 starts becoming mainstream in a couple years, it's likely that there will be some more volatility. Even so, I imagine that time will show that DDR3 is right around its natural bottom.
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , June 28, 2012 3:45 PM
    Tomshardware spell check is not exist...just like the *gintide* buttom
  • 4 Hide
    jupiter optimus maximus , June 28, 2012 3:48 PM
    I kind of regretted buying 8GB of DDR3 memory back in September. Should have bought several 2TB hard drives before the Thailand floods instead.
  • 0 Hide
    alidan , June 28, 2012 4:16 PM
    i wish i could get more memory... still on ddr2, my motherboard supports 16gb, but... 4gb stick of ddr2 is expensive. and yes i have a reall need for 16gb.
  • 2 Hide
    TidalWaveOne , June 28, 2012 4:38 PM
    $200 for 32GB seems like a good deal to me.
  • 5 Hide
    supall , June 28, 2012 4:43 PM
    At least with DRAM, we can find quality stuff. The HDD front on the other hand is completely backwards - lowering quality, high prices, and only 2 main competitors.
  • 1 Hide
    DRosencraft , June 28, 2012 5:01 PM
    supallAt least with DRAM, we can find quality stuff. The HDD front on the other hand is completely backwards - lowering quality, high prices, and only 2 main competitors.


    I don't know, i guess it would be pourely annecdotal, but I've had way more problems with memory than I've had with HDDs. I've bought a few HDDs since the floods and they haven't had any problems. Twice already though this year between myself and my brother we've had about 3 out of 10 sticks go bunk. Although, it's a much less problematic issue to replace dead memory than a dead HDD that could take all your saved information with it.
  • 3 Hide
    silverblue , June 28, 2012 6:16 PM
    Additionally, RAM is cheaper to replace (assuming it ever goes out of warranty and assuming you didn't overclock it).

    I remember buying 1GB DDR-400 sticks for silly prices five years ago then buying 2x2GB DDR2-800 kits for the same price not even 18 months later. I could buy an 8GB DDR3-1600 kit for the same price now... isn't progress great? :) 
  • -3 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , June 28, 2012 8:27 PM
    Quote:
    DRAM Prices Are Hardly Changing These Days


    I know that it's a big problem, dear RAM vendors, but !#%^ you, I'm happy that the prices don't change and no BS you can come up with can convince me that low prices are a "problem" and a "falling market", you lying bastards.
  • 1 Hide
    eddieroolz , June 28, 2012 8:33 PM
    I think we're at a point where DRAM is dirt cheap, and many companies are struggling to turn up profits. ELPIDA was just the latest casualty on this - labor and manufacturing costs are cheaper in South Korea and Taiwan, and it simply could not compete. It's a shame though, I have always considered Hynix and Samsung DRAM to be lower quality.
  • 1 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , June 28, 2012 8:43 PM
    eddieroolzI think we're at a point where DRAM is dirt cheap, and many companies are struggling to turn up profits. ELPIDA was just the latest casualty on this - labor and manufacturing costs are cheaper in South Korea and Taiwan, and it simply could not compete. It's a shame though, I have always considered Hynix and Samsung DRAM to be lower quality.


    Hynix is not just "lower quality", it's the worst POS you can find. Okay on laptops, IME, but fails left and right on desktops.
  • 1 Hide
    bak0n , June 29, 2012 2:45 AM
    Big issue with ram is that there aren't enough memory hogs for the average user to really need more than 6GB even for windows 7 64.

    The average user isn't going to be running 4 simultaneous OS's or any other crazy stuff like that. Hence higher capacities aren't enticing to the average user anymore. Just those that must have more, or in a niche that requires more.
  • 1 Hide
    phate , June 29, 2012 7:27 AM
    amk-aka-PhantomI know that it's a big problem, dear RAM vendors, but !#%^ you, I'm happy that the prices don't change and no BS you can come up with can convince me that low prices are a "problem" and a "falling market", you lying bastards.


    You're an idiot.
    The basis of this story is the fact that major a manufacturer went bankrupt. That would imply that there is a serious pricing issue. Anyone who has followed the DRAM industry knows that there has been an oversupply issue for years. There have been long periods where the manufacturers have all lost money for multiple quarters.
  • 0 Hide
    chewy1963 , June 29, 2012 10:12 AM
    Nothing wrong with the current prices for ddr3 dram. I remember back in the day ('86) buying a memory upgrade for my Coco 3, the cost was over $500. Just about a dollar a KILOBYTE. Now that was expensive ram. A few years later I upgraded my 4 meg 486 to 8 megs from a local company. They charged me $250 for the 4 megabytes of memory. I thought I'd died and gone to ram heaven. Just a couple of months ago I bought 4 gigs of memory at Tiger Direct for $40 (2-2gig sticks for $20 each).

    Ya, dram prices are just fine!
  • 1 Hide
    rooket , June 29, 2012 8:55 PM
    I got a DDR3 triple kit 12GB Corsair Vengeance on the day before black friday from Fry's for $28 after rebate. I looked up the price and this is below spot price. I remember when I was in a computer show and buying 32 megs of RAM for $65 and it was a good deal. And before that of course a lot of us remember when 1 megabyte SIMM cost $35 EACH.

    RAM is so cheap I'm amazed anyone even bothers making it.

    Now DDR2 spot prices are dirt cheap low. I see 4GB kits selling on ebay for $39 but the spot price is only maybe $2 for 4 gigs! How does this make any sense?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , June 30, 2012 1:00 PM
    cost of production and material has come down. surface area (silicon) has got reduced due to smaller transistor etc... so cheaper RAM may not really be cheaper coz volumes have gone up tremendously. and if we talk servers that's where the money is (ECC RAM) and of course server farms --- volumes too and no middleman .... so price can always go lower with better production and quality doesnot need to be compromised.