Sunday, June 16, 2024

Report: High RAM prices will continue to skyrocket

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Several DDR5 sticks sitting on a table.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

DDR5 RAM has become the new standard for most consumer-grade PCs and laptops. While DDR4 is still around, the first DDR5 chips came out in 2018. However, the standard was officially released in 2020, and actual commercial kits made their first appearance by mid-2021. Back then, a kit of twin 16GB sticks at DDR5-4800 speeds launched at a price tag of $311. That’s more than three times the price of what you’ll pay today.

But that may change soon as DDR5 RAM prices are expected to continuing increasing in the coming months. Analysts from market research firm TrendForce suggest that the primary reason for this surge is being attributed to the manufacturers who are reallocating resources toward the production of High Bandwidth Memory (HBM).

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As pointed out by Tom’s Hardware, TrendForce initially forecasted an increase in DRAM prices by 3% to 8%, but it now suggests a rise of 15% to 20%. This will be the third successive quarter where DRAM prices had a double-digit percentage growth. In April, server DRAM prices across all categories increased by 9% to 19%.

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Avril Wu, TrendForce senior research vice president, said in his report that there has been a massive increase in demand for HBM. So much so that Micron and SK Hynix have confirmed that their supply of HBM is completely booked for the entirety of 2024 and a significant portion of 2025. This increase in demand is mostly due to the rapid adoption of AI, where accelerators specifically require unparalleled data speed and efficiency.

HBM prices are expected to increase as well, within the range of 5% to 10% next year. It is important to know that HBM is about five times pricier than DDR5. It commands a significantly higher cost due to its superior performance and capacity advantages over standard DRAMs.

The complexity of constructing HBM memory devices and stacks is also notably higher compared to traditional DDR ICs and modules. As memory makers allocate more production capacity to HBM, the availability of other memory types decreases, leading to an upward trend in DRAM prices.

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