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Scalpers Flip DDR5 RAM on eBay for Up to $2,500

Kingston Fury DDR5
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The DDR5 shortage is potentially just as bad as the graphics cards shortage, and as we've charted out below, that means that some 32GB kits are being scalped for $2,500. The more lenient scalpers (via PCMag) are selling DDR5 memory kits on eBay for twice and sometimes up to three times their cost. Luckily, only Intel's 12th-Gen Alder Lake processors currently make use of DDR5. However, Alder Lake processors, which are some of the best CPUs for gaming on the market, are equally happy with the best DDR4, so early adopters aren't forced to pay ridiculous prices for DDR5 — unless they want to.

The transition of the voltage regulation from the motherboard over to the memory is both a blessing and a curse for DDR5. It's great to have a power management integrated circuit (PMIC) on the module itself, since it not only improves voltage regulation but also brings other features, such as threshold protection and power management. The problem is that the PMIC plays such a crucial role in DDR5 that you can't produce DDR5 without it. That's basically what's happening right now.

A global PMIC shortage has put memory manufacturers in a bad predicament where they have the available ICs and no PMICs to finalize production. We've spoken with three major vendors, and they've confirmed that the shortage of PMICs and prolonged due dates have affected DDR5's availability. One manufacturer told us that it has zero DDR5 stock at the moment, and the next run won't happen until next month. Sadly, the brand is only estimating up to 300 units for the worldwide market.

Obviously, not having a steady stock of PMICs not only thwarts production but also delays R&D efforts. Manufacturers are working with what they have. One of our sources informed us that the company only has a handful of PMICs, which slows down overclocking development and prevents the team from properly testing new products.

DDR5 RAM Pricing

Memory KitRetailer PricingeBay PricingPrice Difference
Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR5-5200 32GB$329$2,500660%
T-Force Delta RGB DDR5-6400 32GB$399$1,999401%
Team Elite DDR5-4800 32GB$279$1,499437%
Adata XPG Lancer DDR5-5200 32GB$299$1,100268%
Crucial DDR5-4800 32GB$273$890266%
OLOy Blade DDR5-4800 16GB$169$820385%
GeIL Polaris RGB Sync DDR5-4800 32GB$428$81089%
Crucial DDR5-4800 16GB$136$535293%

Alder Lake officially went up on preorder on October 27, and so did many DDR5 memory kits. However, the supply was extremely limited since many memory kits sold out instantly and weren't even available for purchase. Scalpers immediately took advantage of the DDR5 shortage and started putting up eBay listings for ridiculous amounts of money.

The more lenient scalpers (via PCMag) are selling DDR5 memory kits on eBay for twice and sometimes up to three times their cost. Others are just preying on the weak and flipping DDR5 memory for small fortunes. One seller has put up Corsair's Dominator Platinum RGB DDR5-5200 32GB (2x16GB) memory kit for a whopping $2,500, a 660% increase over its retail $329 price tag. Another eBay listing has two such kits for $5,000.

The sad part isn't just that the only obtainable DDR5 memory kits are out of reach, but it's the fact that some consumers are paying these kinds of prices. According to a screenshot from eBay's Terapeak tool, eBay merchants have moved up to 15 DDR5 memory kits during the last week with selling prices between $1,099 and $2,500.

eBay DDR5 Pricing (Image credit: eBay via PCMag)

Early DDR5 memory modules are utilizing PMICs from Renesas. Once more manufacturers like Richtek and Amtek jump into the fray, there should be a steadier supply of PMICs. Samsung has also announced that the company is producing PMICs for its own DDR5 products.

If you plan to upgrade to Alder Lake, you currently have two options. One is to just wait this DDR5 shortage out. Alternatively, you can opt for a Z690 motherboard with DDR4 memory slots. The bad news is that motherboard brands are currently only offering DDR4 support on the lower tier models. There is more variety (and quality) on the Z690 offerings with DDR5. At least Raptor Lake will in all likelihood reside on the same platform. Small consolation when DDR5 kits are selling for as much as a complete RTX 3080 gaming PC.

  • elementalRealms
    Eh ... this is ridiculous , HBM RAM is cheaper than this ...
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    In a year or two, this early hen's teeth DDR5 is going to be considered garbage relative to much cheaper 2nd/3rd-gen DDR5. The scalpers are doing would-be buyers a favor by running away with all of the first-gen stock and steering people towards DDR4 which is nearly just as good at 3600-4000MT/s for $100 less..

    elementalRealms said:
    Eh ... this is ridiculous , HBM RAM is cheaper than this ...
    Except you cannot put HBM on a DIMM since the very concept of HBM is based on signal traces being too short to need to worry about transmission line issues and high-powered IO.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    THe other 1/2 of the problem here is the fools paying that price (if there actually are any).
    Reply
  • JTWrenn
    I think it is less than half of it, but it is there for sure. We really need to pass the anti grinch bot act that makes it illegal to use a bot to purchase things on sites that disallow it. It helped for ticket scalpers to some degree and it would help here as well.
    Reply
  • IceQueen0607
    I wouldn't be surprised that if this is not the manufacturers doing this to max out profits, that they at least are endorsing it.

    History tells us some people think that rampant mindless consumerism is the only way to live. Do what the media and big tech say.. buy..buy..buy and whether they need it or not they'll drop a months rent on it without hesitation.

    Our dependency on useless tech that we don't need has turned many into mindless zombies.

    No one is actually ever going to stop this. And those who don't want to play the game will miss out, at least for a very long time.

    How long has the GPU scalping been going on now? GPU prices here are still 3x MSRP.
    Reply
  • hotaru251
    the pandemic and the shortage should of proven the world NEEDS laws against scalping any still new/produced product.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    hotaru251 said:
    the pandemic and the shortage should of proven the world NEEDS laws against scalping any still new/produced product.
    There are no worldwide laws.
    Define 'scalping'.
    A lot of manufacturers don't honor a warranty past the original buyer. That does not stop the GHIN(*) buyers.
    So people will sell them, for whatever price they can command.

    * - Gotta Have It Now
    Reply
  • helper800
    JTWrenn said:
    I think it is less than half of it, but it is there for sure. We really need to pass the anti grinch bot act that makes it illegal to use a bot to purchase things on sites that disallow it. It helped for ticket scalpers to some degree and it would help here as well.
    Such a law would be ceremonial only because it is unenforceable, unless we start to accept 1984 levels of surveillance.
    Reply
  • el.nomikos
    There is only one solution to this problem. Boycott.
    Reply
  • PapaCrazy
    el.nomikos said:
    There is only one solution to this problem. Boycott.

    True. A free market system relies on rational decision making. Problem is that's in short supply these days. Rabid fanboyism and hardware lust of the well-heeled undermine the entire system. And our rational dollars have to compete with the irrational ones in the market.
    Reply